Posts Tagged ‘android’

app-marketing

Aug 08

The Evolution of App Marketing

There are over a million apps in the Google and Apple stores and you’d think that with such choice the evolution of marketing would be complete. However it’s taken more than 4 years for the market to realize a middle ground.

If you take a look at app marketing’s very brief history you will notice that it went through 3 distinct phases, and that we are currently still in the 3rd one. Each stage clearly indicates how technology advanced in a short space of time, and how mobile users stopped seeing their devices as a novelty and started using them as a tool.

In the early days of app marketing Apple dominated, but following android’s explosion into the market and the availability of 3rd party apps, Apple had to reassess its objectives and strategies as the marketing playing field became more of a minefield.

At first the emphasis was largely on volume and how many people could be encouraged to download a specific app, by any means necessary. This then indicated the popularity of an app but did not serve to illustrate how many people actually made use of it.

At around 2011 there was a shift and app marketing not only focused on volume, it turned its attention to performance tracking and quality, and incentivized apps were recalled. Marketing of apps then shifted focus on to how the app could offer the user an enhanced experience and the benefits offered, and rather than just simply racking up statistics, app marketing became more customer centric.

It’s safe to say that recently the focus shifted once again and value and ROI became top priorities.  With brands such as MobileCasino.co.nz offering apps that rivalled the online offerings, users have become accustomed to downloading programs that offer longevity.

It seems that these 3 phases were spurred on not only by technological advancements but by mobile marketers realizing that if the app industry was to have staying power it needed to offer users an experience that would keep them engaged , whilst still being monetized in some form or another. Whilst many apps are free to download, users may have to pay for add-ons or additional game features, or be subjected to in-app advertising. For now it seems that the evolution of app marketing has reached a level plane, but whether it stays there remains to be seen.

Apr 01

Amazon’s latest game controller for an Android device

Amazon is one of the biggest players in the field of online marketplaces, but it seems that this title is not enough. Rumors on the Internet say that Amazon is currently looking to make its entrance into the field of gaming, as some leaked photos show a prototype of what seems to be an Amazon-branded game controller.Despite the fact that there are no official statements regarding this product so far, closely inspecting the leaked photos allows us to make a pretty clear idea of what to expect from the upcoming Amazon game controller.

Design

At a first glance, the Amazon controller looks like a blend between multiple controllers already in existence. In terms of design, the Amazon controller is fairly similar to a renowned Android game controller, the MOGA Pro, which seems to be inspired by the Xbox controllers in term of button layout. However, there is one noticeable difference between the Xbox controllers, the MOGA Pro and Amazon controllers – the last ones are bulkier in aspect and come with a few extra buttons. It is exactly those extra buttons that give us some valuable hints on what the Amazon controller will be capable of.

Features

So the Amazon controller has the classical 4-way directional key, the ABXY action buttons and two analog sticks – nothing impressive so far; until you notice the additional buttons, that is.

In the center of the controller you will see three buttons which should be quite familiar if you’ve ever used a smartphone: back, home and menu. This is the first and most obvious indicator that Amazon’s game controller will have something to do with Android, as these buttons are the same buttons you normally find on pretty much any android-powered device out there, and while the first tendency is to conclude that the Amazon controller will be just another game controller for Android smartphones and tablets, there are a few additional buttons that contradict this theory.

Located on the bottom edge of the controller, the 3 playback controls are easily accessible and will allow you to quickly control the media that will be playing, which will most probably be streamed from the Amazons Instant Video service. This pretty much rules out the hypothesis that the Amazon game controller will be just a simple Android controller, and makes it more probable that it will be connected to something else, which will also be running Android.

Another button that might confirm the fact that the Amazon game controller is not just a simple controller is the Amazon GameCircle button, located right under the three Android-specific controls. Present as an in-game feature so far, the Amazon GameCircle now gets its own physical button, thus providing easier access to saved games, leaderboards achievements in a vast majority of games from the Amazon Appstore.

