The Innovators of Appsworld

Appsworld, the leading multi platform developer’s event, is now in it’s fourth year. On the 22nd and 23rd of October, the event will host luminaries of the industry, such as Steve Wozniak, the co founder of Apple, and Trip Hawkins, the founder of EA. It promises to be an essential gathering for experienced and new developers alike, where knowledge can be shared and new software demonstrated.

It would be expected that most of the attendees would be games developers, looking to make the next big smartphone game. However, reading through the speakers list brings up some surprising companies. Why are asos, the clothing website, there? Or McDonalds? Or Tesco? This shows that these are companies who are using app technology in new and exciting ways. Just how is the technology being used now by this year’s speakers? (All apps mentioned are linked by company name).

Food apps

Several fast food companies, such as McDonalds, Starbucks, and Subway, are increasingly using app technology to interact with their customers. McDonald’s use the app to deliver nutritional information about their menu and information about their locations, but also for more direct communication with the user. They are currently running a competition via the app for users to win a free iced frappe when they upload their very own advert.

The Starbucks app, on the other hand, actually acts as a digital stand in for the Starbucks Card. Using this, customers can transfer funds to the card, pay for their goods and automatically log ‘Stars’ in their rewards system. Doing so creates a ‘one stop shop’ for Starbucks customers.

TV apps

The TV apps represented at Appsworld all offer services allowing users to watch their programming on demand, which is a huge step forward in the technology and the way we watch TV. The BBC iPlayer app is one of several services the BBC offer, alongside their News and Weather apps.

However, other players are taking the technology one step further. Sky offer a Sky+ app, allowing Sky users to remotely manage their recorded shows on their phone, as well as wifi app that allows users to use their service on the go, and their own betting app. ITV offer a unique service, where several of their own shows, such as Britain’s Got Talent, The Cube, and The Only Way is Essex have their own dedicated apps. These are a new way of getting viewers involved with their shows, and an interesting use of the technology.

Shopping apps

There are a plethora of stores that are now embracing app technology as another marketplace for their wares. asos, Argos and Tesco all have apps allowing their customers to shop their phone, with Tesco also developing the technology to allow customers to use the phone as a Clubcard, in much the same way as Starbucks are doing. However, The North Face have taken advantage of the technology to create Snow Report. This app is designed with ski enthusiasts in mind, telling them where the best ‘powder’ is, and updating them on the resorts with the best current conditions.

Entertainment apps

The advances in entertainment that have been made in app technology are simply too numerous to describe, but there are two interesting examples on the Appsworld speakers list. The first is Shazam, an app that ‘listens’ to any music that the user holds their phone up to, telling the track name and artist. It also allows them to buy the track directly from the app. This is a prime example of the technology solving a problem we didn’t even know we had.

The second is Disney. They have several apps and games, mostly related to their cinema releases (although they were the company behind the hit game Where’s My Water?). They are now experimenting with the technology to create ‘Second Screen’ screenings of their classic films, allowing viewers to interact with each other and play games and quizzes as they watch.

There’s plenty of exciting things happening in the app development field, as this by no means exhaustive list proves. Anyone attending Appsworld will surely come away with hundreds of ideas as to where to take the technology next,.

Dojit Games will be in attendance at Appsworld this year, so if you see us please come and say hi! We’ve been working on our own technology, Dojit Notify, which will help developers use push notification technology more effectively to really connect with their users. See you there!

Launch Conference Student Developers Prize

dojit notify allows developers to create and manage messages targeted at individual players based on defined set of rules. The online service with application plugin is easy to setup and has a simple monthly subscription. We believe this is a unique service which all game and application designers would use to generate  their own successful customer retention strategy.

So we are giving away 10 annual licences to students during Launch Conference 2013. Just apply below:

The prizes will be given away during the Launch Conference 2013.

LAUNCH Future Gaming and Digital conference

LAUNCH Future Gaming and Digital conference 21st – 22nd November 2013

 

Dojit will have a stand at Launch 2013

 

LAUNCH: Future Gaming & Digital Conference is the leading two day industry focused conference in the Midlands for indie developers. The line up features expert speakers and demonstrations from the games industry for nearly 300 people.

