Where to from here for SkillPod Games
There comes a time to reflect on the past, it’s been an interesting and exciting past 5 years in the life of SkillPod Media. Much has been achieved as we’ve made some great decisions and as always there have been a couple of not quiet on the money decisions, but the bottom line is we learnt valuable lessons from these and have realigned our strategy and kept moving forward. When we started, the focus was almost entirely on the development of solutions and game titles for the online web, today that has changed significantly with developers needing to focus on social media, mobile and, more specifically, Smartphone’s and tablet devices; but more recently the focus is shifting towards the increasingly sophisticated smart TV’s – we live in extremely interesting and ever changing times. At the time we started, Flash was the standard for game development, how times have changed, especially with the development community swiftly moving towards the HTML5 standard, the primary benefit being that it gives developers a solution to publish their games across the majority of platforms, with very little tweaking required.
On the development front, a lot has been achieved with regards to the online games platform seeing close to 9 version releases, allowing it to be positioned as a feature rich casual gaming solution. This includes over 600 game titles, secure high score logging, interactive post game screens, game customisation, various social features, tournaments, challenges, contests, an interactive avatar solution, trophies and virtual gifting, along with messaging to the users circle of friends and a whole lot more. The casual games platform has become the solution of choice for some of the world’s largest publishers, extending across South Africa, Netherlands, Belgium, Croatia, Nigeria, Luxembourg, India, Poland, UK, Spain, Greece, USA, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Ireland and host of other geographic deployments. The primary focus of the online solution was the provision of a premium casual gaming platform, with strong white labeling and localization capabilities; this was targeted at medium to large publishers. With this focus, the business quickly realized that many smaller publishers where eager to offer games on their sites, but didn’t have the financial resources to commission such turnkey solutions. With this in mind, the SkillPod team developed and launched a self service solution that allows publishers to sign-up online for the casual gaming platform, and effectively have a full featured games site up and running within a matter of hours, the new platform was branded as GameZBoost.com and to date has been very successful with 35 new sites being launched within its first 2 weeks of going live. The strength of the premium and self service solutions is that the entire platform and the bulk of the games can be translated into any language that the publisher requires, including Arabic, with the site and text reading from right to left.
More recently SkillPod have started developing and packaging game titles for the Apple iOS and Android devices, to date 18 titles have been developed and launched across the Android Market, iTunes and Amazon App Store, with some of the titles seeing in excess of 150,000 downloads in a single day. The business opted for 2 commercial approaches a) free games with less functionality and ad supported b) pay to download, with no ads. Of late this approach has been consolidated into a single version, which gives users the option to keep playing for free, but have ads in the games or if they so choose they can make an in-game purchase to turn off the ads. All new titles will be fully integrated with OpenFeint, Apple’s Game Centre and the Tapjoy in-game monetization solutions. The 1st of the new titles, that will have the full suite of functionality, will be Frankie Pain – a 3rd person action platform puzzle style shooter game, featuring: awards, in-game purchasing, social posting of scores, challenges, level unlocking, weapon purchasing and a large selection of other interactive features. The Apple Game Center with OpenFeint API’s, have been integrated into one of the original titles, Galactic Striker and thus far the results have been very reassuring, paving the way for the inclusion of these 3rd party solutions into more titles and the expansion of further social API’s into existing and future titles.
Currently the development team is focusing on the development and consolidation of a number of the core features and platforms into a new single game solution that will focus heavily on social interaction with rewards, as well as awards. Initially the solution will be targeted at Facebook users and will quickly be enhanced to include access from mobile web, online and IPTV devices. All titles for the new platform will be HTML5 based, with the first of these titles being earmarked for completion by end March 2012. The solution will focus on social publishing, social recognition through in-game rewards and awards. Games will feature secure high scoring, live leaderboards, challenges, in-game power-ups, virtual gifts and social interaction, whilst the Facebook Credits platform will be utilized for the micro transactions.
As a whole the future looks incredibly positive and SkillPod remain focused on the development of social games and platforms for the global community, be they web, mobile, social and / or IPTV, SkillPod wants to ensure that their users and publishing clients are able to offer a solution to their users on the platform or device of their users choice and more so to allow their users to pick up playing from where they left off.
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