Yahoo! acquires video creation and sharing app Qwiki

Qwiki Acquisition-1

With Yahoo’s acquisition of Tumblr officially finalized on June 20, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer isn’t allowing the company to sit idle. In fact, its latest purchase has been announced this week, as Yahoo has acquired mobile picture and video sharing service Qwiki.

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Yahoo! acquires fantasy sport app developer Bignoggins

Yahoo-Acquires-Another-Mobile-App-Developer

Yahoo has been on a shopping spree since its purchase of Tumblr on June 20th.  Yahoo purchased the one-man start-up Bignoggins Productions on Monday to strengthen its own fantasy sports apps offerings.

Bignoggins has developed popular paid fantasy sports apps such as Fantasy Monster and Draft Monster. While Yahoo will not continue distributing these applications, it will integrate these apps technologies into its own fantasy sports applications.

Bignoggins founder, Jerry Shen, will be joining Yahoo’s mobile engineering team. He has also announced they have planned on hiring new talent through his blog.

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Automattic acquires Poster, iOS WordPress client

Screen Shot 2013-06-17 at 10.17.57 AM

WordPress parent company, Automattic, has acquired Poster, a WordPress client for iOS, in an acqui-hire. Automattic is not purchasing the Poster product, but will welcome Poster developer, Tom Witkin to its mobile team.

The deal will remove Poster for purchase in the app store, but Witkin will continue to support the app while he joins the Automattic mobile team to assist in improving its mobile applications.

The acquisition makes a lot of sense for Automattic. Poster is a much more robust and feature-rich WordPress client than the company’s own. With Witkin’s assistance, it is likely much of the features available in Poster will be added to the official client.

Google closes on deal for Waze

Waze logoGoogle has acquired crowd-sourced mapping application, Waze, as announced from the company’s official blog.

It was long rumored that both Facebook and Apple have shown interest in acquiring the Israel based startup, but have been beat out by Google. While acquisition price is still up in the air, it has been speculated at 1 billion to 1.3 billion dollars.

The Waze product development team will still operate separately in Israel for the time being and plans on using each mapping application complementary to each other. Google also plans on focusing on the Waze community who is seen as the “DNA of [the] app”.

“The Waze community and its dedicated team have created a great source of timely road corrections and updates,” said Google’s Brian McClendon, Vice President of Geo, in a statement. ”We welcome them to Google and look forward to working with them in our ongoing effort to make a comprehensive, accurate and useful map of the world.”

According to AppData, Waze is currently the #2 of top free navigation app for iOS. With Google Maps” at number one of top free navigation apps, Google has taken a significant stronghold of the navigation app landscape.

Exclusive: HitFox’s AppLift raises $13M from Prime Ventures

HitFox head logoHitFox today announced that its mobile game marketing platform AppLift raised $13 million from venture capital and growth equity firm Prime Ventures. This is AppLift’s second round of funding, after recieving its first round of funding from HitFox, an incubator focused on investing and acquiring game distribtuion and user acquisition startups.

AppLift co-founder and U.S. general manager Hanno Fichtner told Inside Mobile Apps that AppLift is generating more than one million installs per game a month for their top publishing partners. He adds that one game in the top three on the top grossing apps chart from a particular publisher, which wasn’t named, is receiving the most installs from AppLift, even more than from Facebook or Google referrals. When we last heard about install figures from AppLift, the service was driving 10,000 installs per game a day, which is approximately 300,000 a month. (more…)

Guest Post: The secrets to Blood Brothers’ success

Editor’s note: DeNA’s Japanese RPG card battler has been a hit for the mobile-social gaming juggernaut since release. As Inside Mobile Apps previously reported, Blood Brothers’ events feature is wildly successful for the game. In a third guest post from Kevin Oke, lead designer at both Adrian Crook & Associates, a social-mobile game design consultancy, and PlayRank, a second screen startup, he analyzes the successful components of Blood Brothers from an outsider’s perspective. He previously wrote guest posts for Inside Mobile Apps which analyzed Supercell’s Clash of Clans and NimbeBit’s Nimbe Quest.

DeNA Mobage’s Blood Brothers for iOS and Android recently celebrated its one year anniversary, and is continuing to monetize very well, with an ARPU that has grown every month since release. With this milestone in mind, now seems like a good time to take a dive into the game and highlight some of the things this collectible card game (CCG) does well.

Although it’s certainly firmly rooted in the conventions of the CCG genre (“hands-off” battles, card fusion, gacha) Blood Brothers does add its own touches of innovation, as explained below.

Blood Brothers PvP battle surfacingPvP

Blood Brothers excels at player vs. player (PvP) on a number of levels, one being surfacing. Good surfacing ensures that players are not only made aware of key AEM (Acquisition, Engagement, Monetization) features and the benefits they stand to gain by using them, but also pushed towards these behaviors via smart timing and offering incentives. This is generally done through contextual dialog boxes and limited time promotions.

As PvP gameplay is traditionally a strong source of retention and monetization, it’s especially important to do surfacing well. Blood Brothers keeps PvP at the forefront of the player’s mind with random PvP battles while the player is progressing through a level. These random battles are effective in several ways:

  • Surfacing of PvP gameplay to get the player interested in it and strengthen its ability to help monetize and retain players.
  • Increases PvP’s effectiveness as a morale sink (morale being the rechargeable energy resource needed to engage in PvP and raid boss fights).
  • Clear, simple goals and incentives (winning streaks reward the player with items) — these suck the player in, extending sessions and draining the player of their morale as they attempt to extend their win streak to hit the next reward.

