News from redBit games

That Table Games: from a shared table to an indie game company

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Time Bomb Race has just got a new update that adds a special “far far planet” and a “moon shaped moon” tracks. While you’re having fun with the game, we would like to tell you the story behind That Table Games team, the guys that developed the latest game published by Tiny Games. Here they are in a beautiful picture.

that_table_games

Which are the ingredients to “bake” a successful indie game development team?

This is one of the unsolved questions that once in a lifetime every developer asks himself in his career.

Today we’d like to talk about a team that is working real good, without having the ambition of answering this tedious question. We introduce That Table Games, a group of 5 people, developers and designers, that we’re really attached to. They met for the first time here, at our tables. They all have different working background but a common passion: videogames!

How did they meet here without being employees of our company? Simple: redBit games’ door is always open to new indie devs that are in their first steps in the gaming industry. We offer them table, space, coffee and advice even if they don’t want to publish any game with us. That Table Games people used our office as a co-working space but, after a lunch together and a good old-fashioned chatting about console videogames, they decided to bring their forces together and start a team project.

That game, hopefully just the first of a long series, is Time Bomb Race, and the result was astonishing. The game was featured in the Apple App Store in more than 100 countries and received mostly positive reviews. Kudos!

Now it’s time to introduce you That Table Games members, from left to right in the picture above:

  • Federico Pauzano: his passions are videogames and beer (and he’s not only an expert in drinking it… he’s also a home brewer) and game developing, of course. He’s young, and he’s living his first working experience in the videogame industry with us. In the past he worked on games like Tap Galaxy and Catch The Bus.
  • Daniele Bianchini: we talked about him in another post (he reached one million users all by himself). He is an expert in this industry, talented developer that published a lot of games with Tiny Games in the past. He is like the big brother of That Table Games and the mentor: with a past as teacher in game developing and design he’s the perfect supervisor for his teammates.
  • Andrea Valesini: his nickname here in the office is “Bella Vita” that means “Beautiful Life” (you can understand alone why…), he’s a graphic designer and visual artist. He published several games with redBit and Tiny Games such as Nr.01, Into The White, Push, Nr.02. He’s absolutely a column in the temple of That Table Games.
  • Luca De Simone: high quality nerd, Pokémon addicted and Nintendo DS carrier, he is young as well and at the first working experience. He started working in redBit games for his degree thanks to a university internship opportunity. After his degree he really liked our company and decided to continue to occupy some chairs in the office. Thanks to this chair he met the other guys at “that” table, good for him!
  • Francesco Segala: he took part and won the one and only game jam we held in our offices with “Magic Carpet High Experience“: he is an expert designer of pixel-art and a wonderful visual artist. Everyone here knows him for his inseparable pencil and notebook where he sketches everything he could think of, from super heroes to Star Wars characters. Follow him on Twitter, a lot of art is awaiting you there.

Thanks to Francesco’s pencil we can show you guys this wonderful piece of art: That Table Games team in a nutshell!

thattable

As anticipated the first game of this team is a good success: it was released on 9th of November and got some good attention in the “New games we love” feature of the App Store. Now they released a new update with some new cars and tracks. Time Bomb Race is simple but yet deep game: try it, you won’t regret it.

Time Bomb Race featu

The idea was to create a game with a similar level of fun of Hill Climb, but with new mechanics and with better rewards. The graphic style is what really differentiates their game from the competitors. Polished, cartoon, colorful, disney style, all hand drawn. What other game do you know like Time Bomb Race? Of course the main inspiration for the game was the movie “Cars”: every vehicle in the game has got a pair of eyes and a personality. Angry Birds and Tiny Wings was the inspiration for the colors of the game and the graphic style.

At the moment the team is working on a Christmas Update for Time Bomb Race and we’re sure they’re not abandoning the game very soon. Instead we will see a lot of improvement to it, so stay tuned. While they do that they’re also developing a brand new game and, believe us because we’ve tried it, it really looks like DA BOMB!

Anyway what they promised us is not to stop being very passionate about their job and not being crazy as well. Because only with a small amount of madness you can achieve the best results in a world like the mobile gaming industry. We hope for them that their name will be famous very soon because they deserve it!

Go That Table Games, with wind up your tail!

Pocket Rush and Cookie Clickers 2: climbing the charts!

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Here we are, after months of inactivity we come back to our blog to tell you what happened in a single post. Can we sum up all of our adventures? We hope so, even if it’s an hard challenge considering the big amount of news that we’d like to tell you!

You already know by yourselves that in this months a lot of new games were published, titles in which we totally believe and that involved almost all people here in redBit games.

Let’s go by step.

First of all we’d like talking about Pocket Rush, our first big (and obviously super fun!) racing game. After all the efforts we put into the game, Pocket Rush was out 28th of September this year and immediately give us huge satisfactions. The press was enthusiastic: articles and reviews were many and ultra positive (check by yourselves, searching on Google). Graphics is one of the pillars of the game even if the gameplay itself is what drove the people into it. What began like a simple experiment from a brainstorming during a meeting has become one of the biggest satisfaction in the studio’s history. Pocket Rush was first in the iOS racing game charts in 18 countries, many of which were very important like UK and Russia. Furthermore we hit number 1 of arcade games in 3 countries! That was nuts! Pocket Rush has officially become one of our best achievement so far and we’re very proud of that.

