Category Archives: Analysis

Clash Royale: Supercell reinvents broadcasting

What’s been released in the past month, has topped the App Store and just happens to offer an insight into the future of watching video on the go? The answer is Clash Royale.

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Patreon: How Freemium Is Working For Games Journalists

Games journalism in a more traditional form has reached something of a financial crisis point. The collapse of web advertising revenues, inflationary pressures in the wider economy and the continued circumvention of the major sites in favour of powerful new channels (Youtube almost literally being one of those channels), has had a serious effect on the industry.

In the past year alone, dozens of journalists have traded the insecurity of games journalism for the security of work within gaming related industries. Long serving publications such as Computer and Video Games have closed, while newer digital sites like Joystiq have felt the fall of the executioner’s axe in the past 12 months.

Yet as we say that, the past year has seen the rise of a service that seems to offer a lifeline for writers. Crowdfunding subscription service Patreon has grown significantly over the past two years and, importantly for the industry, has helped a number of journalists sustainably fund seemingly unsustainable niche projects continuously and successfully.

And the reason why it has done so well is that it has offered journalists their first real opportunity to intelligently make money from a free service. Patreon works well for games journalists because it opens them up to a world of money making freedom that many game developers, particularly in mobile, have entered in the past few years. The evidence I’ve gathered below hopefully sheds light on how it has worked for them and why it might be worth more content creators considering it.

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Five lessons from app discovery services that are still relevant to mobile marketing

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App discovery services have died a slow and somewhat protracted death over the past few years. Since the introduction of the notorious 2.25 clause in the rules of the app store, services like App Gratis, Free App Magic and Free App A Day have faded pretty much into irrelevance in the app marketing landscape.

It’s something I know all to well, considering that part of the reason I became a freelancer was to escape the ship as it slowly slipped beneath the surface. But I’ve realised that there is a lot of knowledge and information that came out of those services that both a) remain relevant today and b) haven’t really been reported.

So I’m going to take this week to outline a few of the key things I learned when working for such a service and how those lessons remain useful in the app economy today.

Note: In general, where possible, I’ve avoided quoting exact statistics due to the fact that I’m not really sure where I stand legally on citing them. Rest assured, I am not simply pulling fake figures out of my arse and if you want to challenge me on them feel free to.

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By the Book: How Swiftkey Perfected Their App Launch

For many a year, the joys of truly brilliant predictive text remained in the hands of Android users alone. Swiftkey, in my book the best third party keyboard in the business, had carved out an impressive paid audience in the Google Play wilderness by building an excellent product that evolved to include multiple languages, that helped users customise the input method to choose their style and that one upped rivals by taking their best features and adapting them.

But until January 2014, they lacked an iOS presence to call their own. As a result of Apple’s negative stance on third party applications playing around with their inbuilt features, Swiftkey had to labour outside of Apple’s walled garden.

That’s all changed with the launch of Swiftkey Note however. Utilising their magical typing tech within a notepad app, the company has managed to generate acres of coverage and the kind of visibility for their app that most developers launching for the first time could only dream of – including a place in the overall top 50 rankings in the US, UK, Germany and Italy on iPhone and iPad without spending a dime of UA money. While I have a long standing admiration for Swiftkey due to the employees I’ve met there and the long hours of usage I’ve gotten from their keyboards, there are some really clear lessons about launching an app successfully that it’d be remiss of me not to talk about it.

So I’ve decided to look in depth at the launch of their app and determine what exactly they did to make things go so swimmingly. A lot of it might seem like common sense but getting these simple things right could easily help you propel your own app into the launch stratosphere.

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