Three weeks later, Pokémon GO continues to generate massive headlines! This week we’ve highlighted notable coverage about Pokémon GO’s San Diego Comic-Con takeover, Mark Zuckerberg’s love for Pokémon GO, and an recent report on Pokémon GO app downloads. Also worth a look: Twitter is streaming esports, Dota 2 adds VR spectator mode, and Doom: The Board Game is coming to a tabletop near you.
In this week’s news, Apple held its keynote event, Japanese business press spread rumors about the end of the Wii U’s line and Microsoft tries to launch a social AI which goes horribly wrong. Continue reading TriplePoints of Interest – Week of March 21
You might not be reading this if you’re standing in line for a new iPhone 6S. Nonetheless, here is a fun tidbit about the craze around the latest iPhone, plus other fun news from the games industry and beyond.
Are you the biggest Apple fan?
Does anyone else want the new iPhone 6S or 6S Plus more than you? The Verge reports that Australian Lucy Kelly might take the crown for most dedicated iOS user by placing an iPad powered by a robot to hold her spot in line at Sydney’s flagship Apple store. Mashable reports that Ms. Kelly intends to purchase her iPhone through her robot, therefore not requiring her to be present at the register when she receives her new product (keeping in mind it is cold and rainy in Sydney now).
Keep your iPhones safe!
Apple has removed 300 apps from the App Store believed to be infected with malware. According to WIRED, several security companies have pointed out that infected apps can help attackers create a direct line to individual devices and steal information including passwords. MacRumors has the list of the top 25 apps affected by the attack.
More TV stations will broadcast eSports!
Building on the efforts of eSports to go mainstream, TBS will be broadcasting 20 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive live events starting in 2016. VICE Motherboard points out that this production is put on by WME/IMG, a sports events company, and Turner Broadcasting, without the help from an existing eSports organization like ESL, showing traditional sports media’s commitment to the genre.
Half-Life 3… Now I have your attention!
Fans just can’t get enough of Half-Life 3 rumors and teases. One of Valve’s main writers, Chet Faliszek, responded with a firm “no” when an audience member at EGX Birmingham asked if the game will have VR support. PCGamesN speculates that Mr. Faliszek’s response suggests that Valve is backhandedly confirming Half-Life 3’s impending release.
TwitchCon kicks off today!
Watch the keynote and all the action, and learn about the future of broadcasting on the official Twitch streaming channel!
Ask any game developer on iOS and Android today about the challenges they face in succeeding (i.e. turning a profit, making a sustainable living), and chances are there will be expressions of frustration and negativity. Save for companies that have already established themselves in the mobile marketplace and can afford to build and sustain a customer base, an overwhelming majority will never see a penny of profit.
At the same time, the mobile game market is at a crossroads. On one hand, you have casual experiences being churned out that can be monetized through growth hacking, a.k.a. the ability to target, but and convert players into paying customers. On the other hand, unique game experiences with deep and engaging levels of gameplay that can appeal to true “gamers” are finding it incredibly challenging to succeed, experiences that might command an upfront payment for a quality experience, one that such gamers are willing to pay.
Yet, the touchscreen experience doesn’t match the deep level of gameplay that sufficiently satisfies the needs of the average gamer. A few hours of playing a serious shooter, and you’re left with finger burn and a crooked wrist. This is why I adamantly support Nintendo’s strategy to continue building out their own platform with dedicated portable consoles, but that’s best left said in another blog post that I previously wrote.
While these challenges will persist in the near future, there is a bright spot in the mobile industry, steadily growing to help push development of high quality, deep gaming experiences that consumers might be willing to pay for – Bluetooth game controllers. Yes, multiple companies exist that provide such solutions, such as Green Throttle, Nyko, MOGA and others, but the tipping point will come with native integration of controller support by Apple and Google.
We already know about Apple’s controller API released with iOS 7, one that any developer can integrate into their game to support any wireless Bluetooth game controller. Google can’t be far behind, and we can be confident that we’ll see the support in the next year, at the most.
Free-to-play games rule the roost, and likely will for some time to come, if not permanently. This has allowed companies with the most capital to execute “growth hacking” techniques weighed heavily on user acquisition to build and sustain a player base. This has unfortunately led to an incredibly difficult marketplace for less capable developers to navigate and get discovered, especially the indie tier where the best ideas are generated and the least analytical capabilities lie. And we certainly can’t count on a quality game to succeed based on a one-time payment model. Free-to-play becomes even more challenging for the serious gamers, an incredibly difficult balance to manage in avoidance of pay-to-win perceptions.
