Electronic Arts has announced its biggest update ever for The Simpsons: Tapped Out, bringing a massive holiday event to gamers on smartphones and tablets. From now until January 7, players will be able to collect presents from friends and give some of their own, as they complete over 50 quests and unlock a variety of new buildings, costumes and characters.
Austin-based game developer Team Chaos has released its own take on match-three puzzle games in Dragon Academy, which is now available to play on iOS, Android and Facebook. The game sees players taking charge of up to six powerful dragons as they complete match-three puzzle levels inspired by the likes of Bejeweled and King’s Candy Crush Saga.
The game is level-based, with each stage having a different basic requirement, like earning a specific number of points in a limited number of moves. As players make matches of four or more like symbols on the board, power-up dragon eggs appear, allowing them to clear whole rows or columns, or otherwise remove large amounts of symbols from the board when activated.
Along the way, players are introduced to the mischievous Wobblins, who have stolen the dragons’ hatchlings. Users must complete levels to save those Hatchlings, watching their dragons grow and become more powerful as they progress. Dragon Academy comes with over 150 puzzles across 13 in-game worlds, with three dragons being available as in-app purchases.
We had a chance to chat with Team Chaos Creative Director Trent Polack to learn more about Dragon Academy, and why the game’s cross-platform release was so important.
Car Town developer Cie Games has found fast success with its newest mobile game, Racing Rivals, which sped onto iOS at the end of August. The drag racing game allows players to race against live opponents around the world, unlocking licensed cars from BMW, Acura, Mitsubishi and more as they continue to compete.
Gameplay in Racing Rivals sees players tapping on the screen to shift as they make their way down a single stretch of track. Players can use their earned currency to purchase tons of upgrades for their car(s), including some in categories most other car games ignore, including connecting rods and engine headers, to name a few.
Within the first week of launch, Racing Rivals was downloaded over one million times on iOS devices. We recently had a chance to chat with Cie Games VP of Business Development Matt Nutt about Racing Rivals, how the company responded to such fast success, and why the game really stands out above the competition.
Cryptid Studios has today announced the launch of Pocket Oceans on iOS, the independent developer’s take on “Zombie Farm meets FishVille” that allows users to design and manage their own underwater habitat, breeding and selling fish to make a profit.
The RPG simulation game gives players access to a variety of tank decorations and rare and exotic fish. The more fish users breed and maintain, the more they’ll advance through the experience. If players are interested in creating more than just a peaceful aquarium, they can also spend their time defeating predator creatures, including crabs, giant walruses and more.
PlayFirst and Sony Pictures have announced the launch of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones on iOS and Google Play, a week before the launch of the film that inspired it on August 21. The action roleplaying game sees players taking on the role of a Shadowhunter, a half-angel, half-human challenged with defeating vampires, warlocks and other monsters throughout New York City.
Free-to-play gaming pioneer Pocket Gems has today announced the launch of its latest game on iOS and Android, Animal Voyage: Island Adventure. The game takes players on a quest to save animals trapped behind tall grass, trees and other obstacles, and then allows players to build a customizable refuge for those animals back at home.
Animal Voyage: Island Adventure is Pocket Gems’ first simultaneous release on iOS and Android, launching in nine languages worldwide. As players rescue bears, gorillas, leopards and more, they’ll be joined by a cute red panda as their faithful sidekick. Different animals come with different abilities, like breaking rocks or cutting down trees, so players will need as many animal friends as they can find to make the most progress.
Inside Social Apps’ speaker Ya-Bing Chu from Betable on being first to real-money gaming in the U.S., room for innovation in RMG and more
Today’s Q&A is with Ya-Bing Chu, chief product officer at Betable, a real-money gaming (RMG) platform provider. Chu will be speaking at our Inside Social Apps conference next week on the Gambling Games: The Promise of Real Money panel. Go here to register.
Inside Mobile Apps: What do you think the impact will be if more real-money games were real-time, not asynchronous, on mobile?