Beside this fantastic racing game we had some other things to do in these last months… don’t you know that? Yes you know, you perfectly know what I’m talking about: Cookie Clickers!!! Whoops, sorry. We should say COOKIE CLICKERS 2! Let’s get to the results of our sweetest game so far.

With Cookie Clickers 2 we decided to take our first, famous, chapter (almost 2o million downloads in almost 3 years) and adding a brand new graphic, achievements, new power-ups and upgrades keeping the original feeling of the game still intact. In a new map full of chocolate and sugar you can see your and your friends’ progress to start a “race of cookies”, furthermore you have the Time Machine to speed up your production and the Lucky Spin that is used to… test your luck! And these are just some of the new features that we included and with the months to come we’re planning to give the game a lot of updates. All the hype was worth the waiting and your fantastic feedback really fill our hearts with joy. For real!

That said, we didn’t disappear from our blog just for creating games (something that take almost all working time here in redBit) but also to answer the countless mails, private messages and reviews that… we LOVE! Saying that this support is a great satisfaction for us all is reductive. We know that there are lot of things that we like to improve but… Ehi! You know that you have to help us, don’t you? Many of you are giving us important feedbacks and advices and we never get tired of pushing you to do the same. Whatever you want to say to us, say it! Every doubt/advice/like/critics.
You guys are our favorite pastry chefs, the fuel that gives a push to our motors!

But we’re happy not only for the games developed by us under redBit games label but even for Tiny games, our brand that is publishing games from indie developers. If you didn’t try yet, some months ago we published Fury Roads Survivor, by an Italian team named Megalomania, a reckless post apocalyptic racing game (if you didn’t notice we’re very involved in the genre lately…). The game was, and is right now, a very big success and has gone viral: top 5 racing game in 28 countries (always on Apple App Store) and top 10 arcade game in 18 countries!

What else to say? THANKS for the support you are giving us, for your patience and for the constant presence and will to suggest us new things!

From now on we promise we will get in touch with you in this blog with more updates. By the way: we’ll see each other right here next week!

Fly like a StarFly and sting like a TechBee: interview with developers

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Tiny Games staff interviews developers of StarFly, the new arcade endless with real-time multiplayer

While the internet is starting to react to the new mobile game StarFly (youtubers, reviews, etc), we decided to interview the TechBee team, the people behind the release of this “out of this world” game on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

We’re talking about a racing/arcade game set in deep space where light is brought by the two stars the player controls. The aim is flying in a tunnel (a wormhole maybe?) avoiding obstacles and getting power-ups. A one-breath race that is just an appetizer to the real challenge: multiplayer mode. Once you can fly with your stars you will find addicting to play with other people in real-time and compete in the global leaderboard: who will be the first in the world every season? It can be you!

When we talk about StarFly we like to remember a quote that was very inspiring for us, a quote by the first man who was ever walked on the moon, Neil Armstrong:

Pilots take no special joy in walking. Pilots like flying.”

IMG_3842

Hi Techbee. Present yourself to our public. Who are you, where are you and why you make games?

Hello. We are Techbee Software LLC. We are web and mobile apps developers. We have representations in Russia and Ukraine.

From your official site we’ve watched you’re into the web development business more than gaming one. How much professional site developing (with a client that demands a site) differs from Gamedev? Did you guys suit well in these new trousers, developing videogames?

In the very beginning we identified ourselves as web developers, but now we develop both sites and apps. We have developers for each type of work that is different, but interrelated. We really enjoy developing videogames and this is just the beginning.

About game development where you live in Russia. Is there a lot of companies trying to make a living creating videogames? Do you kinda suggest to someone who’s trying to pursue the career of game developer to come to Russia to do it and why?

Game developing isn’t popular in our region, so if someone wants to connect his life with this interesting branch, we’d suggest going to bigger cities.

Let’s talk about StarFly: when we saw the game we were very impressed: simple mechanic, astonishing graphic, multiplayer experience. We’re very honored to publish it under Tiny Games label. How did you come about the idea for this game? What’s the background of the project?

Thank you. Once, I was playing flash game Canabalt, set a new record and decided to develop a prototype of fast runner. I also wanted to experiment with 3D. Then we decided to add two symmetrical stars to make our game even more complicated 🙂 We improved and developed our prototype and tried to make a good hard runner with multiplayer. You are to judge if we succeeded.

Just present the game to our readers: how you will describe it?

Starfly is 3D tunnel endless hard runner. You are supposed to control two stars, avoiding obstacles. You can control stars with one finger, tapping left or right part of your screen. Stars fade away and you should fuel them with sparks. You can also collect sparks for acceleration and deceleration.

Try Starfly yourself! 🙂

What was the most difficult part to develop? Which were the obstacles and how did you guys overcome them?

The most difficult parts were network mode and synchronization between players. Work on multiplayer mode continues. Also we are working on the leaderboard right now.

In any developing there are some obstacles. We faced problems with correct synchronization of multiplayer mode, the result was unsatisfactory, and so we had to rewrite this part several times. And finally we succeeded.

What was your inspiration? Are you gamers yourselves, which game genre do you prefer on mobile platforms?

We prefer arcade games and strategies.

Did you find helpful to have a publisher like Tiny Games, was it good for the creation of your game (we hope it will be for the downloads of the project 🙂 )

We find it really helpful to co-work with Tiny Games, your company helped us to improve our game and gave us really useful advices. 