Conclusion

So, let’s draw a line and sum it all up: we have a controller with all the classical buttons found on console controllers, with a few extras, which indicate that it will also have multimedia capabilities and will be somehow connected to Android. There are quite a few rumors and theories floating around, the most commons being that Amazon is also secretly working on a standalone gaming console or, most probably, that it will incorporate its features into the new set-top box that will be released in the near future.

While in the lack of any official information both theories are just as plausible, the latter one seems a bit more probable. Still, at this point it is all just hypothesis and speculation, so all it is left is to wait for the release of the said set-top box and see which theory is confirmed. Stay tuned!

stencyl-3

Feb 22

Stencyl 3.0 is Out Now

Stencyl is a fantastic tool and game engine for those who hate code but love making games. This tool speeds up the process of building games or game prototypes. The highly anticipated update of Stencyl 3.0 is finally here and the new version now supports publishing games to

iOS (iPhone/iPad) Android Flash Windows Mac Linux

Here are few features in the new version:

Platforms

Publish to iOS, Android, Flash, Standalone Desktop (Windows, Mac, Linux). Publish all games directly from your computer. Unification – 1 engine, 1 programming language (Haxe) Open Framework for building new native and pure Haxe extensions.

Other

Improved Font Support Improved Translation (Language Pack) Support Draw UTF-8 (international) characters in-game Gap Free MP3 Playback for Flash Support for OGG playback on all platforms except Flash Multi-Mapped Controls Mobile

Improved handling of arbitrary screen sizes. Improved Ad Support (iAds, AdMob, Events) Improved Social Gaming API Support (Game Center, Events) Improved In-App Purchase Support (Consumables, Restore Purchases, Events) Improved Native UI Support (Keyboard, Swipe, better Joystick, Alerts, Vibrate) Uniform handling of mouse and touch events

Workflow

Test on iOS without going through Xcode Universal Log Viewer No more MAC address requirement to test You don’t have to use atlases if you hate ‘em Engine

Improved Performance. Reduced memory usage and churn. Simple Physics Mode – opt out of physics for better performance if you don’t need it. Reduction of “works only on Flash” features. Core features work everywhere. Full Blending Mode support for Flash Full Screen Mode for Flash, Desktop

Obviously we need to wait and see what the game developers can do with it before we sing its praises, but the features in new version are a step in the right direction

Oct 28

Indie Developer Interview: Beansprites | Games for Toddlers

When it comes to children’s games, not many indie developers have such an extensive back catalog as Beansprites, a small team from California who have covered cafe culture to dentistry is their myriad of colorful games.

1. What made you want to make games primarily for young children?

The decision to make apps for kids was something that just occurred organically – I’ve always been a fan of all genres of video games, and I especially loved light-hearted platformers such as Castle Of Illusion: Starring Mickey Mouse for Sega Genesis, that could easily qualify as a kiddie platformer.

I was also no stranger to playing games like “Putt Putt goes to the Moon” – which was a 2D point and click learning game for kids. I would experiment with all genres, but the kids app genre is always what appealed to me the most, and also where ideas came naturally.

2. Do you approach children’s game design in a similar way to adult game design, or is the process different?

A majority of the applications you see in my portfolio are geared towards the very younger age group, probably starting at 3 and up. I approach game design in a similar way for the majority of my apps – encompassing a very intuitive user interface where even a 3 year old could pick up and play the game without any assistance from a parent or teacher. I’ve even had reviews where parents have stated it was easy for their kid to get started, and they didn’t require any help. That is my goal for the initial experience – of course, keeping them engaged for long periods, and having them come back to my app over and over is another very important goal in game design – especially for kids of a younger age bracket who tend to have much shorter attention spans than the older kids and “tween” crowd.

3. What game style or type have you found to be most successful in your experience?

It’s difficult to pinpoint one genre, because it changes all the time depending on what consumers want to play – basically I study what is trending in the app store in terms of popularity and try to design an app with a twist, and add more unique features to that app that will make it stand out from the rest. In previous years, food apps have been very popular, but the focus has changed to other app genres, and adapting to that change is crucial to success.