The theme for this years conference is “LAUNCH a Career, LAUNCH a Product, LAUNCH a Business”. So come and see us on Thursday 21st November 2013, focusing on:

Launch a product, launch a business

Themes include: studio and culture management, bootstrapping guide for start-ups, audience development, platform and technology opportunities for developers, funding options and more. More details are available at http://launchconference.co.uk/

Contact us to arrange a meeting

Develop in Brighton Round Up.

Develop wrapped up on the 12th and you would say it was a success. With many key people from the industry attending and gathering here in the UK, giving information packed keynotes. We picked out a few stand out keynotes that were uploaded onto the develop Youtube page which we will imbed in this post.

Mark Cerny of Cerny Games and Sony. He talked early days of development of the Sony PlayStation, how they bought in small teams like Naughty Dog who only had small teams working on games, an artist and an developer in some cases. Giving these small teams and chance and now developing smash hit games like Uncharted and Last of Us.

 

Robert Morgan of Sony London talks about improving video game story, keeping the player emotionally attached. This personally was an issue with Last of US. The cutscenes and periods of gameplay that were not heavily focused on shooting were varying gripping. But as soon as the game started throwing hordes of enemies at you, it took you out the emotion and it really felt like a game.

 

Dragon Cancer was shown at develop conference. It was developed by Ryan Green and Josh Larson in America. It is a bout Ryan Green’s son Joel’s battle with cancer. It recreates and retells a moment in the battle in point and click type adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

Gamescom

This years Gamescom will kick off on 21st of August. Europe has got its games conference we’ve always wanted, yet not as glamorous and or has media frenzy as E3 in LA, it still will see the big three in industry show up.

Gamescom opens open to trade and the general public, which E3 has been restricted to developers and press only. This gives the public access to demos and coming soon games on the show floor.

What should you expect on the show floor? There will be playable versions of PS4, Xbox One and the Wii U. Rockstar could have a playable version of their much anticipated GTA 5 game that is due to be launched September 17.

Microsoft have announced they will be looking to hold a press conference, maybe to fix their shambolic showing at E3 and their Xbox One announcement. After the 180 on their DRM policy Microsoft will be looking to win over the gaming industry with you would hope some features and unannounced first party titles which Microsoft have been working.

Sony has promised Gamescom to be the Sony Vita show. There was a lack of focus on the Vita at E3 that left the adopters of the handheld a little disappointed. There was a mention of Walking Dead: 400 Days coming to the system, along with a new bundle but that was about it. Sony will look to announce titles for the Vita as the library of games is looking bleak. But the indie presence on the system is ever growing with more and more developers opting to develop for Sony system, games like Limbo and Hotline Miami being released.

Nintendo bailed on Gamescom last year’s show but this year they return, to show off no doubt its first party titles.

Other publishers attending this year include Bethesda, EA, Konami and others.

Be sure to check back on blogs about us talking about what went on at Gamescom.

Evolve in Brighton

The popular Evolve in Brighton conference returns on July 9th.

Evolve is part of the Develop in Brighton conference that has been hugely successful since it started in 2006, it is a conference for both indie and established developers. Learning about markets, new technology, platforms and game development.

The conference also covers a business, coding, game design, art and audio. Also a great place for people within the games industry to network

This year’s event will take place between July 9th and 11th at the Hilton Brighton Metropole, and will kick off with ‘Innovation and Change’ during the Evolve sessions on the first day.

There will be many industry greats speaking at the conference such as Mark Cerny the lead Architect at Sony for the PlayStation 4, will be talking about Developing into the Next Generation. Will be great to hear from Mark, as his vision for PlayStation 4 is one of the main reasons for the positive reaction from the media and games journalists.

David Solari Chief Marketing Officer of UK based Jagex Game Studio, will also be speaking at the conference. We will see a healthy number of UK based game’s studios in Brighton on Tuesday.

Be sure to check out the website for more information.

