Pocket Creatures's creator Asbjoern Malte Soendergaard on harnessing the Tamagotchi spirit
Using updates to drive daily usage
Moving from working on Crysis to iPhone games might seem like a jump, but Asbjoern Malte Soendergaard, co-founder of Danish studio Tactile, seems to be enjoying the change.
Its second game Pocket Creatures is taking the Pocket God route, with regular updates keeping the faithful happy and encouraging new gamers.
We caught up with Asbjoern to find out how the strategy's paying off.Pocket Gamer: What was your original inspiration for Pocket Creatures?
Asbjoern Malte Soendergaard: Lots of things, but primarily Tamagotchi and Black & White, and then later on, titles such as Pocket God and FarmVille became sources of inspiration.Has this changed following any feedback you've got?
Not really. I think that our vision for the game and the continuous updates are pretty well in sync with the feedback we are getting from our community. But one thing is for certain, the feedback and ideas are a strong source for inspiration for us when we are making new content and updates.Why did you swap it from being categorised as a game to entertainment app after release?
We feel that the best fit for Pocket Creatures, being a very casual experience with lots of mini-games, is the entertainment section.How important are the updates in terms driving current users back to the game, as well as encouraging new players?
The updates are key to us. They continue to add gameplay hours to the game. In this way, new players get more for their buck and the game remains fresh to the gamers that have it already installed.What kind of activity do you see in terms of daily use. I.e. are people playing Pocket Creatures as a game or more as a regular Tamagotchi experience?
What we see is a significant increase in gameplay activity around the release of our updates - most likely because people are experimenting with the new content.
But there is no doubt our users are checking up on their creatures on a regular basis, which adds a completely different aspect to the game from what you normally see in the App Store.How do you design the updates and how many have you got planned?
Right now we have the next four updates planned (as rough ideas): they might change once we get further along. But these updates are the concrete ones.
We have so many ideas for how to evolve the game, and we intend to keep the updates coming on a regular basis.Do you think you'll ever include in-app purchases?
Right now our sole focus is on delivering maximum quality to the people who bought the game using free updates.What's next for Tactile?
We will release our next game some time around the end of August, beginning of September. Unfortunately, I can't talk that much about it yet.Thanks to Asbjoern for his time. Pocket Creatures is out now, priced $2.99, €2.39 or £1.79, as is its fourth free update, the line-drawing mini-game Bug Control.