As for “quality” games following the paid download model, $1.99 is unfortunately the maximum a majority of smartphone gamers will pay, with $9.99 and $19.99 being special price points for console ports – generally not optimal experiences built from the ground up for the touchscreen.
With universal game controller support built into iOS and Android, we can count on gamers playing for longer periods of time. With such higher engagements, developers can build deeper experiences with flexible game mechanics and backstories that have gamers investing tens of hours of time. Such game experiences are why 35 million gamers around the globe own a 3DS, and games that sell for $40 each sell in the millions within several days of release. These are the games, like Grand Theft Auto V and Call of Duty, that smash entertainment sales records, surpassing movies and music. Many of these games just wouldn’t work on a free-to-play model.
We’ve witnessed a variety of companies enter the market to disrupt the console business, most of which have been categorized as “microconsoles”, dedicated set-top box hardware usually build on top of Linux/Android. Yet, I can’t help but think that the last thing developers need to worry about right now is another platform, particularly one with little install base to justify the additional resource investment.
Why the need for a microconsole, when we all already own one, sitting right in our pocket? The smartphone and tablet, both iOS and Android, will quickly displace the need for dedicated microconsoles that offer the same value. Connectivity to the TV an issue? Tap and stream, enabled by Apple TV and, soon, the likes of Chromecast, will eliminate this hurdle for mainstream consumers. Don’t worry about the gamers – they’re savvy enough to make it happen now, as long as they have a reason to.
To summarize why I’m optimistic about the smartphone and tablet gaming space for the future of gaming:
1.) Native integration of controllers accelerating developer adoption into games.
2.) Games built from the ground up with controller support can lean on deeper experiences that please core gamers.
3.) High quality game experiences that can be played for hours (and avoid finger burn) can command premium price points and not rely on free-to-play access and conversion.
4.) Smartphone and tablets significantly increasing in power and capabilities can offer an experience that pleases the core gamer.
5.) One-tap streaming from smartphones/tablets to TV will all but eliminate the need for dedicated consoles tethered to the TV.
6.) More freedom and flexibility for gamers – one game file and experience no matter where you are, whether played on the road or on your living room TV.
I truly believe that there’s still a bright future ahead for experiences that gamers can enjoy and would be willing to pay a premium price point for on mobile devices. The hurdles that face development and adoption of such titles is a technology challenge already being solved in the form of native controller support and mobile-to-TV streaming. This is an exciting opportunity for developers to harness and create rich game experiences that meets the behaviors and consumption habits of gamers both casual and core. For all the gamers out there, we get to enjoy great games using the hardware that we own coupled with an affordable controller, anytime, anywhere.
Location-based games have had a number of notable titles over the years, as designers and developers have tried to gamify locations, or localize games, or whichever approach they feel like taking. While there are some notable exceptions, of course, the majority of these titles tend to follow this pattern: Continue reading Location-based Games and User Retention
The secret to a successful app is a combination of factors, some of which you can control, others you can’t. In order to do well in the oversaturated app marketplace it’s essential to put yourself in the best possible position for success. App success starts with a great idea, it hinges on execution during development, and it is largely influenced by PR, marketing, timing, and luck.
Of those factors, PR is one that you can control. PR for apps is about how you present the product to the public, garner media coverage, and build users and awareness through proactive outreach. Here are 5 tips to help your PR effort.
The recent rise of mobile as a key platform in the gaming space is accompanied by meteoric growth in asynchronous gameplay. Not what you typically envision when hearing of the latest “multi-player videogame,” asynchronous games do not require the two or more participants to be playing simultaneously; rather, players make turns at their convenience. Chart toppers such as Words With Friends, Hero Academy and Draw Something have millions of people around the world playing asynchronous games daily.
The appeal of this detached gameplay mode on the mobile platform is obvious: by not having to participate “in-sync,” players are free to go about their day, logging in to make a move only when it’s convenient. Growing up, getting a quick game of StarCraft going with my friends required planning in advance to ensure everybody was free (or hoping they were signed into Ventrilo). Now the rich, social experience of multiplayer gaming is available anywhere, anytime, and with any of your hundreds of Facebook friends.
