Developer Strikes It Rich With iPhone Game

A former ATM software designer for a large bank, Demeter created "Trism" in his spare time - and priced at $5, "Trism" earned Demeter $250,000 in profits the first two months of it's release.
By: iPhone App Freelancer
Dec. 14, 2009 - PRLog -- With its glassy touch screen, powerful graphics, crisp sound and tilt feature, the iPhone is more than a smart phone for some users -- it's a portable entertainment system.

It's also become a potential gold mine for entrepreneurs who create games for the device. Just ask Steve Demeter, developer of the popular puzzle game "Trism."

A former ATM software designer for a large bank, Demeter created "Trism" in his spare time and pitched it to Apple last spring. The company made the game available for download with the July launch of its App Store, an online provider of applications for its iPods and iPhones.

Priced at $5, "Trism" earned Demeter $250,000 in profits the first two months.

"It's done phenomenal business," said Demeter, 29, who lives in the California's San Francisco Bay area. "I'm very honored that so many people would enjoy my game. I get e-mails from 50-year-old ladies who say, "I don't play games, but I love Trism.' That's the coolest thing."

It can take dozens of professional developers and millions of dollars to create a video game for a traditional console such as a PlayStation or an Xbox. But the iPhone and the App Store have helped democratize game development by opening the field to any software coder with talent and a clever idea.

"A single one of these titles can be turned around for pennies by comparison in just weeks by a single hobbyist working in their off-hours," said Scott Steinberg, publisher of and author of "Get Rich Playing Games." "The overhead and barriers to entry are so low that virtually anyone can afford to take a crack, if not several, at hitting a home run."

Demeter took his shot after attending an iPhone conference in the summer of 2007. He spent months afterward brainstorming, by himself and with friends, about how to create an original game for the device. Once he got the idea for "Trism" in February he spent another four months coding the game on nights and weekends.

The result is a puzzle game, like "Bejeweled," in which players manipulate a colorful grid of triangles. Players score points by lining up three or more like-colored triangles in a row, with an iPhone twist: The triangles rearrange themselves depending on which way the player rotates the phone.

"I did the game myself, basically. I had a buddy of mine who actually came up with the name 'Trism.' I paid him a couple of grand. But other than that it [was] just me," Demeter told CNN. "It's a very simple-to-learn, hard-to-master puzzle game. It wasn't as hard [to develop] as a 3-D, gun-and-battle kind of game. But for the one-man team that I was, it was definitely a challenge."

Demeter quit his bank job two months ago and has launched a company, Demiforce, to develop more electronic games. Now he has a salaried staff, five games in development and two coming out by Christmas, including a spinoff to "Trism" called "Trismology."

"Apple has made it so easy to put game publishing in the palms of developers," he said. "You just make it and then you submit it to Apple. If you have a relevant, fun game or application, I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be approved, and hopefully soon earning you money"

Developers earn 70 percent of App Store proceeds from the sale of their games, with Apple taking 30 percent.

"The runaway success of the App Store has created the legend of the iPhone millionaire," says Ian Maskell, principal of, a company aiming to make it possible to get your idea into the App Store without technical knowledge and minimal financial outlay.

"Everywhere we went people would say: 'I've got a great idea for an app.' We saw an opportunity to level the playing field and allow anyone the ability to become the next success story, regardless of their ability to program or write code."

So Maskell launched, a website offering the ability to turn great ideas into apps with little or no programming knowledge.

Much like an auction, employers' post projects and interested iPhone application developers bid to complete the project, enabelling individuals and organisations with absolutley no programming skills to transform their iPhone application ideas from a pipe dreams into a reality!

Maskell says he has seen "pretty basic" app ideas built for around $500 through his website, but more complicated apps, such as games, tend to command development fees of around $5,000. With more than 100,000 apps already competing for attention at the App Store, and more than 2,700 new apps being submitted every month (according to figures collated at, shelling out thousands to develop an app may represent an expensive gamble.

Maskell hopes that reducing the risk factor for entrepreneurs by pairing up with experienced iPhone app developers will encourage more people to submit their ideas to "The future is really exciting," he says. "Our goal is to help build 1,000 apps in the next two years. I'd love to become known as the company that created hundreds of iPhone millionaires across the world."

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Page Updated Last on: Dec 14, 2009 News
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