A New Experience – Working in the games industry

Hey there, Usman here!

This is a new experience for me and you could say a dream come true. I’ve always wanted to work in the games industry in some capacity and now I have the chance. Dojit has given me the opportunity work as Marketing assistant and join a talented team to learn and earn some valuable experience with.

I have experience working with top brand names in the technology industry, companies like Microsoft, Lenovo and Samsung, training staff members in PC World and John Lewis on new products such as Windows 8, Lenovo Yoga Book and Samsung Galaxy S4. This has been a good experience as you can bring great product awareness to the staff members and raise sales, which will help both store and the company represented. It also brings brand awareness to the customers; they experience new technology products and learn something new as they come into the store. Now, with the opportunity of working in the games industry, it will take my experience to the next level and advance my career.

Now on to the fun stuff! I love video games! I have been a gamer since the days of the Super Nintendo. Playing Super Mario and Legend of Zelda: Link To The Past early morning before school was the most enjoyable experience’s I had. Getting that once stage further in Mario or finding that heart peace or killing a boss in Zelda was what I lived for back then. Then I moved onto the N64, PS1 and we entered the 3D era. Seeing Link and Mario characters and worlds in fully 3D changed the way we all looked at games.

Jumping all the way to current generation, gaming has changed a lot; we live in an always-connected world, connecting us to people all over in online multiplayer games. We’ve also entered a time of casual games. Games we can play on our mobile phones or in Facebook on a web browser. People do not have the time to put in hours into games on their consoles or PC’s but can spend 10mins on their commute playing Farmville or Candy Crush Saga.  The casual games I am playing at the moment are Angry Birds Star Wars and Plants Vs Zombies. It’s very satisfying to get past a level in a short amount of time and easy to pick up again.

Hope you enjoyed my first post, will be hoping to bring you fun and informative content in the future

Dojit Blog about Ian Livingstone speech Part 2.

Seeing Ian Livingston was a revelation for me personally. It was the catalyst to me wanting to join dojit games and make a dent in the universe. To do something positive, to create games which add value, which teach things, which change the world and mind of the player – even if only for a minute.

I don’t know if Ian had such dreams when they started with Fighting Fantasy or with Games Workshop or even with Lara Croft and Edios studios – but I do know he has a massive passion for what gaming itself (as an industry) will do for the UK economy and for society in general.

To read more about it – I would suggest you read Gen Next – which outlines some great ideas on how the government can help the gaming industry which is set to contribute just under 1 billion to GDP in 2013 and has the potential of turning over more revenue than filming and music combined for the UK.

And yet when do you hear such news? Ian’s rally cry is around this. And an inspiration to all of us involved in UK mobile gaming development.  His points are two fold – both which ring home true for dojit.

One, education is all important. Not just stealth education through the gamifaction of education (which we as a company are doing with titles like Soccer Zillionaire) but also hand on skills education of the next generation. As Ian put it – “We are teaching people how to read but not how to write.” It is this writing which is essential for the growth of mobile gaming development in the UK.

We know this at dojit games and therefore try to give as many interns positions as possible. We give them the hand ons training in a work environment to work on real projects they need. With dojit you will make real games, you will make a difference. BUT we cannot make interns know about coding, about programming, about UX – this is the job of universities, of schools and of the government to get such coding into the curriculum.

His other point – branches into five sub points – all worth covering – as important to the mobile gaming industry as well as the more traditional gaming industries which Ian’s Lara Coft was born from. This is what Ian called the 5 P’s.  Perception, Pipes, Property, Pounds and People.

I will go through those more relevant to dojit for speed and ease. The three takeaways for me are:

Perception:

Having to change the instant though and public view of computer games as just Grand Theft Auto (but we should be proud of that too…) but more into the worlds of social, casual, and positive gaming experiences. Something we do here at dojit – and so our successes will help this process. As will the success of

Pounds

With gaming bringing in more money into the UK than film and music combined we can make a very solid case for more funding. Not just for individual companies like dojit, but for collaboration projects and for the gamifaction of new areas where we might see instant returns like health or education. Some in roads are already being made with organisations like Creative England and their £250,000 fund into health apps in March 2013.