4. You charge a minimal amount for your games, why did you chose to avoid the free to play model?

For the paid model, 0.99 cents is the most I will charge for my apps given their content and genre – namely that they are geared towards kids – I’ve avoided the free to paid model for Nook & Amazon, but institute iAP for iOS – Each App Store is different in terms of what works, and I may institute a free to play model for Amazon and Nook in the future.

5. Which platform do you prefer to make games for and why?

I enjoy working with all platforms – I always prefer iOS as I prefer their operating system, but Android is a market that is booming right now – I think it’s very important to consider all markets, even obscure ones that you think may not be successful.

6. Do you have any game development tips for those looking to make games for children?

One tip I have is if you’re making educational games for kids, go read up on some activity books you find in the kids section at Target, or Barnes & Noble – buy a few of those, and study those activities, and try implementing them into an app – there are endless possibilities for educational apps in the app store, and apple is always looking to feature new and innovative products! If you have a unique art style, that also helps – games from developers like Duck Duck Moose, and Toca Boca have a very unique art style, and branding that you would recognize immediately if seen on the app store.

7. Which game has been your most successful to date and why do you think it was so popular?

One of my initial, and most successful games that propelled me into doing this as a full-time business was “Fairytale Preschool” – this was a very basic, kids educational app for iOS which featured activities like finding the right color bottle, counting games, memory matching etc. This one was featured by apple under New & Noteworthy, and reached the top 100 games on the app store. It also reached the top 5 position on the education category all by itself, without any marketing. Of course, fast forward 3 years later to present time, and this kind of app would never have achieved the success it did back then.

8. What channels do you market your games on and which drives the best results?

I use Facebook, Twitter as the primary marketing outlets. There are also ad campaigns that you can run to drive installs to your apps, but they work better with free models for applications and games. Free App of the Day is another good example of marketing, but they charge a pretty penny for their services.

9. Like many game designers, do you have a BIG game in you which you will eventually build?

We are currently working on a 2D adventure game which will be released by next year – that is the big game that I’ve always wanted to work on, and it’s the biggest, most daunting project I’ve ever worked on to date.

10. What title(s) do you have in development at the moment?

At the moment, we are working on the 2D adventure game, full steam ahead! I also still make time for the kids apps, and if I see something trending, I will work on a piece for the app store. The holidays are coming up, so holiday themed apps are also in the works!

Finally, what would you say to your younger self when she first started creating games…

Be prepared for many sleepless nights, and long work hours! 🙂

For more information on Beansprites games and apps, please visithttp://www.beansprites.com

Sep 04

5 advertising platforms for your mobile games

The most amazing thing that happened in the 21st century is the advent of user friendly interferences for consumer products whether it is for mobile phones, personal computers or other hand-held devices. Steve Jobs brought something amazing to this world by bringing the revolutionary mobile device the iPhone along with the iOS mobile platform. Following the trend, Google brought android mobile platform to meet the needs of everyday mobile computing. Consumers just loved it when iOS hit the market; it meant that users had complete control of their device. They were able to customize their device to any extent they wanted and later android came to the market and became the first popular open source mobile platform developers. Consumers all over the world entered into the next generation of tech. Developers all over the world started to explore the power of these mobile platforms and built hundreds and thousands of apps. University graduates with software degrees got the highest paid jobs all over and why? Because the newly launched mobile platforms have been popular like never before as compared to previous mobile platform namely the Symbian mobile platform.

With the advent of iOS and Android; developers were equally motivated as they now had the power to develop whatever came into their minds ranging from video players to shooting games, from PDF readers to angry birds; literally every vivid idea that came to developers which were not possible before finally came to reality. iOSand Android brought the most amazing features to the hands of a consumer that were never brought before; notably complete customization of mobile phones, apps market, themes and hundreds of other features. Did I just say apps market? Well, the amazing feature of these mobile platforms is the apps market. Imagine you were finally able to explore imaginations of millions of developers out there. You were finally able to use mobile phones for your daily needs with the invention of mobile apps. Developers were able to share their applications with just few simple clicks and you were able to download these applications in a few seconds and in just a couple of minutes you are using yet another mobile application to make a to do list for you. This is the amazingness of mobile platforms I was talking about earlier.

