Image via Game Insight
Earlier this year, casual game developer and publisher Game Insight launched Road 404‘s Sunshine Bay on Facebook, a tropical city-builder that challenges players with creating a lush beach resort while building its economy through the use of shipping routes to outside locations.
While the game is still in its soft-launch, it’s already found plenty of success on Facebook. According to our app tracking service AppData, the game has climbed to over 1.3 million monthly active players. That’s a huge increase over the 562,000 monthly active players the game had when we first previewed it back in September.
We had a chance to chat with Road 404 Studio Lead Max Donskikh about Sunshine Bay, and how Game Insight plans to use its experience with other similar games, like Airport City and Sky Adventures, to continue Sunshine Bay’s growth on the platform.
GREE and Marvel Entertainment have released the first details concerning X-Men: Battle of the Atom, an upcoming mobile card battle game on iOS and Android. The game has been developed as part of the X-Men 50th anniversary celebration, and it will be released alongside the Battle of the Atom comic book event later this fall.
X-Men: Battle of the Atom will feature both single and multiplayer card battles, as players collect a variety of mutants from X-Men’s past, present and future, and battle villains, including some that may never have been seen before.
Image courtesy GungHo
Puzzle & Dragons developer GungHo Online Entertainment released its latest game, Freak Tower, just a few days ago. The iOS and Android release allows players to build and manage their own tower full of freaks, assigning them to live in apartments, take up jobs, and sell goods to customers. Along the way, towers are attacked by monsters, bringing tower defense play to the equation, as players and freaks alike must partner to defeat monsters before they reach the top of the tower.
The game is similar in many ways to other tower-building mobile games, including Nimblebit’s Tiny Tower. We had a chance to chat with GungHo’s Yoshiaki Seo, Assistant Manager on Freak Tower, to learn more about the game’s development, and what makes it stand out from the crowd.
Hungry Moose Games has launched its first app on Android, a side-scrolling platformer called 9 Lives: Casey and Sphynx, which combines puzzles and cooperative play into a whimsical new experience.
The game follows museum guard Casey and a temple cat named Sphynx through a gameplay setup that encourages dying in strategic ways to progress. 9 Lives features four large levels, along with a Jewel system for upgrades to each character’s abilities. Casey can be upgraded with crowbars and flares to reach otherwise inaccessible areas, for instance, while Sphynx can be upgraded to cling to ceilings and walls.
Throughout it all, players can use Green Throttle’s Atlas Controller for console-style play on the TV, but each control scheme leads to the same overall goal: to collect enough pieces of the broken relic of Bestet before our heroes’ luck, and lives, run out.
We had a chance to chat with Ric Williams, Co-Founder and President of Hungry Moose Games, a team comprised of ex-Bioware developers. Williams shed some light on the game’s design, and when users can expect the game to branch out to iOS.
After a successful launch in open beta in late June, nWay’s ChronoBlade has introduced dark beat-em-up gameplay to Facebook. Developed by the minds behind Diablo, Grand Theft Auto and more, ChronoBlade has been created as a cross-platform action RPG for Facebook, iOS, Android, Smart TVs and even Ouya.
We had a chance to go hands-on with the unfinished version of ChronoBlade last September, and we recently caught up with nWay’s CEO Taehoon Kim to see what’s changed since then.
Editor’s note: During the upcoming Inside Social Games Conference on June 6-7, Bret Terrill, the Founder of 12gigs.com, will be moderating two panels on the future of social apps, “Gambling Games: The Promise of Real Money,” and “Platform Opportunities for Social Apps.” InsideSocialGames.com had the opportunity to ask Bret two important questions on the future of social and mobile games.
InsideSocialGames: Is it possible to build a cross-platform gaming network? Is this something the world wants?
Bret Terrill: A cross-platform gaming network is something that a lot of people were chasing last year as the next big thing. The idea was: Similar to Facebook owning the social graph, a company could own the “gamer graph”, connecting people who liked certain genres across platforms and games. As it stands today, Facebook is really the only company that has been successful in creating a cross-platform (PC and multiple mobile environments) gaming network , one that has largely fed off their immense social network.
