Wednesday, September 5, 2012

An App for a Candy Bar !

The best things in life are *FREE* ! It is always nice to get something for nothing every now and again, it perks you up and makes you feel good all over. However, it's also nice to buy things as well, whether they be expensive or affordable. Suiting each to persons own budget and taste of course.
So, would you buy an App or Game for a Mobile device or a Candy Bar ( Mmm ... Chocolate ) ? Good question eh ? On both the Apple and Android mobile platforms there are simply thousands, upon thousands of Apps available to download and buy, at any time of the day, all across the world. We are simply spoilt for choice with genres, for both Apps and Games. Prices start from *FREE* up to one of the most expensive ones that I have seen on the Apple App Store, the TomTom Europe Sat Nav priced at £79.99 for the iPad. In all fairness, you are paying for a well known product, that needed a lot of research and development which isn't too disimilar to the original hardware that you might have in your car. But what's stopping you using Google Maps for example ? Although the feel isn't the same, the practicality is, plus it is *FREE* ! We use and buy what Apps we want, regardless of the price.

At this point I would like to bring up the name, 'Angry Birds' by Rovio. This is a massively popular game with all the franchise that comes with it. Even if you are simply spitting feathers and screaming obscenities out loud, whilst trying to hold back the emotional tears of jealousy and perhaps a bit of anger or maybe perhaps not ? It has been a lucky break for Rovio really and I can't believe how far the game has come. Although, it does have a rather nice polished look and feel, it has marvelled in physics, a sure winner. The game and all of its series, is available on almost every platform, even this bizarre attempt on the Sega Genesis, as demonstrated via YouTube.

So, where are we at now ? Why do we download *FREE* games ? Because we want to of course, its a matter of choice and personal preference. But we also, do, buy Apps and we are spoilt for choice, in fact there is a saturation of choice. The developers of this gaming world are in and do face a lot of competition. Over 25 years ago, during the 8-bit gaming years, even then, there were games and prices for every budget between £1.99-£14.99 as I recall, were games that I would buy and would mostly be in this price range. The gameplay did run from good to bad, on certain games, regardless of the price.

I have been recently fortunate enough to be able to produce games for mobile devices, more so on the Android platform using GameMaker:Studio by YoYo Games. This has been a good experience with regards to creating and submitting them to Google Play Store and see how they fair amongst thousands of other Apps and games available. Without a lot of advertising, it has been rather quiet or a little static. Is it the style and look of each game, I first thought ? Did I set the price for each game adequately or are they just not good enough ? What I have noticed is, all the *FREE* games are being downloaded, if not in massive amounts. The current two paid for games are still, still as in, not moving or shifting much. I wonder if the same were to happen on the Apple platform ? I do think however, that additional advertising and more word of mouth may inject some form of interest to most.

I do believe that in playing games for over 25 years, gameplay is one of the most important factors, regardless of its looks or price. Every game has a set look or style, you could have an expensive game that cost hundreds of thousands to produce with high end graphics, only to fall flat with poor gameplay. Then you might have a lower end budget game, that simply wins on gameplay alone.

All of this leads us up to independent developers, who deserve more credit. The competition can be quite fierce out there. The quantity and quality are equaled and by far better in most respects to the big gun software developers. Just because you choose or are an 'indie', it doesn't mean you are or will produce inferior or poor quality games.

It isn't that much of a difficult choice between an App or a Candy Bar, you maybe hungry, the price is near enough the same and for 50 pence, 50 cents or maybe 99. You are contributing towards the support of current and the future production of Apps and games. Free is good, but without adverts to pay the way or financial support, there may well be a decline in what we love most ... games !

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