Dream Crushing

If You’re Gonna Launch an App These Days, Better Just Rent a Circus and Get It Over With

$$$, yall
IDK. (Photo: Bbelly)

IDK. (Photo: Bbelly)

Once upon a time, you could build an iOS app, launch it and let word of mouth work its magic. It didn’t take a parade and a free pony for every kid in America to get a little traction.

Well, the Wall Street Journal is very sorry to report those days are over.

The paper looks at the launch of one mobile game–”Cut the Rope: Time Travel,” about an epoch-hopping monster named Om Nom–as a lens on the pitched battle developers face these days. ZeptoLab estimates it’ll spend $1 million creating and launching the game.

According to the Journal:

“If all goes as planned, the puzzle game will go live in 125 countries and in a few dozen app stores, including those run by Apple Inc., AAPL -2.86% Google Inc.GOOG -2.30% and Amazon.com Inc. AMZN -3.25% The game will be accompanied by tie-in merchandise including T-shirts, and eventually plush toys, as well as a 10-part animated Web series that was months in the making.”

Why not throw in a couple of jugglers and a marching band for good measure?

But ZeptoLab is far from the most lavish in its promos. One firm estimates that a top publisher might spend $5 million on mobile marketing alone for a new game. A Japanese company recently resorted to TV ads, and Rovio launched “Angry Birds Star Wars” with elaborate trailers and an event at the Times Square Toys “R” Us. Times Square don’t come cheap.

Maybe all the scrappy gaming studios out there ought to think outside the box. Why not hire that insane Delta Gamma to write their marketing copy?

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com