A few days back, I was randomly going through the internet when I came across a post according to which “Man Spams App store for fun” This post immediately caught my attention.

Well, to be honest, I didn’t know much about app re-skinning when I launched my first app. Had I known, what I know today, things would have turned out differently, in fact I would’ve made much more money.

Let’s go back some time, so I can tell you how I came across app re-skinning and the entire concept. I was running a successful IT company and things were pretty decent. However, years of doing the same thing over and over again had got to me and I wanted to get into something that I enjoyed working on. Since, I had been a gamer for the most part of my life and counter strike servers were pretty much my hangout spot, I decided that the best thing was to get into was gaming. PC gaming would be something a little too much to begin with, so the decision I made was to get into games and apps. We all know that whenever an idea comes up in one’s mind, it’s always accompanied by restlessness, excitement, dreams and what can turn out of an idea. The same was my case. At that point in time, Temple Run had become Viral. It was a simple game which blew everyone’s mind. Everyday I read about how this team of husband, wife were earning more money that I could dream of. And from what? A simple game. I decided to follow the endless runner style and decided to come up with a same engine.

I hired some guys in Ukraine to take up the project. The estimation was somewhere in the range of $30,000 and the timeline was somewhere between 4-5 months. Looking back, I must say that I made the right choice hiring them, as if I had hired someone else at a cheaper price, things would have been very different. Though they charged me a good amount of money, but it was all worth it in the end.

So moving on… I had invested $30,000 and 5 months. The game came out pretty good and it was probably the most exciting time in my life. The game had everything there could be, in apps – no ads. Everything I made was for the end user so they could enjoy playing the work of art I had created. Every night I thought about the millions my game would earn and how rich I would become. It’s a little embarrassing, but I actually started to think what all stuff I would buy. So, finally the D day came. My Game was approved and I thought, the time would change now!!! YAYYY…

30 Downloads. Yep. 30 downloads I received from the game.

 Shit, just hit the fan –

and this portion of my life deserves 2 GIFS. Not one.
No Downloads

Tom Cruise tears

You have NO idea how heart broken I was. All my dreams shattered and it felt like – WHY WHY WHY did I put so much effort in this. I had done everything by the book. Made a quality product – did everything right and made it for the consumer. But still it didn’t work out for me.

After three months or so and 28 dollars later.. I realized that my dream of game development is dead. It is time I focus back on my core company.

It was a couple of days after I took the decision and something funny happened.

The Gangnam Style wave had hit the stratosphere and it was going viral like wild fire. I thought to myself, should I change the name of the game to Gangnam Style? It was a funny thought, and I wasn’t too serious about it. My original game was based in ancient China. How on earth could I relate it to the Gangnam Style? The only similarity I had was that my character was a little fat Asian guy (See the link below)

main-img-150x150

I spoke to a friend of mine over drinks about this  and he said, ‘is there anything to lose anymore?’ I said Nope. And that’s when I decided to put it up there with a changed name.

It was a bit embarrassing to even ask my developers to change the game name. As, I had always believed in being original, so this was not my thing. Anyhow, we changed the GUI and some elements and uploaded the game.

The 7th Day when it was released, I thought of putting in a bit extra for promotion.

logo-300x300

(The ICON that changed it all)

This time, things were way different.

The game reached top 30 in overall stores and the downloads were just pouring in!!! Chartboost meter was just different on every refresh of the browser. I was going to leave this industry a week ago, I thought…This was the app business I was looking for…

Happy

Anyhow, that is how my career began in the app business. Things are very different now.

I used the same source code, I had created for Multiple themes. Jokes apart – I made 50 odd games with the same engine and the subjects and themes ranged from little kids to grandmas. I had even put a guy running to collect toilet papers..Ha Ha…

I saw everyone was enjoying my games. Some Games of- course tanked but some of them did really well. This was due to the number game I was playing where some dead games did not bother me.. The best I did was with a kids game which got over 800,000 downloads in the Google play store. Children were just loving it, and I was receiving reviews from mothers how much the little girls played this game.

It was fun and I was enjoying doing this. Now, I was able to support my team for future developments. My gaming division had just become independent.

Happy

A lot of people might think, Damn this guy is just spamming the stores with these games. This is unethical and a load of BS! Well, you could think like that, but let me try and explain to you how it goes. If you get it, well and good – and if you don’t… even better.

