Orlando, FLA-based brothers Alex and Luis Perez created their first app for Windows Phone 7 – way back in 2010! – to help people find garage sales in their local area. At the time, it was one of the first apps submitted to what was then the Windows Phone Marketplace.
“We started developing for Windows Phone in the early days,” says Luis, who oversees the code work for their company Neuralnet. “The platform was unlike anything we had seen in the market before, and we saw an opportunity.”
Unless you’ve been living in a cave without internet access for the past year or so, you’ve probably noticed that all-things Zombies are really, really hot right now. The team at Oxford-based Rebellion studios knows this very well, leading the charge when it comes to the zombie-shooter genre.
Co-founded by brothers Jason and Chris Kingsley more than 20 years ago, Rebellion is an indie games developer that creates immersive titles for gamers using PCs, consoles and mobile including Windows Phone 8 devices.
Have a look at the video below to hear directly from Jason and Chris about their games in the Windows Phone Store, and then read on to discover some of the secrets to their success …
As Jason points out: “When we say ‘free to play’, we do mean that people can download the game and play it from start to finish and not pay us a thing, which I think is brilliant value.”
At the same time, if a player wants bigger guns, or to move faster in the game, or skip levels, there are options for purchases within the games to meet those needs.
Working with Nokia
The team at Rebellion was introduced to Nokia by colleagues from Microsoft, and over the past year or so, Rebellion has developed a strong working relationship with both companies.
“We have always kept an eye on the technology scene. Nokia has always been up there in our minds as a partner to work with, and increasingly the phones are getting more computer game/console-like. And that’s getting more exciting for us,” Jason said. “Nokia are producing the type of technology which allows us to put our major games technology on to it, and deliver the kind of experience people like,” he added.
“The support from Nokia has been amazing. We really didn’t expect this level from publishers, from hardware guys,” said Chris Kingsley, Rebellion CTO. “It’s great for us to get the support that we do because it is really good for you as a company, it means other people believe in the quality and the game play and what you are doing is worthwhile,” he added.
The ease of the Windows Phone platform
At the same time, they have an obvious comfort level with the Windows Phone platform, too.
“We’ve been [making games] for 20 years … so making games for Windows Phone is very easy if you’re doing stuff for other Windows platforms,” Chris said. “So it is really a bit of a no-brainer for us.”
Jason agreed, adding: “The technology that is in the phone is broadly similar to what we have on consoles. At some stage it will probably catch up … and that means we can make the kind of complex, in-depth and interesting games that we have been interested in doing on the PC, and we can introduce them to a different form factor.”
There is also a difference when it comes to app testing. “The base line [of Nokia Windows Phones] is very powerful so we can build up from there,” Chris said. “We don’t have to worry about the level of fragmentation so we don’t have to dumb our games down. We don’t have to QA millions and millions of different types of hardware.”
What does the future hold for Rebellion?
“There’s no doubt that Windows Phone will continue to succeed as a gaming platform,” said Jason. “They [Microsoft] have put games at the forefront of the Windows store, and helped developers like us spread the word about our games through PR and social media.”
Jason adds: “Our most recent Windows Phone game – Zombie HQ – can also be played using an Xbox controller on Windows RT and Windows 8. We think lots of developers will really get behind features like this, and it’s just another reason for us to bring more games to Windows Phone in the future.”
If you’d like a quick overview of how to publish your Java apps for the new Nokia Asha software platform (and for Series 40 Developer Platform), we’ve prepared a set of slides so you can easily see all the main steps, as well as how Nokia Publishing works in general. There is also more information about new Nokia Asha platform requirements.
We hope you’ll find these slides useful. If you have questions, comments, or development ideas, feel free to contact us at Publisher Support:
Do you develop apps and content for Nokia Asha Series 40 phones? Interested in winning cash prizes and Nokia promotions? Then the Nokia Asha Developer Competition is for you.
For apps submitted to Nokia Store between now and June 30th, 2013, we’re giving awards for the best apps in four Asha categories: music and entertainment; games; utilities and productivity; and news and information. For each of these categories, we’ll be awarding three cash prizes: 25,000 euros for first place, 15,000 euros for second place, and 10,000 euros for third place. In addition, we have three special prizes of 10,000 euros each for the best user experience, best web app, and best new idea.
To top it all off, we’ll promote winning apps in Nokia channel campaigns and present them in targeted communications to other developers to give the winners even more exposure.
To qualify, your app must be designed to run on Nokia Asha Touch phones, and will ideally use at least one of Nokia’s monetisation methods: in-app purchasing or the Nokia Ad Exchange (NAX). The competition is open to developers from around the world—just make sure you publish in Nokia Store by June 30th, 2013.
Ready to accept the challenge? Then get your app ready and enter the Nokia Asha Developer Competition!
For Dangling Concepts, the US-based developer of Air Soccer Fever, using Nokia Ad Exchange (NAX) to increase the mobile game’s discoverability is a winning move. This past December and January, when Air Soccer Fever was featured in a NAX ad campaign, daily downloads of the game to Windows Phone devices more than doubled, from 1,500 a day to 3,200.
Air Soccer Fever is a casual swipe soccer game available for both Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 smartphones, and Windows 8 tablets. Available in both free and $0.99 (USD) Pro versions, the game can be played by either one or two persons in the same room or by multiple online and Wi-Fi players in real time.
