Venan Entertainment's Brandon Curiel on why developers need to take on a freemium market dominated by businessmen

Space Miner 2 on hold as studio takes new direction

Venan Entertainment's Brandon Curiel on why developers need to take on a freemium market dominated by businessmen

The last time Space Miner studio Venan Entertainment made these pages, it was owing to the honesty of lead designer Brandon Curiel, who candidly admitted the developer had made mistakes when it came to marketing its release on the App Store.

Over a year later, Curiel has once again laid open his thoughts on Venan's role in the iOS ecosystem, and he's drawn one, major conclusion: freemium is the future.

Focusing on free

It's a belief owing to the fact that, whether good or bad, freemium games now dominate the higher echelons of the top grossing chart on the App Store.

As a result, Venan has put the development of a sequel to Space Miner on hold to focus on a freemium release.

"This next product will be freemium," Curiel confirms.

"Looking at the App Store, it is becoming increasingly clear that this will be the dominant business model going forward, with eight of the top 10 grossing apps (as of this evening) being freemium games.

"Even the mighty Angry Birds finds itself out of the top grossing spot with two free titles in front of it.”

Eye on the prize

It's Curiel's belief that this is no reason to be disheartened, however. Rather, given the relative quality of many freemium games, he says, it's actually an opportunity.

"I think when you see a bunch of mediocre products making a lot of money, and a lot of great products making equal or less money, it speaks a lot to which business model is working," he says.

"And as much as I'd like to just make the games I want to make, the business side is what affords us that luxury."

As a result, Venan is working on producing a game that will outclass the majority of freemium games out there.

"Play-testing them is like pulling out my teeth. As far as I can tell it's a space dominated by good businessmen (or women) and lousy game designers. So our mantra is to make the freemium game we don't hate and hopefully find some success in the process."

[source: Venan Entertainment]

Keith Andrew
Keith Andrew
With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font. He's also Pocket Gamer's resident football gaming expert and, thanks to his work on, monitors the market share of all mobile OSes on a daily basis.