Apple’s App Store: How to make a quick $1.5 million

March 15, 2009, 5:50 PM UTC

By all reports, one of the most useful panels so far at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas, was Saturday’s iPhone: The New Gaming Platform, where some of the device’s most successful game developers shared secrets of their success.

The star of the panel, judging by the detailed notes filed by TUAW’s Victor Agreda, Jr., was Austin’s own Brian Greenstone, whose Pangea Software has racked up an impressive series of iPhone hits, including Enigmo, Cro-Mag Rally, Bugdom 2, Nanosaur 2 and Otto Matic.

Enigmo alone scored 810,000 downloads between July 2008 and January 2009 and cleared $1.5 million in profit.

No wonder Greenstone — who started out writing shareware games for the Apple (AAPL) IIGS and made his first fortune writing Mac games like the original Nanosaur, Bugdom and Cro-Mag Rally — has abandoned the Macintosh platform altogether and is now developing only for the iPhone.

For those who aren’t in Austin to see the panels or experience first-hand AT&T’s 3G overload problems, The Guardian’s Aleks Krotoski has kindly posted a 7:30-minute interview on’s Games Blog in which Greenstone tells us how he made his second software fortune on the iTunes App Store. We’ve pasted the video below the fold.

As Greenstone tells Krotoski, he actually stopped writing Mac games a year ago, when the iPhone SDK came out.

“That wasn’t the plan,” he says, “that’s just how it turned out. We were going to do some apps for fun, next thing you know they’re making the Mac stuff look like a joke. I mean the Mac stuff, that’s like lunch money compared to what the iPhone does.” (link)

Below, the interview:


For more of Brian Greenstone’s wisdom, see the segment about Pangea on KXAN’s Austin News here.