Ya-Bing Chu, Betable chief product officer (pictured right): The potential excitement for multiplayer synchronous games is unparalleled. Look at the amazing online massively multiplayer online experiences like World of Warcraft or Xbox Live FPS games — they’re fully immersive, social, and always entertaining. I believe real-money games can offer similar entertainment value on top of the opportunity to win money. On mobile, there are technology, device, and session length constraints that mean that it’s still an emerging market by audience size. But it’s also an underserved market, which means that it’s a great place to lead the way. If you look at the casino industry, table games are the most popular today, and I believe much of it is due to their social and synchronous fun. And by the way, the structure of this question implies an either-or winner, but I believe it’s more of an expansion of the market to meet player demand. There’s no conflict.
IMA: What’s the viability of cash tournaments for skill-based games on mobile?
Chu: It’s been a viable category on the web for some time, and it has the advantage of being legal in many states in the U.S. The question is how big can it get, and what are the right games that can get a broad audience to keep playing. To date, it has been relatively niche in terms of revenue. I don’t know that mobile will have an advantage in the near-term over web in skill-based gaming market size. (more…)
Social Point’s Andrés Bou on Dragon City’s success on mobile, sticking with the Facebook platform and plans for 2013
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. (more…)
Editor’s Note: With talk submissions for UBM Tech’s inaugural App Developers Conference (ADC) due tomorrow, Inside Mobile Apps chatted with Simon Carless about what the upcoming conference is all about. ADC focuses on the development, user interface (UI), marekting and business of apps outside of games. The emphasis away from games is ADC’s key differentiator from UBM’s other conferences like the Game Deverlopers Conference (GDC).
Inside Mobile Apps: What is the App Developers Conference and how is it different from the Game Developers Conference?
Simon Carless, UBM Tech executive vice president: From the creators of GDC, the ADC is a brand new app developer event focusing on the very best development, UI, marketing and business of apps. Whether their apps run on mobile devices or the web, whether they embrace iOS, Android, both or neither, whether they operate even further afield — we’re bringing together the very best app creators for this event and getting them to present their best practices to you.
IMA: ADC features multiple tracks in app categories such as entertainment, enterprise and health. Could you explain why these emerging and growing app categories were chosen for tracks at ADC?
Carless: We’re looking at some of the most vibrant areas of apps outside of games since game apps are covered at GDC Next, which is co-located with the show — you can get a VIP pass to both if you want to check out those! And we were super excited by some of the areas around lifestyle, entertainment, and enterprise apps — there are some surprisingly high quality apps out there, which we’re profiling on our website App Dev Stories. (more…)
New Android boss Sundar Pichai gave his first interview to Wired today, revealing Google’s future plans for its Android operating system.
In March, Andy Rubin, the creator of Android, stepped down from his position as head of Android to pursue another role within Google. Pichai, who was the senior vice president of Chrome and Apps prior, was tapped as Rubin’s replacement. Pichai told Wired that the leadership change from Rubin to himself happened a couple weeks prior to Google’s official announcement.
People speculated that the move signaled an unification of Google’s two operating systems — its Android OS and Chrome OS. Pichai, who’s been at Google since 2004, reiterated to Wired that Android and Chrome will remain separate, but didn’t rule out a change in the long run.
“The picture may look different a year or two from from now, but in the short term, we have Android and we have Chrome, and we are not changing course,” he said.
Other highlights from his interview included Pichai’s excitement for alternative Android experiences via Facebook Home and Amazon Kindle Fire, Google’s positive relationship with Samsung (Pichai owns a Galaxy S4 handset) and his backing of HTML5 for app development.
For Android specifically, Pichai said payouts to developers on Google Play quadrupled in 2012. He also said Google is looking into changing its method when it comes to updating the Android OS, which is currently highly fragmented across many Android devices.
For Google’s I/O event later this week, Pichai said the conference will focus on “all kinds of things we’re doing for developers.” Keep it right here at Inside Mobile Apps for Google I/O coverage starting Wednesday.
Developers interested in learning more about mobile app development can register for our upcoming Inside Social Apps conference June 6 to 7 in San Francisco.
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