Rebellion: A Windows Phone success story
Posted on September 25, 2013
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 …
Their best-known game in the Windows Phone Store is Dredd vs. Zombies, a top-down, 3D shooter game for touch-screen devices that surpassed one million downloads across Windows Store and Windows Phone Store.
Rebellion CEO and co-founder Jason Kingsley believes this is testament to Windows Phone’s growing clout among gamers.
Where it gets interesting is the fact that Dredd vs. Zombies - and all of Rebellion’s games - are completely free to download and play. So how are they making money? They include various options for in-app purchases, successfully riding the wave of a growing trend in mobile.
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.”