And we hope that StarFly will be the beginning of our fruitful collaboration.

We’d like to say thank you to every person in Tiny Games, who helped us.

Thank you for your time, just one last question, are you planning to do some other games in the future, can you give us some sort of anticipation?

Yes, we are planning new game right now. More likely it’ll be a strategy game.

megalomania Team

New mobile game rumors: post-apocalyptic car chasing game now on iOS and Android!

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A new car chasing game adventure now available for free on your devices.

An abandoned world to explore, amazing graphics and car physics to play in a complete new manner!

We asked its creator why you should play it.

Our new game is an endless runner car chasing game, titled “Fury Roads Survivor”. In an abandoned world, you have to outrun enemies in your post-apocalyptic modified vehicle with no brakes, steering the best you can to escape from them chasing after you to kill you, and avoiding obstacles and explosive tanks. While escaping, you’ll have to look for oil as that is the only resource you need to survive.
Smashy Road: Wanted” is the game of reference for this game, both for its gameplay and its business model. But where the former sticks to the basics of graphics and physics, the latter is more polished and refined, offering a really high quality graphic design and a lot of new items to unlock, to make endless combinations of vehicles and gears and to find the perfect car setup.
In “Fury Roads Survivor” new vehicles are unlocked using in-game currency, and are randomly selected for you much like new characters in “Crossy Road”.

We’ve asked the creator of the game, Daniele Azara, Head of games at Megalomania, to give us some insights about game development, features and future steps.

Present yourself: what has been your role in the development team?

I’ve been working for almost twenty years in the gaming sector, mostly as a game designer, executive producer and game director. Now I’m Head of games at Megalomania, a small indiedev team where everyone has got more than one role. Mine is defining the product from the idea to its delivery. My business card says “Head of games”, but just because “Evil genius” was already taken.

What’s the game about?

Fury Roads Survivor is a mobile game in which the player must survive to fierce car chases, in a desert world devastated by the apocalypse. At your disposal are a lot of vehicles – from the classic Mad Max Interceptor to the ones powered by the aeronautical turbine engines – and the possibility to customize them with many types of gears, including armors, machine guns and electromagnetic pulses. The gameplay is immediate and every game session is a unique adventure, fast and unpredictable. We like to say that the game is very simple but, at the same time, intense and profound.

How was the idea of this kind of game design born, and how did you decide to organize the development team?

We’ve been looking at the business model of “Crossy Road” for some time: we wanted to do something similar, something that the player could enjoy without having to pay any money to play the game. Then “Smashy Road: Wanted” came out, proposing the same business model we liked so much. It was perfect, for its immediacy and high engagement potential. We quickly connected all the dots. Being great fans of the post-apocalyptic themed movies of ‘80s, we thought that combining all these elements would have produced a zany mobile game. That’s how the idea was born.

Tell us more about what kind of obstacles did you have to overcome? What things did you have to change in order to make the development easier?

Product strengths are the voxel graphics, the real free-to-play business model, the “80’s soul”, vehicles customization with gears and the use of physics to have upward mobility. We speculated on every aspect of the game with these tenets in mind. Obviously, nothing comes out as expected, so we had had to adapt often and change some things that were initially assumed.
The voxel graphics is intriguing and stylish, but it works only within specific distance limits, beyond which it becomes no longer legible. Managing the texture and the camera has been challenging, as well as creating strong visual effects.
The free-to-play business model meets our philosophy, but it requires a great effort in terms of creating a vast fleet of vehicles and equipment. Our vehicles are all radically different from each other. We hoped to get away with a few changes in the parameters, but the work was colossal: we couldn’t settle for less.
The “soul of 80’s” works for a certain type of audience, but must be discounted for the young, so most of the ideas and quotes the game is full of have been replaced by more current counterparts.
Physics was the least manageable aspect. The reason why products as “Smashy Road: Wanted” prevented the car off the ground was suddenly clear: it’s very difficult to achieve a high quality level. We haven’t given up and, in the end, we transformed limits into opportunities. So now “Fury Roads Survivor” supports ramps, jumps and different vehicles’ drivability.

You have developed overall game design. What makes it different from competitors and how?

Fury Roads Survivor is the result of a “re-mediation process” (cit. Matteo Bittanti), meaning that we merged different elements to get the result that interested us the most. We started from a classic post-apocalyptic scenario, we created a very simple gameplay and used a business model able to satisfy both hard spenders and users who do not want to spend any money. The design points having required great attention have been, in particular, the fine tuning of vehicles and accessories, the levels and the monetization system, which is a fundamental part of user experience. We wanted the player to be satisfied by the experience and wanted him to keep playing to broaden its vehicles and accessories fleet. And I think we did it well.
Looking back at the experience you gained making this game, how will you face next projects? Do you believe that something will change in the way you’ll design games in the future?

Each product has got its own story. During these twenty years, I got a very complete idea of game design processes and Fury Road Survivor has confirmed it. We have been able to put the player first by working on a dedicated business model, and this base has allowed us to concentrate on content, which is our principal goal. We will face the next projects keeping this in mind: players always come first.

What are the next steps in game development? Are you thinking of adding new features? What are the Studio development plans?

We are already working on a large number of updates, adding new vehicles and new accessories that I could define “exotic”. We have plans to create new game modes and contents as well, but this will depend on market outcomes. Apart from “Fury Roads Survivor”, the Studio is working on other products for the mobile market. News will be coming soon!

