This guy really wants his game to do well. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
SAN FRANCISCO — After his best friend deemed it impossible to make a fun game using the oversaturated staples of mobile gaming — match three, tower defense and zombies — indie developer Jake Sones made a bet.
Now Sones and his three-person team at Shovelware Games are ready to win that bet with upcoming game Zombie Match Defense, which makes players defend a row of scientists against an attacking horde of zombies by matching three or more brains of the same type. It’s as if Plants vs. Zombies and Candy Crush had a goofy baby and invaded your iPad.
Who (and what) will make it across Crossy Road? Photo: Hipster Whale
SAN FRANCISCO — Crossy Road developers Andy Sum and Matt Hall never set out to rake in a pile of cash. They did, however, want to create a popular game.
“We wanted to make the next Flappy Bird,” said Sum at the duo’s Game Developers Conference session here Tuesday.
“But our goal wasn’t to make money,” added Hall.
And yet make money they did. While Crossy Road hasn’t hit Flappy Bird levels of success (or notoriety), it pulled in 50 million downloads — on iOS, Android and Amazon — during the game’s first 90 days. It also generated $10 million for Hipster Whale, Sum and Hall’s development company.
Not bad for a game that was originally named Roadkill Simulator 2014.
If the sheer volume of tower defense games on the App Store is any indication, people (and developers) love them. Defending your base against endless hordes of creeps is a wonderful way to spend some gaming time on your portable device; they’re not super twitch-dependent, and they definitely encourage the zen-like focus a lot of us enjoy when playing games.
Add a hot property like Star Wars to the mix, and you’ve got a game full of potential. Rebels and Stormtroopers in a tower defense game? Sign me up!
This is, however, a Mobage/DeNA free-to-play joint, so it’s hard to tell exactly whether it will be a compelling bit of playtime, or just another way to spam your friends with social media requests. The pre-release sign up allows you to earn some points to be used in-game already; this does not bode well, even with a Star Wars branding.
That said, I’m still pretty excited about playing this game. Check out the developer diary below to see if you’re just as excited.
Robert Topala created current App Store champ Geometry Dash on his MacBook Pro. Photo: Robert Topala
Back in August, a new game arrived in the iOS App Store and almost immediately vanished without a trace.
“I received a few great reviews from news sites, but not enough to have an impact,” says Robert Topala, founder of RobTop Games and developer of the disappearing game. “Since I had no marketing budget it quickly dropped in rankings after release.”
For most games that would have been it. And if the story stopped there, it wouldn’t have been a tale of total failure: Topala wasn’t a professional coder, and had only been making mobile games for a couple years at the time. Simply finishing a game, getting it in the App Store and picking up a few accolades would have been nice enough.
Games make up more than 65 percent of downloads in the App Store and Google Play, and a whopping 90 percent of mobile gaming revenue is generated by a freemium business model, according to Bertrand Schmitt, CEO of App Annie.
These are just two of the insights that came from a trends panel at the Game Developers Conference last month in San Francisco. The panel also included folks from gaming engine Unity and publisher/developer Pocket Gems.
Developer Crytek, known for top-shelf console and PC games like Far Cry and Crysis, is coming to the mobile space with its first free-to-play game for Android and iOS, The Collectables. The game is published by mobile powerhouse DeNA, using its Mobage mobile games platform which allows the game to release on multiple mobile devices and systems.
The game is coming soon for free on Google Play and the iTunes App Store, and it’s based on Crytek’s proprietary CryEngine graphics technology, bringing a new level of visual performance to the mobile gaming space. The Collectables has both tactical and action-based mechanics, letting you lead a squad of unlikely heroes on missions around the globe.
Finnish developer and all-around success story Rovio Entertainment announced Monday a new cross-over collaboration with Korean-based GungHo Entertainment, the makers of the almost as highly successful match-three mobile game, Puzzles and Dragons.
The pissed-off avians will show up in the popular role-playing/color matching mashup as an Angry Birds-themed dungeon from November 18 through December 1 of this year. You’ll get to challenge the Angry Birds as enemies in the dungeon, in contrast to their hero role in the Rovio-produced titles.