Attended the 5th meeting of the Mobile Monday Colorado meetup this past Monday at CU’s Atlas Institute. (It turns out that Karl Rove was debating Howard Dean next building over and somehow I missed that)
This month’s topic was mobile gaming and the three speakers were Julian Ferrior from Backflip Studios, Chris Glode from Useful Networks, and Matt Haggerty from ChickenBrick Studios. Great night dealing with how the already very popular video gaming movement will further embrace the unique nature of the mobile platform.
My notes from each speaker are as follows:
Backflip Studios – produces iPhone games, incl. Paper Toss & RagDoll Blaster
Produce free versions, lite versions (intro levels are free), and paid versions
- Uses impressions from free games to promote both the paid games and to sell ads through admob ad network. Constantly switching between these two revenue streams based on how they are performing. Love this revenue model.
- One approach has been to release a lite version and gather real-time user feedback, make the changes, and release a paid version
- Backflip is constantly deciding whether to stay with their franchise titles (i.e. release Ragdoll Blaster 2, 3, 4, etc.) to leverage the awareness and brand loyalty or launch a new title to combat user fatigue
- Company focuses on very short development cycles – one month ideally – versus traditional development times
- Backflip is exploring more turn-based gaming, where one player makes a move and only then can a different player respond to that move. Here’s a review of a turn-based game called Words With Friends
- They are trying to build more social elements into their games and further explore the use of virtual goods, a potential new revenue stream
- They are exploring new ad types that make sense for mobile. Interstitial ads have proven effective, and they are very happy working with Google’s admob network. (Now that Apple bought Quattro, what will that mean?)
- Backflip is still trying to figure out how much push contact they want with their users – do they need to build a user database?
Useful Networks – builds location-based games and apps for the iPhone
- Useful Networks has built a platform to let developers easily access location data across multiple disparate carriers
- Snocator is a recent location-based app. And Geo is the next big release, which they describe as Foursquare meets Mafia Wars (you battle for turf with other people near you)
- User privacy is the big issue in their line of work. Consumers are worried about providing their location to games that connect them with other users
- The major technical issues in the location-based world are integrating the differing levels of accuracy and delay times provided by carrier so the user experience is enjoyable
ChickenBrick Studios – specialize in mutli-player games for the Android platform only
- Chose to program for Android initially as it’s a small but growing market
- Past titles include Plox (“classic tower defense game done right”) and Project INF (“Android’s first true real-time, online, multiplayer top-down shooter”)
- Want to work with existing social gaming platforms initially, such as Facebook and the XBox