On which platforms will Fury Roads Survivor be available?

Both on iOS and Android. We are considering to arrive on console too.

What is the best way to stay updated about game development and your future plans?

Like us on Facebook
This will help to fuel the buzz about the game!

Thank you!

Thank you and play “Fury Roads Survivor”!

***

Download the game now at following links! It’s free and endless fun 🙂

iOS: http://apple.co/1WBoZIW

Android: http://bit.ly/furyroadssurvivorandroid

Discover all news about Fury Roads Survivor on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or searching for #FuryRoadsSurvivor!

5 Growth Hacking Strategies for your App or Mobile Game

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What kind of Growth Hacking strategies exist, and how can they be applied to your Mobile Game Marketing?

This article originally appeared in Italian on MD – Digital Marketing Blog.

In our previous article on Growth Hacking we’ve talked about its difference from Digital Marketing and why it can be the perfect strategy for Companies to grow their audiences with 0 (or very little) budget.

Today we’re going to talk about several kinds of Growth Hacking strategies, and we’ll give you 5 useful advices to adapt them into your mobile game marketing strategy.

There are many examples (find here 20 awesome cases) of how growth hacks have helped very well-known Companies to get successful results on the market, Facebook, Quora, Uber and Twitter being the most outstanding ones to keep in mind and to replicate.

But, what does it mean having a growth hacking strategy?

Simply stated, it means to input more and output a lot more. Growth hacking is about finding those little hacks that make a huge difference in reaching your Company’s goals.

“Eat like a bird and pooh like an elephant”, Guy Kawasaki (former Apple employee)

Eat like a bird

There are different kinds of strategies that could be implemented, according to the business nature and the given objectives:

  1. Integration Hacks: Facebook Connect has allowed many services to grow their audiences. By allowing its users to post the tracks that they’re listening to on Facebook, Spotify has grown to be the big player that it is today in the streaming music sector. King, by creating social games where people could ask for and give lives to friends, leveraged one of the 6 rules of persuasion, consensus. It allowed people to discover that their friends were playing and their location on the map, which got them more involved in the game.
  2. Community Hacks: getting to know the precise target you’re referring to, allows your strategy to be very focused. For example, if you’ve to promote an innovative service, you know you’d better be looking for early adopters and trying to engage them during contextual occasions that refer to other innovative services, engaging already established user-base that you know could be interested in your own service.
  3. Invitation hacks: exploiting your existing user base (if you have one) to invite new users to your platform is always one of the best hacks. Examples of the success of this strategy are from Dropbox, that grew through the mantra: “Invite for storage”. Existing users were rewarded with additional storage space as long as they invited new users to join the platform. In mobile gaming, all incent sharing tools can get you incredible results, because users are incentivized to invite friends to get something they care about in the game, while spreading the word about the game among all their contacts. Our Cookie Clickers is the perfect example of this!
  4. Embed Hacks: YouTube became the largest video platform because they allowed 3rd party websites to embed their video player onto their own site, while YouTube’s competitors failed because they wanted not to lose all the traffic onto their own webpage. Same thing for Twitter: an embedded Tweet brings the best content created on Twitter directly into your article or website, ready to be retweeted or quoted.
  5. Engineering Hacks: develop software that will automatically develop growth, like bots. Paypal developed a bot that automatically made transactions on Ebay to become the most popular payment method on the site. Being the most popular, it made people believe that Paypal was also the best and most trusted, making it the no. 1 payment method on Ebay.

Talking about applying these strategies to games, we have to get very creative and to use available tools in a different way to get better results, because competition has become really aggressive, and it is close to impossible to launch a mobile game without a proper marketing budget.

The Growth Hacking tools we’ve get used to during past years (FreeAppADay, AppGratis etc.) are not working as well as in the past, and probably the growth hacks that are working today will not be effective within a few months. The advice is simple: always keep your ear to the ground and your eye on analytics, because the market is constantly changing as well as human preferences and consumption behavior are. The targets we aim for are constantly moving too, thus we have to continuously check the analytics to understand what has been hiding behind these numbers.

5 good advices for your mobile marketing strategy are:

  1. Entering emerging markets: localize your game in less competitive countries, where it’s easier to get visibility in games’ categories, and less downloads are necessary to reach high positions in the App Stores leaderboards. It could be a great way to start conquering the market and collecting user information and gameplay data to optimize your future campaigns.
  2. Social hooks: all Social touch points into your game are fundamental tools to give impulse to WOM (word of mouse/mouth) between users and to let them share the game in exchange for some kind of benefit. You’ll get two results, increased user engagement and higher LTV (Life Time Value) because users are encouraged to play with (or against) their friends.
  3. Use Deep and Differed Deep Linking: thanks to deep linking you could drive users right deep inside your app and target them better. Then, recognizing them and treating existing users separately will help you to better communicate with them and improve their engagement.
  4. Using promoted in-app purchases as boosters: everybody likes promotion and discounted prices! The same is for discounted in-app purchases in-game. Making regular promotion or special one linked to a special event or period (like Christmas bundle for example) could lead to crazy increase in revenues for IAP (and also a strange kind of income, like this campaign to buy “Nothing for Something” during last Black Friday).
  5. Influencer marketing (ATTENTION: “big” budget required): not really a growth hack due to its cost, but still the perfect way to reach the right target. It is implemented by video contents made by YouTubers who already have an important user base to refer to. Services like Gameinfluencer.com could help you scale the charts by asking many different YouTubers to review your game and to publish the video to their audiences. The problem is that such a strategy is costly but they guarantee a certain minimum number of views.