Although conceptually not unique to Blood Brothers, the inclusion of “all-out attacks” (more effective than regular attacks but three-times more costly in terms of morale) and high level raid bosses that are susceptible to them further help to keep morale a precious resource and make a micro-transaction refill more tempting.

Lastly, compared to the confusing and convoluted user experience (UX) that precludes getting into a PvP match in Rage of Bahamut, there is little such friction in Blood Brothers. Opponent selection filtering options are eliminated in favor of pre-determined choices, and it’s immediately clear to the player what’s at stake with rewards, and how their deck stacks up against their potential opponents. (more…)

Medio launches K-Invite, helps developers acquire users through word of mouth

Medio logoApp analytics startup Medio recently launched K-Invite, a new service designed to help mobile game and mobile app developers acquire more users.

Essentially, the Seattle-based company’s K-Invite allows developers to harness the viral power of word of mouth, and be able to track the performance of word of mouth marketing as well. With user acquisition costs higher than ever due to the fierce competition in mobile and openness of the platform, app developers are constantly seeking to find new and creative ways to acquire quality users on the cheap. Many developers promote their apps through ad networks, cross-promotion services, and even Facebook mobile app install ads, but what has shown to be an important user acquisition channel is word of mouth, a user showing another user an app or telling them about it. But tracking this user acquisition vehicle has been difficult.

Developers can integrate K-Invite into their app, which will add a share button, allowing users to share a developer’s app with another user by a sending custom message with an app download link. The one-to-one shared message can be sent from one user to another via SMS, email, Facebook and Twitter. Developers can incentivize users for sending a message to another user by offering in-app rewards. (more…)

‘HBO of mobile games’ Scopely sees more than 10M downloads for Mini Golf Matchup in 1 month

scopely-logoGame studio Rocket Jump revealed that Mini Golf Matchup had reached the 10 million downloads mark in its first month of release.

Mini Golf Matchup, which launched at the beginning of March, grabbed the No. 1 spot on the top free iPhone apps chart in 28 countries eight hours after it hit the Apple App Store. In the first seven days, the game had 135,000 four and a half star average reviews, which was the most that any game ever received in that time span, says Scopely co-founder and CEO Walter Driver. A huge factor in the early success can be attributed to Los Angeles-based Scopely. Mini Golf Matchup is the first game published by Scopely, which has released four games in total.

“It was a big validation of our ability to work with external teams to create large franchises,” Driver says.

Driver tells Inside Mobile Apps that he doesn’t see his company, which has 55 employees, as a game studio, but rather an interactive content company for smartphones and tablets.Mini Golf Matchup screenshot

“We started Scopely to be the first mobile-first interactive entertainment network, he says. “We see ourselves as being able to build the first network like a TV network. Like Fox doesn’t create all of its own content. It has both internal studios and external studios and are able to systematically determine what content people want to consume and be able to broadcast that to a large audience and be able to bring premium advertising to the table around that content on a regular basis.”

Driver says Scopely is trying to build an increasingly larger audience with each game it launches. He then describes Scopely as “the HBO of mobile games.” (more…)

Burstly restructures company and opens SkyRocket to all mobile developers

SkyRocket logoApp monetization platform Burstly today announced that it has restructured the company into an end-to-end mobile app development solution for developers. Now Burstly, which was founded in 2009, will be offering its app testing platform TestFlight, app analytics tool FlightPath and app monetization service SkyRocket (formally the Burstly monetization platform) to all developers, not just for some of the largest apps in the world.

“For the first time, we are our opening up our monetization platform to all mobile developers and publishers through the launch of SkyRocket,” said Evan Rifkin, CEO of Burstly, in a statement. “With Burstly, developers now have the option of using a full suite of integrated services which are incredibly powerful when mixed together, or the flexibility to use each service on its own.”

With the opening of its products to all developers, the Santa Monica, Calif.-headquartered company, which is used by some of the top mobile publishers including Electronic Arts, Rovio, Zynga, and more, will be allowing developers to now create custom segments of users in FlightPath and then using those segments to create different monetization experiences in SkyRocket. For example, developers can choose to not display ads to valuable users, or apologize to users which have experience an app crash by giving away virtual currency in a game. Burstly is now becoming a service that can possibly compete on a level with the likes of Tapjoy, PlayHaven, Millennial Media and more.

Before today’s announcement, Burstly was last making news when it opened its TestFlight for Android private beta to all users, and in just 45 days of closed beta, 5,000 developers uploaded 4,500 apps which have seen more than 50,000 downloads. Burstly also recently announced the private beta launch of FlightPath, its mobile analytics service for mobile app developers, featuring real-time data that can be customized and segmented to the developer’s liking.

Google discloses how search for Google Play works for the first time; 12 percent of DAU search for apps daily

google-play-logoAt Google I/O today in San Francisco, head of search and discovery for Google Play Ankit Jain detailed how developers can get their apps discovered through search and other mechanisms on the Google Play app store.

“We’ve never discussed our search for Google Play until today,” Jain said.

Jain first explained major install sources for apps including browsing discovery features and search queries. Some browsing discovery features were charts (Editors’ picks, top free apps, etc.), personalized recommendations (a feature announced at Google I/O 2012), and related/cross-sell (“users also viewed” and “users also installed”). Jain then detailed two kinds of search queries — categorical and navigational. Categorical queries are broad search terms such as “free games,” “train schedules,” and “multiplayer games,” while navigational queries are exact search terms like “Angry Birds,” Hotel Tonight,” and “Beautylish.”

“For the average app, search actually makes up the vast majority of installs,” he added.

To follow up his statement, Jain reveals some Google Play search data for the first time. He said 12 percent of daily active users (DAU) search for apps daily, 50 percent of DAU search for apps weekly and Google sees six million unique phrases searched monthly. (more…)

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