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Friday, October 22, 2010

App Stores Scope Illustrated

Creator & creation contexts could be single creator, team, crowdmade, automatically generated, indie publisher vs big studio etc. Consumer & usage contexts could be single player game, two-player game, app which needs a certain setting to work and so on.

Let’s give two specific examples. One is for one of the two-player iPad games which I recently do at The other will be for the fictional game Flora vs Corpses. Let’s start with the iPad game City Bucks:

City Bucks
Creator: Developer (relying on community help, like copyright-free material or forum help)
↓ Technology & Media: HTML and JavaScript with PhoneGap
↓ Stores: Apple App Store
↓ Hardware/ Media: iPad
Consumer context: Two-player

Several questions the creator should ask when looking at above distribution path:

Using HTML and JavaScript, for instance, there is no theoretical reason City Bucks shouldn’t also work in future competing app stores, on competing similar tablets... it may need no app store at all in theory. Make a game in Apple’s Objective-C, on the other hand, and you’ll have more troubles or costs switching (but also a much faster framework with potentially many more room for effects!). Also, right now, Apple doesn’t City Bucks, though they will get 30% if it’s ever going from free to paid. The game cannot be downloaded outside of Apple’s store at the moment... it relies on a specific iPad context, so putting it on the web, while technically possile, isn’t useful right now.

It’s worth noting that app store interests and creator interests are not necessary always aligned: a creator might want to publish to as many devices as possible at the same time, while a store might want to publish only to their devices (though perhaps the nicest behaving, most cross-media store will also attract the most developers one day).

Another example:

Flora vs Corpses
Creator: Team
↓ Technology & Media: Flash | Objective-C | Java
↓ Stores: Android Marketplace | Apple App Store | (plus on the web, no store needed at all)
↓ Hardware/ Media: Android phones | iPhone | iPads | web browsers
Consumer context: Casual single-player

As seen from the side:

A successful app store of the future might want to try to get as many technology & media from above distributed to as many different hardware and media below. Why shouldn’t I be able to listen to my songs on the TV, to play the game which I played in my browser last on my console today, or to use the same app I bought on both my desktop as well as my mobile phone? On the other hand, there may also be apps needing specifc hardware for their core usage... like a game which requires a multitouch interface to feel right. An app store might also want to gain trust by not allowing all creations, and not allowing low-quality devices that may disappoint users.


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