In the next article we’ll talk about how to set a process to conduct growth strategies in a very analytical and practical way, with the aim to get the maximum result from insights and tests.

We’ll look at data and real case studies from our launches and we’ll reveal some insights about secret tools.

Thank you!

New mobile game rumors: we’re developing a completely new racing game!

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One of the tracks in the Country environment

There are some new mobile games coming soon on your devices! The one we’re talking about today is a completely new racing game. We interviewed the CBO of redBit games, Gabriele Achler, who will tell us more in depth about the game development and new features.

We are always eager to find out some sneak peeks of the latest news from the redBit games World. It’s exciting to get some updates on what’s concocting, isn’t it? 😉

Indeed, many new projects are in progress, some of them being really vast. The work is hectic and relentless, but also fun, of course!
This is the case of the game we’re going to talk to you about. Not much can be said though, we can only unveil that this is a casual racing game, with unique and innovative features.

To get more details about it, we asked the Project Manager and CBO of redBit games, Gabriele Achler, to answer some questions and to give us a preview of how the game will be structured.

What gameplay characteristics were the ones that convinced you to start developing this new kind of racing game?

After the adventure of Qbeat, our first 3D musical game, we did experience the power of 3D and its potentiality. We wanted to take the ability of developers to the next level, trying ourselves in the development of a casual game with innovative characteristics, both in terms of graphics, thanks to the use of polygonal art, and in terms of gameplay, thanks to the introduction of multiplayer feature with online challenges. This is an absolute change to a casual racing game. We were motivated by the desire to “raise the quality bar” of our mobile games, throwing ourselves into a completely new development adventure.

Teaser Screenshot during a race

During a race

Can you unveil to us how the game is structured?

In the first release there will be 30 playable tracks (they will become 40 at least with first update) for 4 different campaigns, characterized by spectacular graphics, and 3 game modes: single-player mode, head to head mode (with challenges) and multiplayer mode (with tournaments).

When do you think it will be released?

We are working hard to finish the development by the end of April. Onwards, there will be about one month for testing and debugging, then a soft-launch in few countries. The game will be available worldwide on both iOS and Android App Stores. For the exact release date, stay tuned! It’d be soon (fingers crossed). Indeed, we’re about to make a call to an Open Beta: so you could participate to be among the first playing the game!

Lately, many of the Top Ranked mobile games’ genre was “car racing”, all presenting unique and innovative features. What distinguishes your game from the others?

The gameplay of our product is very innovative, for two principal reasons: the first is that the game mode is one simple tap, which is very easy and makes it suitable and accessible to a very broad audience; the second is that it extensively uses 3D, not very common genre in this kind of games, and that it’s got a fresh look and pretty realistic graphics, thanks to the technique of polygons able to create suggestive and visually striking landscapes.

What were the biggest challenges you had to overcome during the development of the game?

The main challenge was the need to reduce the size of the graphic assets package (both 2D and 3D), to limit overall weight and allow optimal performance on different devices (even older ones). The other important challenge was game design, in finding the optimal balance between all elements, in particular trying to ensure that the UI (User Interface) was as immediate and understandable as possible to all potential users.

What compromises you had to accept to make development more accessible to the team?

As mentioned earlier, certainly the reduction of 3D graphic assets of campaigns, both to decrease development time and to focus on a smaller number of processes, to assure perfection. We also decided to give up some features such as chat and achievements, at least for this first release. Finally, we decided to give up the management of tailored-with-action sound effects, but we can assure that overall sound quality hasn’t been marred in any way. Indeed, the game’s soundtrack is one of game strengths.

If you had to describe the game with three adjectives, what would you use?

Minimal, immediate and a funny challenge!

What can we expect from this new adventure?

We have really high expectations on this game, and we believe that users will love its detailed graphics, the immediate but still challenging gameplay, and the addictive game mode, not failing to attend all challenges and tournaments. We can leave with a promise: if we receive great reviews from our users (i.e., YOU!), that will demonstrate that the game is well received and appreciated, as we believe it will, we will be open to feedback and new suggestions coming directly from the players, and willing to add new features to the game according to them. We want to make it more and more beautiful and intriguing for and with you!

Thank you and good luck with development!

Thank you and run to the fun!

Mobile First Strategy to win the Mobile Moments

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Mobile First is the strategy that allows Companies to win the digital challenge and to master Mobile Moments.

This article originally appeared in Italian on MD – Marketing Digitale Blog.

In our previous article on digital Companies we had discussed how mobile could be the strategy that allows Companies to win the digital challenge in an increasingly interconnected market. Let’s see now why Mobile First is the way to do it.

(Via: ellaecreative.com)

(Via: ellaecreative.com)

We saw that mobile is the unifying element of two main digital transformation factors, which are the digital customer experience, allowing to speed up all steps along the funnel, and the operational efficiency by streamlining the structure to get huge cost benefits.

This mobile maturity goes hand in hand with the digital one, requiring the same organizational changes to ensure complete focus on a single direction.

The mobile, as internet, is a radical revolution, and it can change not only the Company structure but also strategy: from business model to pricing, from distribution to customer service including the entire infrastructure. To get ready for this transformation, it is therefore necessary to revise the analytical metrics, organizational models, priorities and resources needed.