When it comes to mobile apps; one category that is highly popular among consumers are those interactive rich media mobile games.

Angry birds, Temple Run, Fruit Ninja and many other mobile games are bringing smiles to many mobile users. For consumers it’s fun to use such mobile games but for developers its a tough job to make a app and then advertise it to make sure it get overwhelming response from users so that all those sleepless nights put into building these mobile games is worthwhile.

Below is the list of the Top 5 mobile apps/games advertising platforms to get the most out of your game apps:

AdMob

Admobscores highest on every list. Google premium advertising network for app developers should be the first platform when you choose to get your game app being heard. AdMob allows you to integrate your ad across iOS,Android as well as the Windows Phone platform making it the first choice of app developers to advertise their apps. Further, you are able to select from a wide range of ad formats available for mobile phones as well as tablets. Since its Google which is managing the platform you get to analyze your campaign from various viewpoints and you get a hold of advanced advertising tools available online.

Millennial Media

Millennial Media is our second top choice after Admob. The platform uses intelligent tools to let you advertise your game apps around the word. The best thing from mMedia is that it allows you to grab your campaigns and ads from other advertising platforms too such as AdMob; that means you can utilize the power of the two platforms and make the most of your advertising campaign for your games app. Furthermore, you can target your ads based on location. Experts see it as the best combination for premium apps advertisement needs and monetization of your games apps.

Adfonic

Adfonic is another top most choice for game app developers. The platform looks after all your advertisement needs. The amazing thing about Adfonic is the promise that 95% average fill rates on both iOS and Android.

Chartboost

While all the other above mentioned platforms are holistically to advertise apps including games app too, Chartboost is our favorite platform because it talks all about gaming apps and promotes similar apps on its platform. If you ask me one which platform you should use to start your gaming app advertising I would suggest you to go for Chartboost. This amazingly powerful platform connects game developers all over the world. You can socialize with other developers and look out for cross-promotions along with direct deals. One great thing in Chartboost is that you only need 5 lines of code to get your gaming app ad online.

Tapjoy

Why we brought Tapjoy into the list is because it offers you the power of a new phenomenon which they call incentivized download. You can advertise your gaming app to over 1 billion registered devices and over 77 million monthly active users. The best thing we found about Tapjoy is that you get sure short results i.e. for example if a user is playing a game that requires 10 more coins, to continue the game the user can buy it from the store or get the free coins needed by installing your app or viewing your gaming app advertisement (you can specify what you want users to do in-return to get more coins). This is an excellent platform for gaming apps advertisements.

Above all these, there are a few sure short guidelines for your games to get noticed. But before going into it that there is only one rule you need to remember in order to get heard. All the others are just fillers to your campaign; that is to make sure your content is engaging and for the right audience. Don’t ever use false marketing ways to get heard, good work is always appreciated though it may take more time at the start.

Make sure your content is interactive (engaging games) Define your target market and design content accordingly (make sure you get insights on your target market before designing content) Start advertising your game app in your social circle, ask your friends and family to rate your application and write reviews on it. Make sure you have a hybrid marketing plan for your game app i.e. that includes social media as well as other paid advertisements on different popular apps. Make sure you enlist your games on various showcase forums so that other like-minded people can review your apps. Socialize within your developers circle, cross-promote each other games/applications to make the most out of your game apps.

 

 

 

 

Jul 09

Building an App: Dos and Don’ts from Fueled

You have a problem. You create a solution. You want to share it with the world via a mobile app. How the heck do you build one?! No need to fret, your friends at Fueled have compiled a quick reference of some dos and don’ts for the app building process.

DO your research, and have a strategy. Not every app idea has been thought of, but a lot of them have. There is a very good chance that your idea could already exist in some capacity. Search app stores, read tech blogs, find rumor mills; due diligence can save you time that would otherwise be wasted creating something that already exists. If you complete the research and find there is a need for your app, have a strategy for how to proceed. We at Fueled take great pride in our ability to build winning strategies for apps, from concept to launch and beyond. Organizing thoughts, setting deadlines, and paying attention to details will make the app building process flow much more smoothly.

