Stories of App Store success...and failure

Success in life isn't guaranteed, and that's especially true on the App Store, where fortunes can be made by developers that hit it big. But most developers aren't that lucky. This week's Game Developer Conference (GDC) is giving devs a chance to tell both sides of the App Store story: Unimaginable riches, and unimaginable heartache.

Matt Hall is one of two guys behind the Crossy Road phenomenon (the other being Andy Sum): Hipster Whale, an Australian game developer. Between in-app purchases and advertising, the team has earned $10 million so far from 50 million downloads, according to a new Polygon article:

Crossy Road is the rare story of success at the intersection of art, commerce, design and marketing. It's about lessons learned in hard times and a games maker who thought he might never go back to GDC after one terrible year. It's about a pair of developers who, in fact, did set out to create a video gaming phenomenon — and succeeded.

It's a remarkable tale, but it's still pretty rare. Much more typical is the sort of stories shared at a panel session on Tuesday by developers who haven't seen that sort of success, according to this Gamesindustry.biz article:

One of the big lessons Seto wanted to impart to developers was not to fall in love with your ideas. If something's not working, cut it quickly and move on. There were other issues, but in the end, Seto said it was on his shoulders to make sure it doesn't happen again. You can't learn from your failures if you're not willing to take responsibility, Seto said.

It's an interesting study in comparisons. Hopefully aspiring app developers can learn a bit from both.