Pop-up game Tengami made 90% of its $1.1 million sales on iOS, and still sells strongly

Not bad for a £55,000 investment

Pop-up game Tengami made 90% of its $1.1 million sales on iOS, and still sells strongly

When Jennifer Schneidereit of Nyamyam  creator of 2014 iOS hit Tengami took the stage at Develop:Brighton, she was willing to lay all her cards on the table.

“I've been to a fair few talks myself for researching Tengami, and one thing I noticed is that there's not enough information about development costs as an independent studio,” she said.

Evidently not one to be tight-lipped on such issues herself, she gave a rigorous breakdown of her development costs and eventual earnings on Tengami, which sells for $4.99. 


Firstly, she revealed that development was funded directly out of the developers' own pockets.

Schneidereit, formerly of Japanese studio Acquire and later Rare, had abandoned console development to start up Nyamyam with former Rare colleagues Phil Tossell and Ryo Agarie - and embraced all the financial risk that came with that.

“It cost me £55,000 to make Tengami, which includes my investment in the company, development costs, and my living costs for 3.5 years,” she revealed.

Eventually, however, that investment appears to have paid off - albeit with one platform very much leading the way.

Tengami made more than $1.1 million in gross revenue, and about $650k net revenue - about 90% of which came from iOS,” she said.

Tengami sold 196,000 copies on iOS, and 11,000 on PC and Wii U.
Jennifer Schneidereit

Perhaps this is not all that surprising. The game was, after all, released first on iOS, and “created with specifically the iPad in mind” following a flash of inspiration in the Birmingham Apple Store.

Schneidereit's theory is that a game's lead platform will almost always be the home to its greatest success, and the numbers certainly support this.

And counting

“[Tengami] sold 196,000 on iOS, and on Wii U and PC it's roughly the same - about 11,000,” she added.

However, Schneidereit believes that Tengami is by no means done and dusted - and that the lifespan of a modern mobile game is often underestimated.

“It's still selling 50-100 copies on iOS every day, at the same price, and Apple are still sending me a steady paycheck... so don't underestimate lifetime sales.”

Another significant cost for Nyamyam was in attending events and exposing Tengami to new audiences. It's an expensive process, but one that Schneidereit wholeheartedly recommends as a means of spreading the word.

“We spent £22,000 in total on festivals, conferences, expo space... I think it was worth it, and I would do it again - I wouldn't know how else you'd get that level of feedback.”

App Store featuring was the most important factor in our financial success.
Jennifer Schneidereit

However, despite all this, she reckons that the true key to Tengami's success lies in that most elusive and sought-after of promotions: an App Store feature.

“Especially for Tengami, I believe that store featuring was the most important factor in our financial success, and I believe that's the case for many independent developers,” she said.

“People think that getting contacts at Apple is particularly hard, but I've met all the platform holders and I would say hat each is equally difficult.”

Schneidereit also points out that, as part of a friendly community, independent developers are able to assist one another with things like this. She herself has helped worthy indies take the right steps towards being featured: “the independent community is about helping each other out,” she said.

Tengami is available for $4.99 on the iOS App Store. For more insights you can also read our Making Of feature on the game.

Features Editor

Matt is really bad at playing games, but hopefully a little better at writing about them. He's Features Editor for, and has also written for lesser publications such as IGN, VICE, and Paste Magazine.