DON’T forget the execution. You have your idea, done the research, and have a strategy; now what? Proper execution. Even the simplest idea can become a great app, as long as the follow-through of the plan is on point. Instead of imitating another app’s layout, enhance the best qualities and make it better. Focus on developing an intuitive UX and responsive UI. Users want apps that work well and serve their needs the instant it is downloaded. This is also where a well-thought-out strategy can come in handy as it will help create checkpoints throughout the dev process, allowing you to evaluate the progress. Ideas are a dime a dozen, execution is key.

DO focus on building a product that you will use. If you have no interest in or don’t have a use for your own product, you will likely end up with an inferior result. Having a passion for your design and function will show and be important to investors and consumers. Additionally, constantly test any assumptions you have throughout the design and dev process. Updated layouts, additional functions, anything you think will improve the app overall is worth a test because you can always go back to the way it was. This process will ensure that you are building an end product that makes sense and has value to users.

DON’T rush your launch. Everyone is excited about their product and wants to launch as soon as possible. However, here are many reasons why you shouldn’t do this. For starters, it takes time to build a quality app. No matter how simple it may seem, design, development, and testing all take time. Even when the app is completed, work must be done to properly market the product prior to the launch. You will want to build media relationships if you do not already have them, launch a website, and build a buzz around the product. Weeks are not enough. Months of planning, organizing, and action are needed in order to have a successful launch.

DO take the time to test. Simply having a couple of your friends play with the app does not count as testing. Friends and family are not your target market, they will download your app simply because they love you and want to help out. Seek out agencies or other professionals in order to get useful feedback. Outside testers are potential consumers, they should be using your app. The goal is to gather constructive criticism, opinions, and relevant data that will allow you to make little tweaks based on user feedback during beta before your big app store launch.

DON’T think it’s done just because it’s in the App Store. Being in an app store simply means your app is accessible, not that people will be able to easily find it. An app store optimization strategy will be needed to increase visibility. This should be a big part of the strategy. Additionally, the app will likely have some bugs, need to adjust to user complaints, and have new feature introduced at times. Updating too frequently is not necessary, but no app is ever complete at version 1.0.

DO make sure you work with the right partner. Whether it is a friend, a freelancer, or a shop like Fueled. Depending on your goals, it may make sense to partner with different people. Typically for a prototype, working with a freelancer may make sense so you can demonstrate proof of concept before investing in really polished design and high caliber development which will serve as the foundation of your product after its commercial launch.

Written with love by the editorial team at Fueled, a premier Android app design agency in New York City.

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iPhone Gaming

Mar 21

How iPhone rules the mobile gaming world

Everyone has an idea in mind of the key features and functionalities that they desire in their phones. For iPhone consumers, one of the top key features them our driven to be games. With a higher interest in games, iPhone is crowned “mobile device king” by an end of the year study this past year. Data driven from users of popular platforms such as Androids, iPhones, and Blackberries, iPhone conquered far above its opponents when it came to devoted gamers. This provides interesting feedback about iPhone consumers.

It’s All in the Numbers

iPhone gamers come from a wide spectrum of interests and tend to be very loyal to their playing time. It is recorded that iPhone gamers play their games of choice typically 743.1 minutes on a monthly basis. This number far exceeds the Android gamers who clocked in at 484 minutes on a monthly basis. So iPhone attracts their consumers to their games and then captivates them into playing on a more regular basis than any other mobile device platform.

And the numbers are just rising! With more mobile consumers turning towards smartphones, gaming popularity is just increasing among Americans. In a couple of years, estimation 2016, more than half of mobile consumers are going to be dubbed iPhone gamers.