You have to think and act differently to win in mobile moments.

Higher expectations from consumers entail a greater responsibility: Companies have to increase efforts to ensure these expectations are met, meaning that they have to work harder, to spend more money and to study new ways to earn users trust and also increase their earnings.

The present moment is very rich in opportunities, but it’s experiencing a deep crisis because Companies are not yet fully able to exploit them. From the moment the first iPhone made its appearance on the market everything has changed, and current impression is that Companies are neither able to anticipate the times nor to keep pace with new digital needs.

The risk is to fail, as those Companies that, having underestimated the power of the internet, have been forced to close because of their invisibility on the market.

To exploit all opportunities, mobile must become an integral part of the corporate DNA, because it offers something unique and essential: the opportunity to build a real-time, interactive relationship with the user. And, unfortunately, they are still too many companies that are not taking advantage of this opportunity as they should.

Most often used approach is “we do our best“, which means to adapt their existing web strategies to mobile, obtaining much lower results if not opposite to those desired, such as little user involvement, early churn in use of the service and less earned money. The worst thing is that many resources are spent on mobile channels to acquire new users, but no strategy is set to ensure that these users will find satisfaction during their experiences.

In order to implement a Mobile First Strategy, first of all we have to act on Governance to optimize resources, to promote the creation of a diffused mobile culture and to implement best practices.

What really matters is not continuing to see mobile as a mere distribution channel, but rather as a real new business, with dedicated structures and metrics. The aim must be to revolutionize not only the Company itself, but also the User Experience and therefore the way users interact with the Company and its products/services.

To do this, a Company should:

  • Melt small mobile teams within the organization, in order to make their functional capacity grow and enable them to facilitate mobile strategic features within the Company;
  • Spread Mobile culture within the whole organization, to make clear how important it is not only to the User Experience but also internally, discussing success stories and communicating the results achieved so far, and promoting new ideas and opening discussions;
  • Integrate digital teams with non-digital ones. User Experience is given both on-line and off-line. By involving non-digital teams, all new opportunities and lifestyle changes that mobile leads may be better understood, so that a complete view will be possible (an example is how technology is radically changing our travel experiences in and out of airports);
  • Ensure that Mobile Units have total control over their functionalities. Unless Core business itself is not already digital, meaning tightly connected to mobile (for example as internet banking), it must be ensured that the mobile experience is entirely decided by the responsible Mobile Unit. It has to find the new features and to study new future updates, without any interference from the digital team. Mobile experience is not a small version of digital experience, and the Mobile Unit has to ensure that all of its unique features and capabilities are best expressed, to let it bring differential value compared to on-line (a good example is Health & Wellness market, deeply exploiting new possibilities from wearables and collecting data to track user behavior and to provide specific services and solutions to different needs).

The analysis conducted by Forrester Research Inc. (Source: “Own Mobile to Own your Customers”, Forrester Research Report, 2015) suggests creating an operating model made by four parties. Each party will have a say over the leadership, governance or executive action between different Mobile tasks. The details vary according to the type of industry, geography and Company size.

Multiple Team IDEA to enhance Mobile Development

Multiple IDEA Teams to enhance Mobile Development (Source: Forrester Research Report, 2015)

You should:

  • Create a steering cross-functional cabinet committee, with representatives of key geographies, products and functional groups. Only 24% of Companies surveyed have a mobile steering committee;
  • Create a mobile center of excellence. This center will serve as a resource for the whole organization, teaching how to use mobile to improve the digital part of the User Experience and business results consequently. Only 25% of Companies already have it;
  • Create IDEA teams. IDEA is an acronym created by Forrester Research Inc. to guide enterprises in their quest to win, serve, and retain customers in their mobile moments. They are teams made of 4 to 10 professionals, representing development, product management, and project management functions, including non-digital corporate staff. To date, 40% of the mobile business have Agile teams, but not IDEA teams with managerial and technical personnel working together;
  • Dedicate IT resources to support marketing initiatives. Too often the lack of technical resources dedicated to continuous analysis improvement and marketing control, condemns valuable initiatives to failure.

Smart leaders know that constantly experimenting and perfecting approaches to collaboration is the only way to keep teams energized and productive.

In the next article we will understand what benefits Mobile First strategy gives to the entire organization and which KPIs are to take into account to measure its actual effectiveness.

How is your own world changing with new mobile features? What is the most radical change your mobile device (phone, tablet or smart-watch) allowed you to experience? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

Thank you!

Digital Companies OK, but Mobile is better!

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Why should Digital Companies should consider Mobile as the strategy to succeed in the market? Let’s discover why Mobile possibilities are endless!

This post originally appeared in Italian on MD – Marketing Digitale Blog.

Mobile and Digital Companies

To demonstrate why digital Companies should invest in Mobile, we don’t need to look at statistics or at the most recent studies on Mobile Apps usage. Indeed, we have it proved everyday: just think about how Mobile devices have changed your lifestyle!

During our most intimate moments (those spent lazing under fluffy covers, relaxing on the sofa during a pizza and TV night, or soaked into a hot bath), we believe we are alone. But are we? Actually, not really.

It is always with us, and it is always connected for sure. It’s our mobile phone.