Without a doubt, asynchronous gameplay is bringing millions of new gamers online. Everybody from busy professionals to even busier moms can find time throughout the day to glance at their phones and lay down a quick 20-point word or crudely sketch a sunflower for their friends. These types of people that could never carve out a two-hour block of time to delve into the latest RTS or explore the world of a new MMO are exactly the target audience for asynchronous games.
Recently, I became completely addicted to Zynga’s Words With Friends. My phone buzzed constantly with updates – after all, with 10 or 15 games happening simultaneously, there’s always somebody free to play. I am, and imagine I always will be, a huge Scrabble fan, and my initial enthusiasm motivated the first few weeks of play. However, after a few months of playing WWF, I found myself oddly numb to the experience. Sliding my finger across each subsequent “New Move” notification pop-up seemed more and more of a chore and less about enjoying the game. I was no longer playing because I was immersed in the game, but rather because felt beholden to making the next move so my friends would not be left hanging.
A few months back, I finally snapped out of my daze and started reflecting on the experience, ultimately concluding that I expected too much of asynchronous gameplay. Like most of my daily electronic information flow, the game simply became another source for that short, addicting burst of serotonin so many of us crave in the Digital Age, with little to gain that could not be found in a casual glance at Twitter.
I may think that I’m a busy person and at times certainly am, but I’m no mom rushing kids to soccer practice and dance recitals. In retrospect, I probably spent close to two hours a day keeping up with WWF – not exactly a “non-disruptive” amount of time. Keep in mind, this was not two hours I scheduled specifically for play, but like with most players, time taken in small increments throughout the day that quickly added up to the point of distraction. This most convenient form of gaming was not only sucking an hour or two out of each day, but also doing so when I should have been focusing on work or enjoying the company of friends.
A few months free of Zynga’s iron grip and I’m making a point to schedule time for the sort of immersive gaming that I used to know and love, inviting friends over for a game of Super Smash Bros. or investing the time to set up a game of Risk or Settlers of Catan. I still play the occasional game of Draw Something or Scramble With Friends, but my notifications have all been turned off, and the icons are gone from my home screen. Now, I play only when I’m truly not busy or have made a point to invest some time.
Asynchronous games are part of a wider push in the tech space to make everything as convenient, connected and on-demand as possible. “No time to sit down and play? Just have these bite-sized snippets instead!” That’s great for people on the go, but for those of us accustomed to the deep immersion that comes with truly investing yourself in a game, with setting up your StarCraft hotkeys and arguing over which dictionary to use for Scrabble, there is more than a bit of magic missing so far, in asynchronous gameplay.
While I may sound like the exception to the rule in the face of so much overwhelming success, evidence suggests many others experience the same burnout and disappointment after the initial rush to play. However, I’m confident that the next generation of asynchronous game developers will mitigate these issues with innovative new features that not only keep us hooked, but also tear us away when things start to get out of hand and our entertainment threatens to become a chore.
In Gary Shteyngart’s novel Super Sad True Love Story (Random House, 2010), the schlubby protagonist clings to his old-world ways, doing his best to resist the overabundance of technology and information that barrages him in a not-too-distant-future version of New York City. He is starkly contrasted by his love interest, a younger woman who has grown up with these perpetual streams of stimulus and embraces them without question. The book tells a cautionary tale of personal connections and human relationships gone awry, replaced almost entirely by digital communication and instant, unlimited access to data. While I’m tempted to shrug off this dystopian future, a startling amount of this tech exists already and is gaining popularity. In this way, Shteyngart’s novel feels uncomfortably akin to nonfiction.
Highlight & Glancee were recently deemed the kings of South By Southwest (SXSW 2012), while peripheral nods were given to their competitors like Banjo & Sonar. These apps show you information about those around you. More specifically, they display location-based Facebook interests and Facebook friends-of-friends of people who are physically near you, in the same bar or on the same street. The impetus to browse search results, judge potential connections and act upon them is up to each individual user, but these apps provide opportunity. For more information, Robert Scoble gives a stellar rundown on The Next Web.
Info and images, social networks and video chat, newsfeeds and live-streaming, and above all the shopping, Shopping, SHOPPING – all of this is beamed to äppärät users in real-time, a userbase that includes basically everyone on Earth, minus the destitute and the elderly. While specifics are never given, the äppärät is described as a futuristic iPhone where a haze of holograms replaces the touchscreen and display real-time information on and around the user. The latest äppärät is a small pebble-like device worn like a trendy necklace, a cell phone immune to the battery woes of today. Nothing in the book is so futuristic that I can’t imagine it becoming commonplace in the next year or two.