People

Gaming companies also need the people with the right skills for the job, not just the technical people who make great code, but those softer skills in social media, in mobile marketing, in UX design, in the things that made games like Angry Birds and Clash of Clans such successes.  We need people with passion for games – something we have hear at dojit games. Want to join us? 

Dojit Blog about Ian Livingstone speech: Part 1.

It was interesting to hear the man speak.

To some his books became the gamifaction of literature (Fighting Fantasy) to others he was responsible for their high school crush on a computer game (with Lara Croft) and to those even older – he was the reason they may have got dressed up as a wizard once or twice to often to roll dice in a dungeon with his Games Workshops monopolies.
No matter who he is to you (and to some young people he is simply nothing at all) the ideas of Ian Livingstone to me are more relevant today with us at Dojit Games than ever before.
As Dojit, like Ian’s first works, doesn’t know how big they will become. We just don’t know if happy and optimistic gaming to help children interact with mobiles, will catch on as much as the “almost bigger than bond” figure of Lara Croft. Even as a concept.
But what did we learn from him?
Ian’s first business, with Lara Croft (first called Lara Cruz) planned to hope to sell ½ million for the whole duration of the game’s life. In the end, they sold 7 million in first year and now more than 20 years on, and a couple of heart breaks later, Lara Croft has sold over 30 million copies had countless spin offs into mercanising and IP. Giving those working on it and in it a billion pounds worth of revenue. Add to this getting to meet Angelina Jolie a couple of times and those films bringing in another ½ billion and you can see a very happy man take to the stage at #yourcreativefuture in his home town of Manchester. So the take home – Create your own IP and retain the ownership no matter what. As Ian said – “Control your own destiny. Don’t have someone do it for you”.
Could our Home Bear – become a soft toy? Could we launch a series of geo location toys? Who knows?
Another thing we learnt from the talk was “do what you are good at – and nothing else”. Ian learnt this the hard way. Did you know that at the peak of Lara Croft mania, the company got so big that they even recorded an album! Which they never launched, I have heard it – it is awful (truly awful) but the company in the end knew it was bad and had the decency to never launch it…
Would Ian had done things differently with his amazing successes? I don’t think so I have the feeling not.
But did he had any tips for us, brand new start up businesses, making games for mobile phones?
He did. But strangely not directly even though he admitted that whilst the games industry is now worth $50 billion and predicted to grow to $90 billion by 2015, that this was the year of the tipping point for digital downloads. And as he put it – Once this has happened you can never go back.
And so this changes the infrastructure, it changes the ecology and the ecosystem for gaming in general. With a now huge opportunity for the right people to make mini games companies and do very well i.e. he used for example – the one Danish guy made Minecraft. But as he put it – For every one Angry Birds there are a million dead birds. Even Rovio, Angry Birds developers, had 57 no shows before their iconic success.
No matter whether it is digital download, freemium (which he thinks is the way to go citing Clash of Clan’s in app purchase model now creating $1 million a day, or triple AAA big releases, for Ian it’s all about the gameplay and nothing else. As he said it “otherwise you would be making films”. For computer games – it’s the experience of playing not of viewing that makes the difference. Our takeway – UX is EVERYTHING.

Kingston University

inKUbator Games Studio

On Wednesday 13th February,  dojit’s CEO was talking to students at inKUbator Games Studio within Kingston University. The university has numerous courses, Games Development MA/MSC and Games technology BSC students. I met the students in the inKUbator Games Studio which seats around 60 students and was impressed by the number who were creating real games. These were working in teams to create games, mostly using Unity. It was a great space with six large projector screens in the laboratory allow students to view my lecture material and demo of Soccer Zillionaire. Always great to see a good space for creative games developers at universities.

After an hours talking with students, my train calling me home, I walked away thinking:

  • What creative ideas they had
  • Passionate Gaming Students
  • Amazing enthusiasm

We are always looking for creative graduates and interns to join us, so please email us on jobs @ dojit.com.