App re-skinning is NOT stealing someone’s else app, making few changes and launching it as your own. App re-skinning is a process in which the source code of the app remains same but the graphics and sound effects are modified in such a way that it appears to be a different app altogether. You could use the same source code and enhance it with more features. This way, you don’t have to begin everything from scratch. It’s just like making a new body design for a car – but the engine is pretty much the same.

App re-skinning is not mimicking anybody’s app instead you are using all new themes for the app and creating something better which gives a whole new look to the game. Cloning or merely copying someone else content is an unethical practice and Apple has strict policies to deal with it. On the other hand, Re-skin apps are good quality apps which are approved by the Apple.

With re-skinning, no ones work gets stolen, all the artwork is created from the scratch. It’s a new game altogether. Yes, it has the same game-play as you have used the same source code, but if you do a little homework, then you can target a different audience who has never played the game before. In my case – making the game for a kids niche did pretty well.

In re-skinning nothing is stolen, artists are paid for their work, sound are purchased, programmers are paid and a good game is made – and the end gamer is pretty happy too.

People ask me, What about the quality? What about user experience.. My answer is pretty simple. Can you guarantee quality with an app which is not a reskin. IMO, I have seen some really high quality apps which were reskins with over 4.0 rating on the stores. At the end, it depends on you how to use reskinning and create something beautiful out of it and still save tons of money and time.

If you reskin ethically and think about the players and create a good experience for them, Apple will be happy to accept your games. All Apple wants is good games which can offer players a great experience and add value to the app store. And re-skin when done right can do that. Creating original games from the scratch is also an option. Many people do that. But there are many people who do not have enough time and money to invest in creating new games from the scratch and re-skinning is an excellent option for them to enter the app industry.

It’s a simple demand and supply model. It does not matter how many developers are there in the world. It would never reach a level where the demand of every mobile phone user is met. With the 50 games I created which got over 5 Million downloads + There was not ONE review which said – Ive played this before…That means the audience is so vast that it doesn’t make a difference…

From Ashes to Millions of Downloads.. Calls for a “Deal with it moment”

No Downloads

App re-skinning actually works as an inspiration for developers. If a re-skinned app can get 100,000 downloads, then obviously the developer will try and put more efforts and creativity to build a game that can fetch him more downloads. That means he would eventually make better apps. It’s a fact guys.. You can’t think of quality on an empty stomach. Only when you have good backups made, only then you can think of going to the next level.  Re-skinning is an excellent way to get into the lucrative world of mobile apps. It reduces your investment of time and money, and lets you submit a high quality and functional app to the Apple store. If you have been wanting to launch your first mobile app, I would highly recommend this approach to learn the entire process. Re-skinning actually results in better apps and developers.

And if you still think app re-skinning is spamming, let me remind you of a term called “web-templates”.. lets not forget the time when web templates were introduced. Web templates sold for $20 spoiled the careers of thousands and thousands of designers. So, didn’t templates spam the web design industry? If nothing was said at that time, why is there is so much of uproar by some people that re-skinning apps is spamming the app store.

Re-skinning apps is not for free. There is a lot of efforts and money that are put into it. As a developer, I strive to reach all the audience irrespective of age, sex or interest. Recently, we created a mermaid game for children, which got 500,000 downloads. Our game got 4.5 stars and amazing reviews, even from the parents. Well,  I didn’t do anything wrong by re-skinning the game. I just created games targeting different audiences, which were actually loved by them. And lets not forget not every individual out there in the market has an S3 galaxy phone or Iphone 5S with vast memory. There has to be small games too,  which can reach everyone. And, app re-skinning is a great way to create big and small games for all types of audience.

In today’s competitive app market, with more and more people looking for different kinds of apps to do different things for them, developers and companies had to think of a way that make games faster. And the solution they found was app re-skinning which is absolutely ethical. Instead, it is a great solution for developers and companies for saving countless time and money spent on writing source codes for apps. Writing source code can actually take more time than creating an app. With app re-skinning you do not have to worry about the framework, you can easily concentrate on the designing, graphics and sound effects which can make the game more fun and interesting for the players.

As a programmer who has created original games and re-skinned games, I feel I am well positioned to give you all a good overview of the opportunities to enter the massive apps industry. App re-skinning is a great way to make better games and get enhanced returns. It is actually booming the app store by adding value to it.

So, the reality is App re-skinning is NOT spamming the app store – It’s surely is NOT harming anyone.

So there it is… Hope it helps other people out there wanting to get into this industry.

Cheers,

Raj

Raj Arora
Author : Raj Arora

Founder and CEO Of Reskingames and GameGorillaz.com. Love to write about my experiences in the app industry, and have fun working!