- Appy titles have exceeded 10 million iOS downloads
- More than 114 million sessions of Appy games have been played, representing over 3.6 million hours of play time
- Sixty million FaceFighter bouts have been fought, with 1.5 million pictures of defeated friends, enemies, and celebrities uploaded to the company’s servers
- Since its release last November 2010, Trucks & Skulls has been Appy’s fastest-selling franchise, with more than 1.5 million downloads
- Downloads are up 340 percent in the 12 weeks since Appy began its pivot to freemium monetization with the release of Trucks & Skulls NITRO, compared to the previous twelve weeks
- Revenue has surged 100 percent in the last twelve weeks
- Appy’s games are currently downloaded more than 20,000 times a day
- Half million iPhone owners with Game Center accounts have played at least one game of Trucks & Skulls
- FaceFighter Gold, the Android version of FaceFighter, was downloaded 650 thousand times by Android users
Appy has adopted a freemium model and has had huge success. What advice would you give to another developer looking to take the dive into freemium?
The worldwide mobile smartphone audience is going to rapidly shift toward lower income players as devices become truly affordable. The freemium model is ideal for reaching this audience with high-quality, very polished games while still being able to monetize your work based on a volume audience. As Tom Waits once said, “How do we do it? Volume!”
Creating engaging experiences that take advantage of valuable virtual purchases is a real challenge. For example, it’s key to avoid ruining the experience for non-buyers. Our advice to anyone making games for a mass audience is: put your players first and concentrate on providing a terrific experience, then measure what is working and what isn’t religiously. Paying attention to metrics can make or break your game – not to mention long-term revenue.
As an independent developer of mobile games what are the biggest challenges you have had to face?
Discovery and monetization are the two biggest challenges that we face. Being able to give your games a fighting chance amongst 450,000 apps is tough. The scale of the mobile marketplace is nothing short of daunting; the numbers are immense and the amount of compensation per user is relatively small (compared to the package goods business). You really need to re-think your entire approach if you want to succeed.
What trends do you see most impacting the market in 2012?
Apple is going to steal the momentum in 2012 with new products and the iPhone 4S, a more affordable option than the iPhone 5 we are all lusting for. We expect that there will be another 120 to 150M total iOS devices sold this year and both new iPhones and iPads are poised to generate big download volume for apps. Lastly, we expect that Android will continue to grow as a platform, further dominating the middle and low-end share of the market while driving the entire smartphone industry into an inflection point in North America — where more than 50 percent of the cell phone audience will upgrade to an Android or iPhone-class device.
We’ve been predicting the move to “smart App TV’s” connecting to the mobile ecosystem for two years and I think 2012 will be the year where Apple debuts their all-in-one solution. We can’t wait to make Social-Mobile-Living Room games!
How does your market break out geographically? Can you provide some insight into the regional component of your business? Do you have many Asian clients, for example?
We are paying close attention to China as a potentially huge market for mobile games. As China Mobile and China Telecom come online for the iPhone, we expect the country to become our first or second biggest market by the end of the year in download numbers and gross revenue. Right now, our sales are evenly distributed between North America, Europe and Asia but we have surprising strength in North Africa and Russia as well.
Your team comes from core console game development at High Moon. In Japan right now many console developers making the switch to social mobile. Do you see yourselves moving into a social mobile strategy?
We are definitely moving into a “social-mobile” freemium strategy – but with an “Appy Twist”: our ultimate goal in starting Appy was to make our players happy, to make them laugh out loud and celebrate the relentless pursuit of stupid fun whenever they go. If we continue to make our players’ happy, everything else will fall into place. This means that we don’t want to trick them into buying virtual goods, or bamboozle them with things they hate or overwhelm them with options they don’t understand. Appy exists solely because our players want us in their lives; we devote a few minutes every day to that very thought.