NAX is a private mobile advertising exchange offered by Nokia that offers app developers and publishers access to more than 120 ad agencies and networks worldwide. NAX also lets publishers incorporate in-app advertising and gives them a dashboard to track their apps’ performance. NAX can be used for both free house campaigns aimed at cross-promoting apps and paid campaigns in which developers bid for ad space on the apps of others.
‘Integrating NAX ads was very straightforward’, says Imran Shafiq, president of Dangling Concepts. ‘We had no issues or bugs, so we spent no time in troubleshooting.’
Because Air Soccer Fever is truly a global game – it lets players choose teams from 100 nations around the world—Shafiq uses the NAX dashboard to target specific countries based on their ad prices. ‘The NAX dashboard is one of the best we have seen’, he says. ‘The UI is clean, and it has great features.’
One feature Shafiq finds especially useful within the analytics dashboard is ‘Performance by Country’ option. This shows a breakdown of ads served by country, along with their comparative costs (expressed as cost per thousand, or CPM). ‘That way’, Shafiq explains, ‘we can fine-tune our ad targeting’. The result: In last 2 months, NAX provided 40% of total ad traffic and revenue for Dangling Concepts. This month Shafiq and his team have redirected more traffic to NAX due to great eCPMs as compared to other ad networks. According to Shafiq, NAX will provide 70% of the overall ad revenue moving forward.
Although Air Soccer Fever has not yet been promoted with either paid ad campaigns or house ads, Dangling Concepts plans to try both soon. For example, when the developer releases his next new game, the game will display house ads for Air Soccer Fever to cross-promote and drive downloads. These cross-promotional opportunities could be impressive: every day, an average of 15,000 unique users play Air Soccer Fever, according to Flurry Analytics figures cited by Shafiq.
Dangling Concepts also finds that when it comes to in-app ads, a little restraint can be beneficial. The free version of Air Soccer Fever shows ads only when the game is paused, never during game action. Similarly, the game’s menu pages only show ads at the bottom of the page, so the ads do not cover or overlap the menu UI. This restrained approach seems to work: Shafiq reports ‘great’ click-through rates on Air Soccer Fever ads, in some regions reaching as high as 15 per cent.
Check out the latest news from, Sanoma Group, one of the largest media companies in Finland. They just came out with an interesting press release for those of you who are interested in evaluating the business case for developing on Windows Phone.
A couple of highlights from a Nokia perspecitve:
“Nokia is a favourite among Finns
The visitor statistics of Sanoma online services also indicate changes in the popularity of mobile devices. It seems that Finns really embraced Nokia Lumia last year.
”Sanoma’s network and number of mobile visitors indicates that the total traffic from Lumia phones exceeded that from Android phones in the summer and it also reached the traffic level of the iPhone at year-end,” says Anders Stenbäck, Director of Sanoma’s digital partnerships.
In the autumn, Sanoma and Nokia launched co-operation through which new Lumia phones have Helsingin Sanomat and Ilta-Sanomat apps pre-installed.
“The co-operation with Nokia has been productive and it has also clearly increased the number of users of our Windows apps. Finland still remains Nokialand,” says Stenbäck.”
Integrated operator billing helps developers by offering their consumers a seamless purchasing experience as well as a secure transaction model for those who do not own or are reticent about using their credit cards to make online purchases.
As we continue to focus on creating enhanced revenue opportunities for our developers, Nokia has extended its ecosystem of operator billing partners with Nokia Store to include Idea Cellular in India. This partnership will make Nokia Store easily accessible to millions of Idea Cellular consumers, allowing them to use their Nokia phones to consume premium content from Nokia Store and pay for it via their pre-paid or post-paid accounts.
We understand that for a developer, marketing an application effectively is a key to succeeding in the market. To help developers effectively market their apps, we have been actively working on a suite of marketing tools for your apps called “Marketing in a Box”. Today we are introducing Marketing in a Box beta. This suite of tools will help developers create winning app marketing strategies and the assets to support them.
Marketing in a Box contains two key elements:
Marketing guidance — guides and videos covering the complete spectrum of app marketing (marketing basics, launching an app, and using digital media, among others).
Digital Marketing Toolkit — both existing tools, such as OMT, and new tools to create promo videos and various web content to support marketing activities.
The Marketing guidance material will take developers through:
Conception — what to do while their app is in planning and early development.
Buzz — how to build interest in the app from beta testing to launch.
Launch — how to effectively launch their app.
Community — how to build a community of users to support and spread the word about the app.
Today at the Microsoft Build conference we are announcing the Nokia Premium Developer Program, a program designed to make building Windows Phone apps faster, better and more affordable.
The Nokia Premium Developer Program is a package of Windows Phone-related tools and services designed to help you develop great looking, high-performance apps for Nokia Lumia smartphones. For a program membership cost of only $99 (USD)/year, you’ll get tools and services with a suggested retail value of up to $1,500 (USD).
The program includes:
1 year membership in Microsoft Windows Phone Dev Center
1 license for Telerik RadControls for Windows Phone
1 million API calls per calendar month with Buddy’s cloud API offering
We are pleased to introduce the Nokia Ad Exchange service that helps you monetise your app by connecting it to over 120 ad networks worldwide.
Nokia Ad Exchange is a private mobile advertising exchange that offers access to the top ad networks in the world. With one API and one partner, you’ll get access to over 120 ad agencies and networks worldwide.