With these new apps, the data used for comparing and ranking your nearby peers is pretty mundane: movies and bands you like, your favorite cuisine, perhaps the schools you attended. These are things that any Facebook friend could learn about you, but when this info is automatically sent to strangers in text-message-like pings, it changes from passive to active data. You are broadcasting information about yourself to anyone who has downloaded a free app – I can wait while you go update your Facebook “likes.”
The data being sent around by apps like Highlight is rather innocuous – it’s strictly qualitative stuff. But Super Sad True Love Story takes data-sharing to the extreme, where anyone with an äppärät can see quantitative data like your credit rating, your cholesterol level and even your annual salary. In this novel, not only is privacy dead, it’s been long-forgotten.
Before apps like Highlight can gain widespread adoption, they’ll need a filter system (such as a minimum number of friends in common) to weed out the surge of false-positives. For instance, you’d be more inclined to chat up someone with 6 common Facebook friends than someone with only one third-degree connection. Similarly, you might not shy away from approaching a stranger if you had a very specific interest in common; millions of people like Radiohead, but as a New York City resident, I’d happily chat with another fan of Portland, Oregon’s DJ Copy.
In the not-too-distant-future, speaking to another person… out loud… face to face will be so uncommon that it gives rise to the term “verbal-ing.” In the novel, everyone is surrounded by three-dimensional clouds of information, images, advertisements and videos. Even today, it’s too easy to get sucked in by the distractions of a smartphone and miss the real world around you. But apps like Highlight are not as ominous as they may initially sound. By encouraging people to socialize and meet new friends, these apps turn a few common interests into the potential for a friendship, as it was in the pre-smartphone era.
For more info, check out a video interview with Shteyngart on the äppärät via TechCrunch.
Many of us are fortunate that we can pick up a menu, medicine bottle or business card and read it directly as is. Unfortunately, not everyone is that lucky. Ai Squared, a TriplePoint client, has developed products for the low-vision community for over twenty years. This week, they expanded their services with the launch of their iPhone application ZoomReader.
Designed specifically for anyone in need of visual assistance, ZoomReader takes a picture of any text, converts the text digitally using Optical Character Recognition (OCR), and reads the text aloud through an integrated voice synthesizer. Standalone OCR devices are very expensive and not usually portable. The ZoomReader app provides a much less expensive on-the-go alternative to these devices, and helps make reading and seeing easier for people with low vision.
Since launch on Tuesday, ZoomReader reached the #2 Grossing App in the Lifestyle Section of the App Store and in the Top 200 Grossing Apps in the entire App Store.
When gaming is your hobby, it will naturally be your default choice for occupying life’s little patches of boredom. The advent of casual games has provided us all with a wealth of diversions for everyday lulls, whether it’s Bejeweled Blitz with your morning coffee, Desktop Tower Defense while the bank has you on hold, or maybe a few rounds of Angry Birds during that incredibly engaging PowerPoint presentation. Continue reading En Route to Victory: Commuter Gaming
Back to school already? Here are 25 games that will get your brain in shape before you know it. Even if you’re not headed back to the classroom, we can all use a good mental push up (and a fun distraction) from time to time.
Frisky Mongoose has compiled a list of 25 top titles for “brainstream” gamers both young and old. Did your favorites make the list? poweRBrands and Empire Avenue are 2 of our favorites, simple because they offer something totally unique and relevant for PR and marketing folks like us. Several – if not most – of these social, mobile and casual games are free, so put on your smarty pants and play learn your hearts out!
poweRBrands by Reckitt Benckiser – “The first Facebook game of its kind, designed to test players’ marketing and business abilities, teach strategy and decision-making skills, and introduce users to the culture and challenges that face the company’s marketers every day.
Brain Buddies by wooga – Brain Buddies offers its users a playful way to determine their brain weight. The game is focusing on a contest among friends to find the one with the heaviest brain. A large set of mini games as well as entertaining graphics make the game fun to play for a long time.
Who Has the Biggest Brain by Playfish – A series of mini games test your abilities in 4 brain areas: Calculation, Memory, Logic and Visual. The combined score from each of these categories add up to your overall brain rating. A great opportunity to settle the debate, who really does have the biggest brain? After playing you are awarded a ranking – one of 27 different ‘Brain Types’ used to rank you and your friends.
