Self Aware Games: An App Catalog Success Story | webOS Nation
 
 

Self Aware Games: An App Catalog Success Story

by Robert Werlinger Sun, 21 Mar 2010 1:42 pm EDT

The App Catalog is a small pond when compared to the likes of Apple's App Store and the Android Market, and Palm's sales have been less-than-stellar as of late, but that hasn't kept one webOS development house from making some serious cash .   The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) recently had a write up on Selfaware Games, the company behind Word Ace and Card Ace: BlackJack, writing that they've been seeing tens of thousands of unique registrations every day (the vast majority coming from Palm devices), and is bringing in over $50,000 a month in revenue.  Those aren't bad results, considering there's fewer than 2,000 official applications in the Catalog and that there have been only 30 million total downloads.

The App Catalog is a small pond when compared to the likes of Apple's App Store and the Android Market, and Palm's sales have been less-than-stellar as of late, but that hasn't kept one webOS development house from making some serious cash .   The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) recently had a write up on Selfaware Games, the company behind Word Ace and Card Ace: BlackJack, writing that they've been seeing tens of thousands of unique registrations every day (the vast majority coming from Palm devices), and is bringing in over $50,000 a month in revenue.  Those aren't bad results, considering there's fewer than 2,000 official applications in the Catalog and that there have been only 30 million total downloads.

One major factor that's contributed to their success is the revenue model.  Instead of charging customers a one time fee to download their app from the App Catalog, they've eliminated that barrier of entry entirely: the game is funded entirely by in-app purchases for virtual items such as drinks and playing chips.  "App pricing is one of the most difficult (and terrifying) problems most developers face", says Selfaware co-founder Seppo Helava.  Trying to price apps so people will buy than and so you stay in business is a difficult balance.  In app purchasing?  "It's a better system for everyone". WebOS lacks in-app purchasing mechanisms currently, but as Selfaware has demonstrated, it can certainly be done.  

It also doesn't hurt that the App Catalog is smaller than competing venues, offering developers greater opportunity to have their applications discovered.  The WSJ article points out that even though Word Ace was able to penetrate the top 50 one weekend, they've yet to see the kind of response they have elsewhere from the App Catalog.

When asked about Palm's recent sales woes, the team is undaunted. "the most important thing to us is the response to our games, which has been absolutely fantastic".

What's next for Selfaware? In addition to bringing updates to their existing stable of games, they're hard at work on the next game. They couldn't delve into specifics when we talked to them, but Seppo did say this: "imagine the craziest thing you can come up with, and make it way more ridiculous, and it's probably something like that", continuing "Seriously, though - I've never been more excited about a game, and when it comes out, I'm pretty confident people's minds will be totally blown."

This is all proof positive that webOS is indeed a viable platform for developers, both big and small.  Palm's superior app distribution model and web-languages centric SDK, coupled with vastly better chances of discoverability through the on-device App Catalog than you'll find in competing stores, should make developing for (and porting to) the platform an easy choice most.  

Developers - how's the Catalog treating you?  The folks behind Selfaware can't speak for everyone, but their results can't be atypical.  Are you selling just a few apps a week, or are you enjoying success on the level of the developer noted above?  Let us know in the comments!

Thanks to mothyx for the tip!

Category: