Move over, Clash of Clans: America’s new most lucrative app and it isn’t a Strategy Game.

Something very surprising happened today — a social casino game became the No. 1 app on the U.S. iPad revenue chart. To put this in context, you may need as much as a $15 million monthly revenue run rate to hit the top of the American iPad chart.

 


The Keys to Game Development: What the Best Teams Do (the TL;DR version)

a group recently released a quantitative study on what actually makes game development teams succeed or fail. I’ve gone through it and extracted the common themes, ranked in order (by them) of statistical significance.

https://onlinealchemy.wordpress.com/…/the-keys-to-game-dev…/

The really really short version:
– find the game vision and stick to it
– build cohesive teams that work well together
– communicate openly
– treat each team member as an individual


My newest project

Check out my latest project, “Imperium: Galactic War.”

Play it at:  https://www.kabam.com/games/imperium-galactic-war/play


Darn NDA’s

I got to see some really cool stuff over the last few days.  But I’m not allowed to talk about it.  LOL  Oh well.


Marketers Who Share Content Drive Traffic, Gain Customers [INFOGRAPHIC]

I was just making this point to someone today…  It is so true. Marketers Who Share Content Drive Traffic, Gain Customers [INFOGRAPHIC]


Touch Controller for HTML5 Games

I still like to play with code every once in a while.  For the last few years I have mostly been working on Creative and Strategy, but when I first got into the tech business I was all about the code.  It has always been a love hate relationship for me.  But it has been fun looking through some of the little experiments I have done.

I don’t like to travel with a laptop, and a lot of times I just have my iPad with me.  What I found frustrating is, most of the little projects and experiments I had done in the past used keyboard controls to make them work.  I was wondering how can I make this work on a touch screen.  I tried a number of different solutions and I was not completely happy with any them.  After digging to see what other people are doing I came across a really interesting developer named Seb Lee-Delisl…  He had created a really simple elegant controller.  I have been playing around with it for a bit.

If you have your iPhone or iPad check out the example I have posted.  I am now working on incorporating it into some of the things I have created in the past.  Fingers crossed that I don’t have to rewrite them from scratch…  Cause I don’t know if I’ll get around to doing it.

Check it out, but remember it will now work with a mouse or keyboard.  DEMO

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just tried to get it to work on Android devises.  It was a little wonky.  It only partially worked on a Droid, I think it has trouble handling multipul touch events. Seem a lot of the Android devises touch drivers are a little sub-par.  I could not get anything to render on a Kindle, which surprised me…  All I got was a black screen.  Not sure how it handles HTML5 Canvas.


Tic Tac Toe – For iPhone

I was actually looking for something else on my servers for my portfolio when I came across one of the first things I did in HTML5.  I can’t even tell you how long ago this was, or why I even did this.  I looked back at the code and it is pretty simple, so I played around  with it a little and and got got it to work mostly with my iPhone as well…  Go to the mobile version of my site and check it out…  Now I need to change the space invaders game so it can work mobile too…  not sure how yet though

Click the pic to play…


Listen First: Taking advantage of the conversation.

I’ve always been a big fan of the wisdom of crowds.  While I was COO for a start up search engine company, we build a search engine based on this principle, where we used what people were saying as a means to define relevancy.  Not just who was linking to whom, but also what those people were actually saying to help determine the best search results.   We did the same with the ads that appeared on our search results, lowering the relevancy scores over time for lower performing ads and search terms.  We listened to the conversations being had on the internet, and found truly remarkable results and solutions for people.

In the new world of communication that is springing up, where social media is changing the way people interact with each other, how are companies able to insert them selves into the conversation?  How can they meet the needs of people wanting to interact with each other, and not be obtrusive in their approach?  And while a business is inserting themselves into the conversation, what is the end goal, the business need that is being met by them having direct dialog with the consumer?

To help define what a businesses goals should be in this arena they need to listen.  Not just to the consumers, but to their internal business units.  They need to find out what are the pain points for each and come up with an actionable solution.   The solution should be something actionable and concrete, and should be a strategic directive that could be applied to anything, not just social media and word of mouth marketing.

Companies should not sit and say, hey we need to be on Twitter or hey we need to be on Facebook, until they have listened to what their external customers and their internal stakeholders are saying.   But once companies have listen then they must engage in the conversation, but with a particular business need in mind.