DumbVille by GSN – Tackle quirky questions and puzzle your way through mindless mini-games to rise through the ranks from Village Idiot to Mayor of Dumbville. Every time you succeed AND every time your friends fail, you’ll win Oodles – redeemable rewards that you can use to purchase sweepstakes entries and prizes on GSN.com.
Scrabble by Electronic Arts – A new version of the original board game includes built-in chat and dictionary, multiple word lists, dynamic animations, and multiple speed settings for public games. An easy-to-use interface lets you play with anyone who loves the game!
Empire Avenue – Reap the benefits of expanding your online influence while buying and selling virtual shares in your best friend, your favorite blogger or that pizza joint down the road – anyone, for free. Connect with other people who like the same things as you, find interesting bloggers to follow, or unearth a cool new business in your home town! This Internet thing is pretty useful, you know, and Empire Avenue helps you find the people and businesses that are relevant to you.
Risk: The Game of Global Domination on Pogo.com – Establish your military objectives, take command of your army and begin your campaign to rule the world. Based on the classic board game of strategic conquest from Hasbro, Risk comes to life online where the object of the game is simple: Global Domination! Risk is a turn based game with each player starting with their own controllable army in an attempt to capture territories from opposing players and control the entire map.
Word Whomp on Pogo.com – This freebie challenges you to whomp adorable gophers and spell as many words as you can from a given set of letters before the clock runs out. Gophers will dig up veggies and bonuses as you unscramble words. Reach the carrot to enter the bonus round and score big!
Jeopardy on GSN.com – Test your trivia knowledge, just like the actual game show. Select a question from one of the six game categories by clicking on a dollar value under the category of your choice. When the question appears, you may choose to either “Respond” or “Pass.” If you choose to respond, you will have 15 seconds to answer a multiple-choice question. The game will end when you don’t have enough money to play on.
Wheel of Fortune on GSN.com – You can compete for cash and prizes, just like contestants on the actual game show, with 5 turns to solve the word puzzle. Correctly identify consonants or “buy a vowel.” Each successful guess gives you an additional free spin, but the faster you solve the puzzle, the higher your time bonus! When you choose to solve the puzzle, if your answer is correct, you’ll play in the Bonus Round. If not, you’ll lose a turn.
Tiny Planets – “Targetting kids aged six to 14, this game is based on the Tiny Planets animated TV series, and offers six ‘planets’ for users to visit consisting of simple games, web videos, social networking, a virtual world, goods, and currency, and, of course, learning opportunities. Tiny Planets is rich with entertaining and educational activities that focus on space, conservation, science, creativity, and critical thinking skills.”
FitBrains.com – Provides scientifically developed brain games targeting the five major brain areas: memory, problem solving, concentration, visual spatial, Language. Focus on one brain area or play all the games to give your brain a complete workout. Brain games are a fun way to exercise your brain and an important pillar in living a healthy life. Try your luck and test your skills in games like Travel Quest, Sum Snap and Uber Brain.
Fantage.com, a TriplePoint client – A next-generation destination site for children that offers games and adventures to entertain, delight, and promote positive social interaction in an engaging, exciting, safe environment that both kids and parents love. Fantage also provides an age-appropriate, safe social networking experience within a fun virtual world.
The Oregon Trail by Gameloft – Assume the role of a wagon leader in a side-view journey where your strategic decisions must ensure the safety of your party along the treacherous Oregon Trail. Overcome the perilous journey to Oregon in America’s Wild West. Just like the real pioneers, experience the decision-making, problem-solving, and role-playing fun of this historical event. A unique strategy/educational game relating the first pioneers’ journey to Western American.
THINK by TriplePoint client, Ravensburger Digital – 16 exercises spread across four distinct categories, all designed to give your mind a rigorous workout in different areas of thought. THINK is currently available in English, Spanish and German. Could your brain use a boost?
RedFish Puzzle by Fresh Planet – “Fun games for smart people.” Fresh Planet offers several brain games on various platforms, including the RedFish series of learning apps for young children on the iPad. RedFish Piano 4 Kids is another good one to check out.
Words with Friends by Newtoy Inc. – Turn-based crossword gaming in your pocket! Not much else to say, besides this game is Scrabble in your pocket, with your friends, in real time… and it’s as addictive as they come.