Forrester Research Inc. has studied this phenomenon (Source: “Own Mobile to Own your Customers”, Forrester Research Report, 2015) and has found out that there are more than 100 times in a day when we take it, switch it on, use it to give a relief to our sense of alienation. During these hundred times a day, our attention is absorbed by a 5 inches’ screen (at least) for even a very short time.

Moments that Forrester has called “mobile moments“.

To win the digital challenge, Companies will have to try their best to trap, fill, engage and retain engaged users during their mobile moments.

This is a tough challenge though. Mobile has also changed consumer expectations: everything has to be available at the moment they want it and in the place where they are. If not, it simply doesn’t exist.

The purchase funnel of a product continues to grow, increasing number of steps, and then the possibility that a user never comes to conversion. An attitude that could be considered hysterical, not linear, causing a fragmented and confused decision process.

However, if it’s well governed by the Company, each step becomes a major possibility of attraction and engagement. Indeed, Mobile is the most suitable instrument to guide them through the steps of their decision process.

Company’s success is increasingly linked to its ability to provide great Mobile experiences, for both users and organization members.

This will be possible if it:

  • Provides access to information and services anywhere and anytime
  • Encourages customers and employees to actively interact with Mobile
  • Makes the user experience special: ensuring a pleasant journey will improve its brand image, bringing faster to brand loyalty and awareness.

Mobile has got them all, being able to deliver unprecedented advantages thanks to its immediacy, simplicity and relevance to users. No need to go Mobile from the very first step, it can affect just one part of customer’s journey towards conversion (for example, by sending a notification, or by giving the possibility to use the device as a ticket or as a method of payment itself).

Mobile possibilities are endless, and it can destroy the business as we have known it ‘till today, radically changing business models, making new features possible and reducing certain costs incidence.

The most important thing is to become completely aware of it, to be able to govern the change and not to be left behind from competitors.

To sum up, the World is becoming more and more digital and Companies need to keep pace.

Mobile is the fundamental element a digital business has to govern to become successful. It can do it by driving two main drivers: the user digital experience and the digital operative excellence.

As a matter of fact, it can:

  • Improve and speed up user experience, making known and easily reachable the product/service, creating a real value added funnel, while helping to better define customer value;
  • Allow optimization: while connecting employees and users it also improves the efficient use of resources, ensuring at the same time that the structure is simplified and the processes are more effectively executed.

Of course, easy to be said but much harder to be done. In spite of more than 60% of Marketing Managers involved in the study are favorable to the Mobile revolution, there’re many difficulties such as the need of both a radical cultural change within the organization and dedicated funds. Also, it’s highly needed a close cooperation with IT department, often more inclined to simply run things rather than trying to find new ways to support innovation.

And, more importantly, making an App is a real project, rather than a simple product, therefore it should be consistently followed, with frequent updates and continuous alignment between feedbacks and changes to be done. All these actions of course involve a strong effort and the Company’s will to make a significant investment.

Companies should look at Mobile not as a channel, but as a real business, through which they can successfully face new digital market challenges. Managers should start to think about Mobile as an advertising medium that can improve customer satisfaction and increase engagement, and not just as a User Acquisition tool (this last approach is clearly the most pursued given main objectives of current Mobile strategies, like increasing brand awareness (29%), acquiring new customers (23%) and appearing more innovative (24%)).

In the next article we will see what a Company has to do to begin implementing those changes that will lead towards full digitization and exploitation of the mobile opportunities, and why a Mobile First Strategy could be the correct way to obtain it.

What about you? Are you operating in a still poorly digitalized market or in a not very technological context? What do you think of digital world? We would be happy if you’ll share your opinion in the comments.

Thank you!

Growth Hacking and Digital Marketing: what is the difference?

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Growth Hacking and Digital Marketing: what is the difference? Discover how Marketing can make your Company grow, even at 0 budget!

This article originally appeared in Italian on MD – Marketing Digitale Blog.

Growth Hacking and Digital Marketing are not the same thing. Both trending, both innovative concepts. Yet different. Not only because the former is younger (appeared only in 2013) while the other is more mature.

Google Trends

Source: Google Trends

There are other differences, that can be explained by understanding what these two activities are referring to.

The common question is indeed: “What do they exactly make?

It appears that the same mistrust about Social Media Managers being both professionals and useful professionals, it is now poured on so-called experts of “Digital Marketing”.

Digital is the new black” 😉 Meaning that it’s cool to be digital, first of all!

Digital Business is changing the game, and this is epochal. It therefore cannot (and should not) be underestimated by any Marketing Department, from that of SMEs to that of Multinational Companies. In this game, Growth Hacking can be defined as the transition point between Traditional Marketing and Digital Marketing.

It is useful to remember, to better explain what Growth Hacking means, the difference between outbound and inbound marketing: the first concerns all actions made to attract new customers, mainly in the traditional channels such as TV, radio, print, road signs, etc.; while the second relates to all the actions that help brand/product to be found by customers, as the right brand/product at the right time to the right person. The inbound marketing actions are all those that relate to SEO, SEM, blogging, content marketing, social media and so on.

Do not confuse Digital actions with Growth Hacking by any means, because even digital actions such as e-mail marketing for example, albeit made for digital channels, serve to attract users exactly how outbound marketing ones.

We can say that Growth Hacking lies somewhere in between Marketing and Technical knowledge.

The Growth Hacker is a Digital Marketing Manager experienced at technical level too, able to use new technologies for growth to ensure that the product/service can be easily found in digital channels, even with smaller budgets.

