Few games, however, captured the simple power of the Nintendo games of his youth. Angry Birds was too busy, he thought. “I don’t like the graphics,” he says. “It looked too crowded.” Nguyen wanted to make games for people like himself: busy, harried, always on the move. “I pictured how people play,” he says, as he taps his iPhone and reaches his other hand in the air. “One hand holding the train strap.” He’d make a game for them.
Of the 293 new iOS games, he discovered that 95 (just over 32%) were clones of the recently deceased Flappy Bird. He also notes that — at the time of writing — 4 of the top 5 free iPhone games in the U.S. App Store are Flappy clones, and that all 4 also feature in the top 10 in the UK.
Not a fan of this company, particularly in light of its copyright antics, cloning games and then suing other, smaller games companies for unwittingly stepping on their trademark. Cash in, cash out before the public markets realize you’re another Zynga.
Press Release from MarketWatch
I was originally planning to focus on the December/January Flappy Bird reviews — I thought it’d be fun to prove that they were most likely bots. After loading the reviews into
pandas and playing around with the data, though, it became pretty clear those had little to nothing to do with the success of Flappy Bird.
It did get the ball rolling though. The app didn’t go from zero to number 1 in the app store overnight. There was that initial push that put the app in position to be the beneficiary of a tipping point in the first place.
Just looking at Elance for a minute and a half, I found several projects related to the generation of BS app reviews. If there’s a system available to be gamed, it’s just a matter of time before it is.
It does seem odd. But it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility so long as you were talking about one app.
Apparently though, this guy has several that have now gotten into the top ten:
Zynga just paid $527 million for mobile game maker NaturalMotion, the creator of Clumsy Ninja and CSR Racing. I hear dotGears Studios may go for $600 million.
After a week? I think the tech press needs to pull back on the hyperbole a bit here. Yes, future cash flows, and such. But let’s see if they can maintain (and best) these rankings before we anoint them as a $600 million company.
Looking back, the Wii was always a gamble, in my view. At the time of its introduction, it had a uniqueness that the Xbox & PS3 didn’t have. But as Wingfield says in this piece, it was also a clear signal that they were looking to attract a different kind of gamer. The first Wii was a commercial success. But Apple came in and ended up taking the bulk of the casual gaming crowd instead, with a device that was portable with an endless array of use cases that the Wii simply couldn’t compete with. Of course, Apple also took a lot of money away from Sony & Microsoft. But the hardcore gamer isn’t about to replace their console with an iPad. So Sony & Microsoft can still make significant amounts of money from those looking for a premium gaming experience.
Unfortunately, that ship seems to have sailed for Nintendo unless they go back and build the kinds of consoles that they built before the Wii. It’s an interesting predicament they find themselves in. A stable of Mario games for iOS would be pretty incredible though. I think it would make them a ton of money but maybe not as much as they’re used to; certainly not as much as owning the entire hardware/software experience.
Ironically, pushing themselves in that direction would make them more like what Sega has become: a niche software maker as opposed to the giants they were at the height of the 16-bit wars. If you had told 11 year old me that Nintendo and Sega would both become afterthoughts in the world of gaming in 20 years, I’d have told you you were crazy.