The most striking data derived from the increase popularity of iPhone gaming is that it has been determined that iPhone game features are used significantly more than any other feature on the iPhone. Popular features such as texting, social networking, and even the basic phone call, all fall short of the minutes used by iPhone games and their devote gamers.

iPhone even Appeals to Game Developers

It is true that the market of Android is open source; however, top notch game developers prefer developing their product on iOS versus Androids. Think of the iPhone as a “playing field.” Most extremely popular and successful games that people of all interests flock to be probably introduced on the iPhone first. After the game proves in its success, it may then be converted and developed into an Android game. So die hard mobile gamers, who typically want “it” first, tend to migrate to the iPhone knowing they can get the latest and greatest from top game developers first.

Game developers have even been stumped into thinking that with the high success of their product on iPhone it would do just as well or better on the Android. However, in some cases this is proven false. This all relates deeply on that iPhone gamers are more devoted to their favorite games and out play an Android gamer any day. I phone devices themselves are much more advanced devices than that of most android driven devices. Apple has created the iPhone in such a way that it utilizes each aspect of the device and typically out performs the Android. What this means is that for the most part iPhone game developers can experience their game on a better platform and device to get the full experience of their game.

In conclusion the iPhone is the best testing and developing platform for mobile games. Expect big things from our iPhone game developers and even bigger things from our iPhone developers themselves. This is not a hard thing to imagine considering the iPhone consumer expects big things so under delivering is not an option.

In the near future we should expect machines that are faster smaller and capable of allowing the gamer to experience a much more lifelike streamlined gaming experience than ever before. iPhone developers know that game developers and consumers are counting on them so look out and expect the unexpected.

 

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Jan 10

Successful Mobile Apps of 2012

According to statistics from PC World, Business Week and figures from Apple’s website, Google and Apple have added over 500,000 apps to their online stores in 2012. With an exponential increase of mobile apps every month, it can be very difficult to navigate the charts and determine what apps have been successful this year. To make it easier, here are a few apps that lead their categories in 2012:

Productivity/Business/Utilities – Clear by Realmac Software

Clear is a simple to-do list app. What makes this particular to-do list app stand out from the rest is its beautiful design and easy to use interface. Clear wants to keep things simple: add a task, swipe it off the list (literally), and organize thoughts in files. Clear also connects to the cloud so backing up and storing a list is simple.

Why is it so successful? – It might seem odd that a paid to-do list app is outshining the free competition, but Clear is strides ahead of the others. The key to Clear’s success lies in the app’s simple, yet stylish UI. Creating an app with a nearly self-explanatory design pulls in more users.

Social Networking/Photography – Instagram by Facebook and Burbn, Inc.

The introduction of Instagram changed the way mobile users take photos and share them. The app allows the user to take a photo, apply effects and filters, and upload it for others to see. As is the case with other social media outlets, users can follow other people and comment on their pictures. Facebook recently purchased the app for a stunning $1 billion, which makes it one of the fastest and biggest payouts in tech startup history according to research by Pingdom.

Why is it so successful? – Before Facebook’s big purchasing move, Instagram had gained a large following. According to the New York Times, creator Kevin Systrom released a test version to influential bloggers who used it to post pictures on their sites and Twitter accounts. The trial releases created a demand, leading to huge success at the app’s launch.

Games – Angry Birds by Rovio

Angry Birds has been a clear leader in mobile gaming since its launch in December of 2009. The game now has 5 versions available on almost every mobile platform available. In addition to winning awards for Best Mobile App for Consumers from Mobile Excellence Awards and Global Mobile Awards, Angry Birds also spawned a collection of toys, books, board games, and even theme parks.

Why is it so successful? – Angry Birds proves that a game doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated to develop to be a success. The game hit the mobile market early, giving it a leg up on the competition. The continued success can be attributed to the constant flow of series updates Rovio gives its new and veteran fans. The most recent update, Angry Birds: Star Wars, was released on November 6.

What’s to be learned from the most successful apps of 2012? It doesn’t have to be complicated to beat out the competition. Mike Krieger, Instagram co-founder, attributes his app’s success to keeping things “as simple as possible.” The most successful apps in 2012 were modest ideas that applied frequent updates, offered a simple-thrills UI, and integrated social media options to promote community engagement.

Do you have an idea for a mobile app? Let Zco give you a hand. Send us an email or request a call from one of our experts to get started.