Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Game Developers Can Make Toys, Too

A software toy, it draws millions of downloads.
The definition of a game has been broadening in recent years, and with it, the different ways for a developer to make money. Here's an interesting variation... an app that its creators call a toy, not a game. It's the Talking Friends series of apps, by Outfit7, and they have been enormously popular (millions of downloads). Basically, you speak and the character repeats your words. Pretty simple, but good enough for 72 million downloads so far.

The apps have some interesting social aspects, such as letting you upload clips to YouTube. Of course, some of them are free, which is part of why they are so popular, but Outfit7 also charges 99 cents for some of them. They expect 100 million downloads this year... and it doesn't take too many of those at 99 cents to add up to a lot of money. These apps are on iOS, Android, and iPad, and they will be expanding the lineup to include other devices, I'm sure.

The key thing here is that any game developer can build something like this if they can build an iPhone app. No, it's not a game, but you can have a lot of fun with it. Game developers should be widening their horizons to think of other types of apps they can build that would have a low investment and a high return. App toys are an interesting idea, which can even build off of other IP you create as a game developer. There are many ways you may be able to leverage that artwork and animation you create, to increase your brand awareness and generate some revenue.

The app market means a whole different approach to game development and marketing... and maybe making some things that aren't games.

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