HexaLex by TriplePoint client, Nathan Gray – Takes the classic, easy to learn but hard to master crossword game and adds a new dimension. Hexagonal tiles let you play words in three directions instead of two. Words interact in new and interesting ways. But have no fear, you’ll be up and playing in no time, thanks to the tutorial and detailed, built-in help. If you’ve ever played Scrabble, Lexulous, or Words With Friends you’ll feel right at home!
Word Warp by MobilityWare – Word game fans rejoice! Similar to Text Twist, Word Warp is a challenging anagram type of word game in which you try to form as many words as you can out of the six letters you are given before time runs out. You will receive points for each correct word, but in order to advance to the next level you must come up with at least one word that uses all six letters.
Word Scramble 2 by Zynga – Scramble is the fast fun game of finding words in a jumbled grid. Quickly slide your finder over letters next to each other to make words! Compete with friends and play live with fellow word game fans.
Big Brain Academy (Wii and DS) by Nintendo – Weigh Your Brain! With 15 activities that challenge your brain in single-player Test and Practice modes, Big Brain Academy Wii sees how you measure up in five categories: memory, analysis, number crunching, visual recognition, and quick thinking.
My Word Coach (DS) by Ubisoft – Developed in collaboration with linguists, helps players improve their verbal communication and vocabulary in a fun way. Practice need never get boring with six different exercises to choose between. Players can input missing letters from words, spell out the answers to various definitions, choose which word matches a particular definition, form specific words with Scrabble-like tiles, and more. Three levels of difficulty are available, and the game includes a built-in dictionary of over 17,000 words.
Personal Trainer: Math (DS) by Nintendo – Makes learning fun with fast-paced, high-speed arithmetic problems that keep your math basics fresh, from addition to subtraction and multiplication to division. As your calculation speed improves, earn medals in each exercise to prove your mathematical mastery!
My Virtual Tutor: Reading Kindergarten to 1st Grade (DS) by Mentor Interactive – By combining the kid-friendly Nintendo DS with a proven reading curriculum developed and tested at the University of Colorado, My Virtual Tutor: Reading makes learning reading skills fun, affordable and portable. Through interactive books, school age and grade relevant phonics instruction and fun quiz modes, your child will learn the comprehension, phonics, fluency and vocabulary necessary to become an expert reader, all while having fun with their Nintendo DS.
Brain Age (DS) by Nintendo – The title is a series of minigames designed to give your brain a workout. The 17 engaging activities are all designed to help work your brain and increase blood flow to the prefrontal cortex. Whether you’re playing simple songs on a piano keyboard or monitoring the photo finish of a footrace, you’ll love your new mental workout!
This article was originally published by Kate Hancock on Frisky Mongoose.
TriplePoint has the unique opportunity to work with some of the best iPhone (and now iPad!) game developers out there. We’ve helped achieve success for a growing list of games – everything from classics like geoDefense and Real Racing to today’s number one paid app in the US App Store, ZombieSmash!
As a result, we receive a steady stream of inquiries from aspiring developers hoping to get our help launching their next great game. The companies coming to us for assistance are in all sorts of different market positions – one-man teams and expansive ones, microscopic budgets and gigantic ones. We’re ecstatic whenever we have the chance to serve a company with a great product and a great vision – but we do everything we can to help direct fledgling companies that may not have the budget to engage with a PR firm.
I gave a talk last week at 360|iDev (a great conference for iPhone app dev community) called “PR 101 for iPhone Game Developers.” I thought it’d be great to give a broad overview of what exactly this “PR” business is all about, and why it’s important to consider your PR approach well in advance of setting your shiny new iPhone game loose in the wild. It addresses a few big questions iPhone devs might have – what’s PR, why should I do it, and how can I do it (and how much does it cost)?
Here’s the deck – it’s a bit lighthearted, but I hope it’s insightful for anyone in this space who’s considering their marketing options:
More than a year after its initial launch, Pocket God continues to top the App Store charts with over two million copies sold. Bolt Creative’s Dave Castelnuovo and Allen Dye keep the craze, well, crazy, through clever content updates, community engagement and tons of humor.
The benevolent deities on the PR team help keep Pocket God‘s name in lights through quality media hits. Here’s a recap of the latest and greatest:
Venture CES Edition – Broadcast and Online (1/22)
Dave Castelnuovo speaks on the Pocket God demographic, pricing strategy and the future of the brand.
