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Waiting, part 2...

Blog posted by Ste Pickford on Sun, 17 Jul 2011
Subject: Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint

Ste Pickford

Wow, yesterday was a bit of an emotional roller-coaster.

John came round Friday afternoon, and after a bit of a high level strategy meeting about updates and new products, we retired to the local pub for what was originally planned to be a little celebration of the launch of our first iOS game, Magnetic Billiards: Blueprint.

It hadn't launched yet though - it was still Waiting For Review at Apple. Well, we could celebrate that instead.

Before we set off I was playing the game on John's iPad (I don't have an iPad so I only get to play the game on my 3G normally, and it's so much nicer on the iPad) (and yes, even after months of development I still enjoy playing the game for fun!), when a weird pop up appeared on the screen from the developer ITC app, informing us that the game had gone into review at Apple.

Yay - we could celebrate after all! We asked a few other devs and were told that the in-review stage could last anywhere from 15 minutes to a week. Oh well, fingers crossed.

A few pints later and another pop-up appeared, just as we were leaving the pub. The game was approved for sale!

Woohoo! Time to crack open another bottle at home and see what the game looked like in its App Store glory.

A couple of people had suggested that we don't automatically release the app upon approval, but wait until it's approved then pick a date to tie in with press coverage etc. We considered that, but I'm not sure how great our ability to coordinate press coverage is at the best of times, and we just wanted people to start playing the game and hopefully get some 'word of mouth' going, so we'd set it to instant release.

We also knew from twitter and facebook that we had a queue of people waiting for release who'd probably buy some of the in-app purchases straight away, so we figured we'd just let the game come out asap and get the ball rolling slowly that way, and have the thrill of earning some money for the first time in a while.

I slept well on Friday night, but woke up Saturday morning to texts and messages asking why the in-game shop wasn't working, or if we'd made the game free by mistake.


A bleary-eyed nosy on the iTunesConnect website revealed that the five in-app-purchases were still "Wating For Review" even though the game was out. Our shop was closed!

John and I scratched our head, then panicked a bit. Had we done something wrong with the in-app-purchase submission? Should we pull the app from the store? Are we going to have loads of disgruntled players? Is the coffee ready yet?

We calmed down a bit and saw that overnight loads of people had started sharing the link to the app and raving about it. We were already getting 5-star ratings and really nice reviews on the App Store, and threads about the game were popping up on forums all over the internet.

We were gutted and delighted at the same time.

We decided not to pull the app, in the hope the purchases would just appear any minute. Throughout the day more 5-star ratings and lovely reviews rolled in, but no movement on the IAPs. It was beautifully sunny here in Buxton, interspersed with short bursts of torrential rainfall. How appropriate!

We've asked around and as far as we can tell we hadn't done anything wrong, and the non-review of the IAPs might just be a hiccup at Apple's end. We've fired off a few emails and requests, so now we've just got to wait and see. I've no idea if Apple even work on weekends, like us indie developers.

Oh well, time to go and refresh the iTunesConnect web page, again...


Permalink to this post: http://www.zee-3.com/pickfordbros/blog/view.php?post=547


So how many US $ will the "Skeleton Key" set me back? Screw taking the game in drips and drabs, I want THE WHOLE DAMNED THING ASAP!


Ste Pickford

$4, once it's live.


I share your frustration - it's horrible when you realise you have something 'in the wild' which might not be everything you wanted it to be.

All I can add is that it will sort itself out in the end - maybe you'll lose a few earlier buyers, maybe this article will spur a few new ones.

You've entered a scary world - the online app market - the people here can be friendly but at least 4/5 of them are mad ravening monsters and then there's the CUSTOMERS...

Oh the customers - the 1-star reviewers - the people who post thinly-veiled (often not veiled at all!) abuse as a 'review' - oh my...

Stock up on coffee


..... fingers drumming..... :-)


I will do what I can to stoke a hype fest on the Touch Arcade forums once the IAPs are out (not that I, as one guy, can do much but if I'm lucky we might start something when I go into detail about each of the new paid modes).


Actually, it is, in my case, not a catastrophe, as I probably (and wrongly) would have never looked up your site if the in-app purchase was working ;)

You have got a wonderful game there, I wish you the best. And may that skelton key find its way as soon as possible to my iStuff!

P.S.: that "magnetic billiards" computer generated voice at the title screen made me almost drop a tear. Merely one detail in the lengthy list of touches in this game.


Well done chaps! I'm not a big AppStore consumer but I tried to buy the skeleton key on finishing the first levels and was a bit gutted when the shop was "dead". Waited a couple of days... still dead. Checked this morning but saw Sid's Pirates had appeared for the same price... procrastinated but plumped for the independents in the end :-) Highly addictive and nicely polished. One of these days I'll see one of my own prototypes through to completion and share in the joys / pains of AppStore publishing... When can we expect to see the excellent Naked War appear on iPad - surely a match to be made in iOS heaven...


Ste Pickford

Cheers Korky! Naked War on iPad is definitely something we're looking at...


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