He knows how to work on Web pages to ensure that the user flow follows a certain path; he knows how to ask the right message at the right moment, and how to respond in a personalized way to not expressed needs that user may have at that moment. It’s an ambivalent figure: an expert of development and a marketing professional, able to customize and leverage digital technologies to enhance the product/service on the market and beat competition.

Recent studies show that the ROI deriving from inbound marketing is clearly beating the one generated from outbound.

This fact should prompt Managers, who had great success with outbound also thanks to availability of substantial budget, to understand that the market is changing rapidly and that the consumers have turned out very different. In particular, it should get them to understand that you can no longer just rely on budget, because that is not as efficient or effective as it was before.

A Guy Kawasaki sentence sums it all up:

If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more money than brains, you should focus on inbound marketing.

And this is especially true in start-up context, where resources are limited with no budget to be allocated on marketing activities, and energies are focused on product and growth first of all. If a Company can consider an annual 5% growth as a good result, a start-up has to grow by 200% in the first year if it wants to be successful on the market.

In the next article we will analyze some data to understand what evidence and results the Growth Hacking strategy has brought. We will see that the results in some cases are amazing, and it’s really exciting to have a demonstration that is possible to create Added Value by being creative, having new ideas, improving communication, transparency and listening to customers or prospects, rather than just using economic resources.

That is a Shared Value, not only to brand but also to users themselves, being more and more aware of Marketing and of their own consumer experience.

If you did not know what was the Growth Hacking, we didn’t know either! And we must say that we were delighted to find it out, especially because it has finally defined the type of Creative Marketing (driven more by ideas than budget) that we like the most. This is the reference guide.

Did you already heard about it or are you already using it in your marketing strategy? Write it in the comments! We’d love to hear about your experience.

Thank you!

Develop games with Tiny Games – Reach one million users

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We already talked many times on this website and our social touchpoints about Tiny Games, the brand of redBit games dedicated to casual games, that publishes products made by indie developers.

Today we want to “explore” Tiny from the inside by interviewing one of our regular collaborators: Daniele Bianchini.

Daniele is a professional in the sector of mobile games, professor of Vigamus Academy, and he has been publishing games with Tiny for years. We chose to interview him for a reason: recently his games published with Tiny Games have passed 1 million users milestone.

Some names? Among the games that had the biggest success are surely 100 Levels (also noticed by PewDiePie), Unplugged and Galaxy Wars – Ice Empire.

Tiny games has been a perfect environment for Daniele to develop mobile games: the brand focuses on casual games, and Daniele’s preferred game genre is exactly this one.

To sum up, this collaboration has definitely been a success.

Tiny games

However, let’s see what Daniele has to say about Tiny Games, his work and the milestone that he has recently reached. Who knows, some developers may get inspired to make new games after reading the interview (and publish them with us, obviously! 😉 )!

 

First of all, when you decided to develop mobile games?

It was always a dream that I kept in the drawer. 5 years ago I used to develop mobile apps, and at some point I realized I am capable of creating my own game. This is how it started, and a year after I published Planet Zoom & The World Inside, a game for the iPad. I have to say that despite the initial difficulties, it was definitely worth it. On March 18th I will tell my story as one of the speakers at Codemotion in Rome.

Is it the only activity you dedicate yourself to?

From the very beginning I decided that this would be my main work. Then, the experience I acquired brought me in 2015 in Vigamus Academy to teach a course “Instruments and Techniques of Game Development”.

Daniele BianchiniHow do you develop your games? Which frameworks do you use?

I started with Objective-C and Cocos2D. Then 3 years ago I tried Unity3D and haven’t left Unity environment since then. It allows me to develop prototypes extremely fast. In addition to this, it is very easy to publish games on all of the most important platforms, from smartphones to consoles.

When did you start your collaboration with Tiny games?

We published the first game Planet Zoom 3D in 2014 for redBit games. I was looking for a publisher for my games, and suddenly found one near my home!

How has the collaboration with Tiny games changed your life?

Tiny Games takes care of publication and marketing, allowing me to focus exclusively on game development. Besides this, the working environment is so friendly that I am happy to come to the office every day.

1 million users is a great achievement. How do you feel about the fact that there are so many people in the world who have fun playing your games?

This news gives me a great satisfaction and inspiration to develop new projects!

Would you define the Italian game development industry differently from the international one?

I know many young talents who are really eager to work, but they lack the entrepreneurial mentality necessary to start one’s own business. The companies that focus solely on video games exist, but there are not so many of them. However, lately the situation has been changing for the better.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to approach mobile game development industry?

The most important advice is to find and create a great team and not to do everything by yourself. You need diverse competencies to develop the game from the prototype to the publication. The practical realization of the game is just one of the aspects. In terms of programming, I would say one needs to start with something simple and find someone else with more experience, who can follow the project and give valuable feedback. I’ve seen many times when developers threw themselves at the mega projects with high level of risk of not ever getting to the publication stage.

For someone who wants to get to know your games, which ones should they try?

It depends on the preferences: 100 Levels for the most casual players; Galaxy Wars for those who are looking for something more sophisticated. In any case, on my website www.lookygames.com one can find all my works.

Any future projects you would like to mention?

I started to collaborate with other developers and designers, and we are working on the most ambitious games so far! One of the projects I am working on is a game on Apple TV.

Thank you for your valuable advice, Daniele, and good luck with future projects!