Yesterday’s news that the gaming giant Zynga bought 4 mobile gaming development companies last year comes as little surprise. Our COO, Carl Uminski spoke to a room full of budding mobile entrepreneurs at the Genius Incubator with John Mew, Head of Mobile at the IAB and many of them were hoping to break into the gaming space. While there are many new opportunities to explore, it can be a tough gig.
Most apps on iPhone and Android are free, 79% and 99% respectively, and even if you are thinking of trying to sell a game, you are giving 10% or even 30% of it straight to your chosen app store before you’ve even started marketing it.
With Apple’s stamp of approval comes protection for its users – just 1 push notification a day from apps. You might think they are a great way to try and engage with gamers, but any more than once, even on Android’s free market, and you could be considered desperate. LinkedIn was forced to change its recent update to its Android app after sustained cries of ‘spam, spam, spam!’.
In most cases, unless you’ve got a new TomTom to flog to the masses at £49.99 a go, Freemium is one of the best ways to go. Can you get sponsorship deals for objects or levels, incentivised, ‘if you watch this, then you get this’-type ideas going or in-app banner advertising?
Facebook apps for the mobile web, which could include a virtual currency, are perhaps a less-explored area. Early this morning UK time, they went live with 60 new apps that allow people to add anything they want to their timelines, and they have given developers open reign on their Open Graph format. Their touted upcoming announcement on mobile advertising will open up another new realm of possibilities.
Look out for quiet advertising times to get cheap space, don’t end up trying to compete with chocolate, flowers and underwear retailers on Valentine’s Day when you’re trying to shift your new app.
One excellent piece of advice he did have was, ‘make it good’.
Should your game pass the desk of one of the 2,500 people who make the market decisions at Apple, and you are chosen, you can’t buy, a featured spot in their App Store, the game will change overnight.
So if you’re sitting on the next Angry Birds, be good, and if you can’t be good… Try and be smart.