Earlier on in the week, Digital Chocolate founder and CEO Trip Hawkins seemed to suggest in a BusinessWeek interview that his company was planning to release 100 games for iPhone and iPod touch this year.
Frankly, we were surprised. Surely there must have been some confusion in terms of Lite versions or micro-transaction packs? A hundred games seems rather a lot.
The following is the typically epic response we got from Trip when we asked him about those ‘100 games’.
We also asked about the 'I Beat Trip' achievement that is being added to some DChoc, hence his final comment.
If you know our history then you know that we, like Gameloft, make dozens of new games every year and that we already have a catalogue of 80 award-winning games. We have launched over 30 new award-winning games just since the start of last year. And our unique technology model and how we develop our creative assets gives us greater agility across a wider range of platforms than most companies.
As a result it is typical for us to address any meaningful channel or platform or device with both scale and quality. I therefore expect not just 100 games on a great platform [iPhone], I expect 100 award-winning and highly-rated games.
We are within range of achieving this goal for Java and BREW and beyond the iPhone I expect us to also achieve it for the web, Windows Mobile, RIM [BlackBerry], Android and other platforms. Since we don’t get ahead of ourselves on disclosing business plan details, you’ll have to wait for more details as they become available.
The iPhone is a current example of how we can achieve both scale and quality.
We are the most-reviewed game publisher in the history of the App Store and we have received the most 5-star reviews of any game publisher. We have also had the most downloads. We have also had the most apps that have reached the #1 spot on the App Store (five of them, most recently the well-regarded Rollercoaster Rush which remained #1 for nearly two weeks).
Considering that perhaps only 50 apps out of 50,000 have ever ranked #1 it is remarkable that we have done it five times in five months. Also, with the release of 3D Rollercoaster Rush, nine of our games have charted in the Top 100 for unit volume on paid games.
In addition, right now we have four of the Top 56 paid games in unit volume. More notably - since so many of the games on that list are 99 cent games - if you look at the games priced above 99 cents that are selling in volume - i.e. the games making the most money - Digital Chocolate has four, EA has six (of which two are in-house brands and four are licenses), Sega and Gamevil have two each. Nobody else has more than one.
We have also released more games in recent months than any other major publisher, so we are now operating at impressive scale.
Apple customers like our games, they tell their friends about them, they review them and they buy them.
And the consumer activity noted above should confirm that Apple customers are enjoying our games. If they did not, they would download something else and not give us so many great reviews.
I find it remarkable that we are now approaching 1,000,000 consumer reviews on the App Store. We have created quite a stir - apparently enough for a leading competitor to make defensive remarks.
Since it has only been six months on the iPhone, we are still on a steep learning curve. Some of our recent work such as California Gold Rush, Rollercoaster Rush 3D and Tower Bloxx Live reflect our expanding feature set and improving understanding of how to please Apple customers.
I don’t recall exactly how the 'I Beat Trip' idea got started but is one of our goals to add social value to our games in a variety of ways. And the best is yet to come!