Digital Marketing and Its Impact on Small Time Game and Mobile Application Developers

Stephen DiMarco has hit a very valid point in his post about how online marketing needs to start to assess some of the more qualitative side of marketing in terms of a brand rather than just Google Analytics or PPC, etc. In a world that’s primarily driven by unique page views, PPC campaign numbers, CTR rates, and other hard facts, it’s an interesting thought. As a gaming company, we offer post-marketing services which includes this marketing and it’s driven by numbers. We’ve yet to see how this affects us a brand, and Stephen’s got us thinking.

There are a whole slew of developers that are online at the App Store, but there’s an inherent problem with trusting a single developer. Many developers have delivered a product that’s a stand-alone app that is basically a flash-in-the-pan while others have consistently turned out mediocre but reliable apps. Who do you trust; the company that turns out one stellar app after a long hiatus or a developer that just needs some new direction or energy in their creative processes? There’s no real concept of a brand, there’s no Unilever or P&G for the App Store and therein lies the problem for marketers for iPhone development.

Although many people would argue that apps are products that have a repeat purchase cycle, etc, there’s yet to be a single developer that’s built a very successful brand using just their apps. People view apps like a utility and look to promote them as such. Very rarely does anyone ever hear about the developer but rather the app itself. This is a problem in an industry where the first firm to truly brand itself will gain a massive first-mover advantage. Indeed it will be difficult, but if a firm is able to do so, they’d easily take over the App Store.

The problem, to a certain extent, lies in the tools that are geared towards quantitative metrics rather than qualitative metrics. For example, Twitter following dictates whether you are a thought leader or follower, a PPC campaign shows how well SEO or ad placement is working. Yes, they do provide numbers which can help translate into potential leads, but there’s no concept of a brand.

Resultantly, firms are looking to use their marketing dollars to build a brand. For us, as game developers, there’s an added challenge. Although it may be easy to build one stellar app and continue to tweak it over time, such an effort doesn’t build a brand in the long run. At this point, firms need to realize how their marketing channels are being used besides the metrics they provide. Do you use your Twitter account to talk with customers? What type of a Twitter following do you have? Does your website show how committed you are to your vision? These questions begin to emphasize how qualitative metrics become important. It’s great having numbers, but as companies grow there’s a need to build a relationship with customers outside of the traditional client-vendor concept.

For example, in the case of gaming studios, a loyal group of customers translates into many benefits. Beta testers are easily found from your Twitter following or customers that have written great reviews for your titles. Ultimately these are the people that will promote you for free. They don’t show up in the metrics, you find them by talking to them. This is a brand building activity that many firms ignore. Again, for small startups it’s difficult to find the right people, but most of the time they’re hiding right under your radar. Yet many firms ignore the potential of these testers and continue to push out apps without sufficient testing. There’s no reason when there’s a small group of dedicated followers that you need to deliver a game without proper testing. These people will be the life line for your game as you need the critical honest feedback about gameplay, controls, graphics, user interfaces, etc. Without these people, you’d never get the proper feedback which helps develop a truly outstanding title.

Nonetheless, many firms do use these techniques but need to realize that there’s a brand to be built using these types of activities. Reward your beta-testers with promo codes for free games so that they spread the word about you, their recommendation to other gamers will go a long way in making your company stand out amongst the army of developers on the App Store. As mentioned by Stephen, there’s a need to change from the quantitative towards the qualitative side of marketing to build brands similar to IBM, Apple, or Microsoft for app development companies. Firms need to get away from the purely numerical side of marketing and start to see where they want to be in 10 years time.

Samsung Galaxy S – Films and Games and More, Oh My!

Samsung has unleashed all it has to challenge the iPhone with the Samsung Galaxy S, and after a hopeful update of Android to the 2.2 operating system, it is easily one of the smartest of smart phones. The new version of Android will give the phone a great bump in class with smother internet browsing and enhanced navigation. It will also provide the Galaxy S a better done pinch and zoom function, allowing even those with the worst of eyesight to read every word on the handset’s massive four inch screen.

The updated Google maps with location navigation will help in refreshing directions from exact locations, due to the internal GPS, and the new version of Flash will help those improved colours to look even more vivid. Not only will the internet and apps look good, but work shot on the HD camera will feel a little more HD when the playback feature is used. Speaking of films, Samsung is rolling out a movies and games package for new users of the Galaxy S that is sure to impress.

Samsung is giving away a bundle worth over £50 and offers at least six games and three movies through their Gameloft and Samsung Movies apps, which give access to thousands of hit movie and game titles. The offer is to run through March 31stand will need to be redeemed by the 30thof April by registering the phone with the original receipt for your pay monthly phone.

Beyond the new media package, there are still the same great features to the Samsung Galaxy S that has made it one of the pinnacle smart phones. The five megapixel camera provides incredible pictures from a mobile phone, coping greatly with poor lighting situations even without a built in flash. The music player provides great sound and new music just a finger tap away with 3G connectivity to download all of the classics. And the battery handles all of the multi-media-ing very well with a using time of up to 6.3 hours and a standby time of 24 hours.

All Your Favourite Car Games, and New Ones, Too

Satisfy your need for speed playing all your favourite car racing games in a virtual environment.

Devoted gamers believe that Steve Jobs invented the computer mouse so that computerized car racing games would become both easier and more exciting. Once the mouse empowered a user to turn the cursor at oblique angles and trace curves, the horizons of virtual car racing stretched all the way out to the end of the infinite…and beyond. Simple as they are, car racing games remain among the most popular both on the internet and on handheld wireless applications. Those same devoted gamers believe Steve Jobs invented the iPhone’s motion sensor strictly for the sake of improving car racing apps.

You probably know that car games are deceptively simple: Follow the race course going as fast as you possibly can. How hard can that be? You’ve been following the same basic principles since you played car racing games on your old Commodore 64 system. Except that now, with the advent of 3D and a few other high-tech complications, game developers can bank the turns, create more dramatic spin-outs, and make the steering both more demanding and more precise.

Build your skills with “Dune Buggy.”
You may have been the Jimmie Johnson of your game console circuit, but playing car games with your computer requires adapting your skills; instead of a joy stick and a couple of buttons, you have your mouse or touchpad, your arrow keys, and your space bar. Online car games require their own unique set of skills and multi-tasks. Expect to crash spectacularly and burn in great balls of fire your first few times around the track. Of course, everybody knows “the fails” are as much fun as the great races.

Try “Dune Buggy,” one of the most popular entry-level car games at the internet’s most popular virtual arcades. “Dune Buggy” teaches you to move with the arrow keys and jump with the space bar, challenging you to navigate over, under, around, and through a variety of jumps, dips, and obstacles as you make your way through an off-road race course. Purely a game of speed and dexterity, “Dune Buggy” gets you in shape for more sophisticated car games, and you will know you are prepared for greater challenges when the trustworthy old buggy grows tiresome.

Advance to “FMX Team.”

Okay, strictly speaking, it is not a “car” game, but it counts among the leaders in the larger genre of driving games. FMX Team tests just how well you can manoeuvre those arrow keys and the space bar as you take your motorcycle through a series of tricky motorcycle stunts. The screen shows you the dirt track; a box in the screen’s upper left corner shows your stunts. You may choose among three different bikes, each equipped for different performance characteristics. As you get more comfortable with the game, you naturally will select the bike best suited to your style and level. FMX Team takes you through fifteen progressively more difficult levels; and, by the time you reach level 15, your fingers will fly around your keys so fast your friends will see just a flesh-tone blur.