Yes there are times when social can be used purely for brand engagement,. An example of this would be the HBO Facebook app, “Immortalize Yourself,” which enabled fans to produce videos of themselves with real characters and Facebook friends. The app pulled in data from users’ profiles to generate the videos, which could feature random or specific Facebook friends.  It was a fun little app but it was tied to a campaign and this sort of advertising around a product or event will never completely go away.

Listening to the conversations and then inserting yourself in the communication stream with a particular business need will help the companies not only succeed, but innovate in ways they might never have thought about.  Once listening, then it is time to engage your audience and start a true relationship with your customers.


Gamification

I’ve spent a lot of time studying the gaming industry over the last year, but more intently the social gaming arena.   There are almost 30,000 apps on Facebook, with a good deal of them centered around gaming.  A few brands have taken advantage of this by either advertising with in a Game to build brand awareness.  An example of this some movies tie an advertising campaign to the release date of a movie.  Kong Fu Panda did this on Cityville.  Some other hold sweepstakes, just as Carnaval Cruise Lines “Where Have You Been Sweepstakes”. Yet others like Fedex launched a trivia game as a stand alone site for their Fedex Cup Sweepstakes Promotion, but had tie ins with mutipul social media networks.  So will advertising trends continue toward gamification and is there an easy way to get in on the trend?

First off, What is Gamification, and why should you care? Gamification is the integration of Game Mechanics in non-game environments to increase audience engagement, loyalty and fun.

I/We have built systems from scratch in the past. These have been pretty labour intensive endeavors.  It is always more fun for the geek in me to build things from scratch, but budgets and timing do not always allow for it.   I decided to take a look at what “Out of The Box” systems might already be out there.

 

With the recent buzz with social media I was not surprised I found a number of companies out there building systems for this, and I found a lot of problems with most of them.  They are all over the place in terms of their capabilities.  Some are really well thought out packages.  There are a couple that were so bad I will not even mention them.  I think the low barriers to entry are creating a very fragmented market, and some of these companies are just rushing to get something, anything out the door.

In my view a good “Out of The Box” system should have the following attributes:

  • Challenges Trophies Badges Achievements: give people missions to accomplish and then reward them for doing so
  • Points: people love to earn them and to achieve them
  • Levels: hitting a milestone, a stage of accomplishment
  • Leaderboards: how is a user doing against his friends and everybody else
  • Virtual Goods: gives users a place to spend their hard earned points
  • Groups: join one or more groups to collaborate and compete
  • Competitions: enable your users to challenge each other to get the high score at some activity
  • Notifications: message your users in real-time, in the browser, in response to their actions on your site
  • Social Media Integration: being able to tie your effort into other social media platforms, example if you are running your promotion on Facebook, allowing the users to seamlessly post to twitter.
  • Comments: enable your users to leave comments for each other
  • Friends: track your users friend relationships, including managing invites & accepts,
  • News Feeds: Surface and cross-promote all the content and activity on your website

Other nice to haves would be:

  • Virtual Goods: The ability for users to use credits for purchase of virtual goods
  • Toolbars:  Not sure if people will use this or not.  My feeling is a small percentage may.

I am not about to write a comprehensive review on every single company.  I decided there are 4 companies I should mention.  Instead of writing a lengthy review of each I came up with a simple Rating system

E: Exceeds the expectation I would have for an out of box solution.

M: Meets a good number of needs and could work depending on use

F: I have no idea what they are even trying to sell

Bunchball.com Nitro Platform

Rating: E

This is the most comprehensive package I found out there.  I believe it actually does more then I would expect out of a package…

BigDoor

Rating: E

Again, a very comprehensive package.  I think you would need to tailor game play a little around the systems capabilities.

Badgeville

Rating: M

Pretty good comprehensive package and gives good examples of industry usage.   I thought it just missed a couple of key features I would want to see, but all in all a good system

Iactionable 

Rating F

Really hard to tell what they are offering and what you actually will get.  I believe they say the system is more flexible then others, I just think it is only half defined which means more time and money to impliment.

 

I’m sure others will know more systems out there then I have taken a look at.  Let me know.


SOPA – and Road Runner Going Down.

I wonder if my Internet Connection going out for 6 hours today had anything to do with all the blackouts on the internet today…  Makes me wonder.  No word yet from Time Warner why it happened either.