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The Best of Developer Targeted SDK’s

Posted By Ryan Morel on August 31, 2011

If you’ve developed a game on iOS or Android, you’ve probably gotten at least 100 calls/emails from people at companies just like mine (probably even from me) promising you that their new platform, ad network, whiz-bang crazy awesome SDK that can be integrated in 5 minutes will change the trajectory of your company or life forever. It sounds so great, you say, let’s do it. Then, you spend 3 weeks integrating something that not only doesn’t make you any additional cash (the point, you know), but it breaks your game for some unknown reason.

Sure, there’s some hyperbole here, but the point remains: there is an over abundance of SDK options for developers to choose from, and it’s hard to cut through the noise. Over time, as with everything, there will be consolidation from M&A, people going out of business, etc. etc. But for now, this noise has made it really hard for developers to find the best tools to add to their games. How do I know this?

Two ways:

  1. Although we’ve recently moved our focus from game dev/publishing to being one of those people schlepping SDK’s w/ PlacePlay – we STILL get at least 1 email/call per day from one of the aforementioned whiz-bang crazy awesome SDK providers. We stopped responding to these inquiries over a year ago.
  2. Connecting with and selling to developers is hard – we know this first hand because it’s what we’re doing every day.

From a developer perspective, there are probably only a few things you care about; and, if a provider isn’t offering a solution to one of these problems (with social proof) you probably tune them out, and rightfully so:

  1. Distribution: how do I get my game in the hands of as many people as possible for as little $$ as possible?
  2. Engagement: once I acquire a user, how do I keep them?
  3. Revenue: how do I maximize my DARPU?

This isn’t a self-serving blog post, so I won’t talk about PlacePlay (although it definitely helps with two of the above), but there are 3 companies that every developer should be talking to (besides us, OK, slightly self-serving) if they aren’t already that can help.

Distribution: W3i

W3i may not be as widely recognized as Tapjoy, for example, but they offer some innovative, unique solutions to the growing distribution problem on iOS and Android. Their new App All Star program provides consumers with a “reward” in the form of a free game that can be shown to users when they complete an achievement, finish a level, win a tournament, whatever. This solution actually serves two of the above:

  1. Developers can use it to drive distribution of their games. The service works and although it’s early on, I’m excited to see how they expand this.
  2. Developers can use it to increase their own revenue – if you integrate App All Star in to your game and drive users to other titles, you’ll make more $$.

W3i provides a host of other solutions to help with distribution and in the crowded market place that is the App Store, distribution is King – and W3i is a King maker.

Lastly, I can’t say enough about the W3i team – they are awesome to work with and are one of the very few companies I will always recommend developers to.

So, once you’ve used W3i and have some users – how do you keep them?

Engagement: Socialize

I hadn’t heard about Socialize until recently, but the more I look at it, the more interested I become in the potential here. Socialize helps every developer add a social layer to their app enabling their users to have a communal experience with the application. Can’t figure out how to pass a level? Ask the community. Want to share something from your game with friends? Use the Socialize sharing tools. Want to know how many people are using a specific feature in your game or app? Socialize will tell you. That’s pretty cool.

It’s human nature to want to be a part of something bigger, and Socialize is taking what is normally a solitary experience and turning it in to a communal one. Community drives engagement and usage – Facebook told us, and it’s definitely true.

OK, so now you’ve got users and you’ve got them engaged with your game/content – how can you best monetize them?

Revenue: Tap.me

Tap.me is paving the road to the future of mobile advertising. Mark Suster (read Mark’s post here) recently had a blog post in which he stated: “I’m also willing to bet that the mobile applications that become big will find unique ways of reaching you to get relevant offer in front of you that are unobtrusive, authentic, location-aware and specific to your current needs.” Yes, that’s where PlacePlay is headed for local, Tap.me is there now for national.

Want that extra level pack in Finger Physics (yes, we’re going to integrate Tap.me in Finger Physics)? Here it is sponsored by XYZ brand. That’s awesome.

Banner ads can work, especially when you have location-enabled features, but combining in-game content + ads is a home run. Tap.me is early on in their process, but they’ve got a great team who are honest (a rarity) and have a great long term vision of their product.

There you have it – these are the three companies that every developer should be talking to and we’re excited to watch and, hopefully, partner with in the coming months…..

-Ryan

info@placeplay.com

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