Episode 42, Part 2 – Broadcast and Online (1/31)
Dave joins the weekly Silicon Valley news roundtable to discuss app development and the iPad.
The New York Times
“For Gamers, the iPhone is a Player” – Online (1/27) and Print (1/28)
Dave comments on the power of the iPhone as a gaming device.
“Popular iPhone App Pocket God Possibly Coming to Android” – Online (1/8)
Dave discusses the Nexus One, Android and Pocket God’s future.
The Sunday Times
“Apps generation could make second killing from Apple’s iPad” – Print and Online (1/31)
Bolt on how Pocket God came to be, and the iPad opportunity.
“Pocket God Micro-Review: Heaven or Hell?” – Online 1/19
“Pocket God is more than a simple time killer. It excels at some of the best the iPod/iPhone has to offer and does so brilliantly. While the players are put in the role of god, the real divine work here is the workman-like craft and development that went into making this title.”
For more insights into what works for Bolt, and how indie developers can achieve their own success on a tight budget, be sure to check out Dave’s GDC talk next week!
A recent tweet:
@madluv4iPhn Dear iPhone – I’ve met someone new named the Nexus One. I’m strangely attracted to her and need a few days to figure this all out.
I initiated a conversation with @madluv4iPhn to understand his reasons for leaving his iPhone. The first reason he provided is that the Nexus One serves as a much better telephone than the iPhone. Inconsistent coverage has been a general gripe of the iPhone user population. The Nexus One provides more consistent service with improved sound quality and fewer dropped calls. To be fair, iPhone’s AT&T service is greatly responsible for the frustrating inconsistency of their calls. Interestingly enough, T Mobile has served the Nexus One very well so far, despite its general criticism for inconsistent coverage.
Another captivating feature is the Nexus One’s ability to sync flawlessly with Google applications. Granted, it is a Google phone, but these applications are seamless in comparison to their counterparts on the iPhone. On the Gmail client, one can even sync contacts with Facebook contacts to include profile pictures and status updates.
Google has realized that, despite anti-texting/talking cell phone laws, people will continue to use their phones on the road. The Nexus One has taken the initiative to create voice command functionalities that make driving while talking or texting a safer endeavor. The “talk to text” function allows you to dictate text messages and has surprisingly accurate results. The GPS navigation system can announce the directions aloud while you drive.
In addition to the aforementioned capabilities, the Nexus One’s processing speed is incredibly fast, vastly enhancing the internet browsing experience. The 5.0 megapixel camera, trumps the iPhone’s and is complete with an LED flash. The Nexus One is an unlocked device, allowing you to choose your own provider.
The Nexus One’s multitasking capabilities add another level of convenience for the ever-busy smart phone user. Any notifications appear in their own section that you can view without interrupting other running applications. Unlike the iPhone, Pandora can play music in the background amidst other running applications.
When asked what he misses about iPhone, @madluv4iPhn noted the ease of iTunes, the apps, and gaming capacity that the iPhone possesses. The Nexus One’s media player is ugly compared to iTunes. The iPhone is simply a better gaming device and the App Store offers better apps. The Nexus One has hardly enough space to store games and the Android Market’s 20,000 apps leave something to be desired.
While there are in a bevy of perks that the Nexus One has to offer, the ultimate choice comes down to personal preference. The iPhone is a beautiful, simple device that even children can use with ease. The Nexus One, however, boasts the forefront in smartphone technology. Admittedly, leaving the iPhone behind was bittersweet for @madluv4iPhn. Even so, the Nexus One is his soulmate. You just can’t argue with fate.
In terms of wide-sweeping brand recognition, Popcap is to casual gaming what Nintendo is to gaming in general. Your Grandma knows about Nintendo, but your Mom might know a PopCap game or two. Founded a decade ago, the company does a spectacular job of keeping their games in the public eye and maintaining a friendly, unassuming aesthetic. It’s as if making boatloads of money is the pleasant side-effect of cranking out highly addictive puzzlers, and to be clear, casual games are doing big business. Most of their games are available on multiple platforms, with free versions hosted at PopCap.com. Because the games are both robust and replayable, it’s no surprise that their perennial favorite Bejeweled 2 hasn’t left the Top 10 Highest Grossing list on the App Store since that category was unveiled six months ago . Continue reading Social, Casual or Both? PopCap Sells Cows, Gives Away Free Milk