Other large games companies, such as DeNA and Gree, have had success in the Japanese market, but they have moved toward a publisher model in the last year. It is an open question on whether Clash of Clans players care about what other games the people they “friend” within the game are playing. I suspect the gameing industry itself cares much more than the players, who are more interested to see what is in the top charts of their phone’s App Store.
Today’s Q&A is with Barcelona-based mobile-social game developer Social Point.
Inside Mobile Apps: Could you talk about the importance of nailing cross-platform gameplay such as allowing users to pick up and play where they left off on either platform?
Andrés Bou, Social Point co-founder and co-CEO (pictured left with co-founder and co-CEO Horacio Martos): Offering a full cross-platform experience has been a core strategy of Social Point this year. With access through both Facebook and mobile, our users are able to play the same game wherever they are, without missing a beat. Dragon City players can now enjoy the game from their phones, when they are commuting to work, at their offices or back home on their tablets, curled up on the sofa.
From a business point of view, giving users the opportunity to play on multiple platforms increases their time spent in the game and the likelihood that they come back every day. Retention (and proportionally monetization) increases significantly.
Additionally, we value the social component that Facebook integration offers because it’s closely linked to our company’s philosophy.
Read the complete interview on our sister site, Inside Mobile Apps.
Paris-based social game developer Pretty Simple’s been catapulted into the public spotlight after launching its macabre hidden object game Criminal Case in November 2012. Over the past five months the game’s seen a meteoric rise in traffic, jumping into the top 10 Facebook games by daily active users. We got a chance to sit down with co-founder Corentin Raux to talk about the studio’s small beginnings and massive success.
The company was founded by Raux and Bastien Cazenave in January 2010. For its first title, the studio created My Shops with only five people; within six months of launch the game hit 300,000 DAU and Facebook still reports it has more than one million monthly active users. However, Raux tells us, “we decided to move onto something bigger.”
Raux says that creating a game like Criminal Case was actually a planned project even before the studio was formed. After receiving a $2.5 million investment from ID Invest Partners in 2011, Pretty Simple began to seriously work on the new game; approximately a year and a half later, the game was ready to launch. When asked what took the studio so long to develop the game, Raux explains, “the game is quite complicated to do. There is a lot of high-quality content and we had to recruit a team of very talented people and create a new type of game with a rich storyline and minigames.
“We really like to think the game is a game of investigation instead of just a standard hidden object game. The content isn’t something trivial to come up with. It’s coherent and elegant. It took us a year and a half to come up with the recipe.” (more…)
Social mobile developer PlayFirst is continuing to see a rise in user numbers and revenue for its core “Dash” games, something of a rarity in an industry where dwindling players result in titles being removed from the App Store less than a year after they launch. PlayFirst VP of Marketing and Product Management Becky Ann Hughes tells us the company’s user base is continuing to see impressive growth due to the regular updates it provides to its games, especially seasonal content.
Hughes tells us PlayFirst has refocused itself to treat games as a service. “Every department is focused on games as a service development,” she says. “If we don’t update our games every two weeks, it affects our population. There’s a noticeable drop off in players.”
A recent example she provides is how in Diner Dash recently rolled out St. Patrick’s Day themed content including unique serving settings, recipes and themes. The themed content led to the game’s number of daily active users increasing by approximately 30 percent. The big draw, Hughes tells us, was simply that “it was new content people hadn’t played before.”
“In the past, PlayFirst has been a product-focused model,” Hughes says. “Now we’re using a retail-focused model.” (more…)
Canadian game developer Kano/Apps recently released its new mid-core strategy game Kingdom of Thrones on Facebook. We recently sat down with Kano/Apps Co-Founder Tim Teh to chat about the new game and how the studio managed to attain (and maintain) profitability.
Kingdom of Thrones is a notably different game from those previously developed by Kano/Apps. Prior to this point, the company had found success with its text heavy RPGs Viking Clan, Pirate Clan, Zombie Slayer and Mob Wars: La Cosa Nostra. Kano Apps was founded in 2008, and managed to bootstrap itself into profitability during the same year with these kinds of games.
Teh tells us it was much easier to grow a hit without spending a lot of cash on user acquisition at the time. ”The popular game at the time was Mob Wars. It was this game that popped up and made people notice there was a viable industry there,” he notes. ”All the viral channels were really open and not clamped down at all. So we were able to grow and become profitable within the first year.” (more…)