Why Mad Men Are Getting Into Game Development
DOJO founders Geoff Edwards and Mauro Alencar are marketing industry vets. They’ve led campaigns at some of the largest firms, including Publicis and DDB. And they’ve completed perform for some of the most recognizable names in customer branding — Budweiser, Gatorade, Hewlett-Packard and Wells Fargo, to name just a couple of.
But now the duo is taking its ad agency into an entirely distinct direction: iOS game development.
The modest San Francisco-based shop has released Abductionary, a word puzzle game for the iPad. It’s the agency’s first app created with no client backing or for any sort of higher marketing purposes. And as far as Edwards and Alencar know, DOJO is the only marketing agency to launch a side organization in independent app development.
“From the get go when we began our firm, we designated some of our revenue to developing our own stuff,” Alencar told Wired. “We funded this ourselves and we think that if it reduces our margin in certain cases, it is absolutely worth it. We’re investing in our tips and ourselves.”
Whilst it’s common for ad agencies to develop apps, they’re most frequently in the service of a certain client. For example, Goodby Silverstein & Partners launched the Chevy Game Time app this past Superbowl, and Clemenger BBDO lately released an app for Pepsi named Pepsi Max Leading Mates. DOJO also has experience in this area of app development, getting produced AT&T’s JustUS Android app final year.
For an ad agency, this model makes total sense. You directly charge your clients for all the expenses related with producing apps, websites, commercials, and print advertisements. It’s a guaranteed revenue stream — and by creating apps for other individuals, you create your own in-property expertise.
But DOJO desires to make positive it can survive beyond the standard client-agency relationship, and that is where Abductionary comes in.
“We’re in an business where we use all of our efforts making temporary things for others — issues that regardless of how excellent they are, have a lifespan,” Alencar mentioned. “They create revenue for the firm for a particular quantity of time and then that income goes away. When you develop technologies like software, like a game, that individuals like, you can continue to update with new functions. It generates revenue for the business for an unlimited amount of time.”
In other words, DOJO wants to get into a developing, cash-making market. And taking into consideration that a current Nielsen report discovered that apps per smartphone have elevated 28 percent in the past year, from 32 to 41 apps, it makes total sense. Nielsen even dubbed 2012 “the year of the app.”
Making a game was specially appealing for the DOJO team. The agency is familiar with the gaming business, possessing worked with clients like Activision, the firm behind Contact of Duty and Guitar Hero, as properly as French game publisher Ubisoft.
Of course, not all iOS game developers make a ton of income from their apps, particularly when you take into account how much it costs to develop the software.
Emeric Thoa, the co-founder of indie game developer The Game Bankers, wrote an insightful post earlier this year detailing how significantly app developers can count on to make with their iOS games.
Thao found that App Store blockbuster hits can earn a hefty pile of money. For example, Chillingo’s Cut the Rope sold three million games at $ 1 in six weeks, and Tiny Wings sold three million copies at $ 1 in just two weeks. And naturally, over time, each of these games continue to create revenue.
But these breakout successes aren’t commonplace. More usually, excellent iOS games from indie developers will make a modest sum. Flower Garden raked in $ 21,000 more than the course of eight months, and Thao’s personal game SQUIDS grossed $ 75,000 in the 1st month.
“As for the income itself, even although SQUIDS hasn’t created us rich so far, revenues from the iOS version have nearly covered our development expenses,” Thao writes in his post. “And we are confident that its upcoming release on other platforms will make the game profitable and allow us to develop a sequel.”
But even though DOJO hopes to get a piece of the iOS app pie, money was not the driving force behind producing an iOS game.
“Of course we’d really like it if the game took off. Hey, it is our child — each and every parent loves to see his or her offspring succeed.” Edwards told Wired. “But we genuinely did it as a learning and creative work.”
Whilst Mad Males makes ’60s-era marketing appear fresh and creative, we don’t typically view contemporary advertising agencies in the very same positive light. Nonetheless, today’s ad agencies are often staffed with just the appropriate type of talent to develop innovative software. DOJO saw this in its workforce, and felt it only all-natural for the agency to take its expertise in games to produce its own item.
“Under the very very same roof, we have individuals who are remarkable storytellers and individuals who are remarkable at creating visuals. Then we have genuinely great programmers who can turn these two things into an interactive experience,” Alencar said.
The result is Abductionary, an iPad game that takes elements from word games like Scrabble and Words With Close friends, and pairs them with time limitations, like what you knowledge in Tetris and Tiny Wings. In the game, you’re cast in the role of an alien who has abducted human beings in order to discover their language. (The game is at present obtainable in English, Spanish and Portuguese.)
As letters fall into a machine referred to as the Language Extractor 6000, your target is to form words as quickly as achievable. You’re awarded points for the words you form based on the word’s length and letters utilized. If you swiftly form a lot of words, you’ll acquire access to power-ups — for example, your letters will fall far more slowly, or you will get a mystery tile that can be utilised as any letter. (Scrabble much?)
And the a lot more letters you don’t use, the much more the machine overheats, and the faster the game ends.
As far as iPad games go, Abductionary delivers just the appropriate quantity of challenge to be addictive — it is not so simple that you get bored, and not so challenging that you get frustrated. And the music and visuals are especially impressive. (The app is enhanced for the new iPad’s Retina display.) What you will not see in Abductionary is any blatant DOJO branding. In fact, the only mention of DOJO is in the game’s settings, where you’ll see a little agency logo.
“We wanted to put our money where our mouth’s at,” Alencar explained. “We keep telling our clientele about going out and performing some thing that is not necessarily heavily branded due to the fact you’re engaging the audience in an encounter. Strategically, we wanted our clientele to come to us and say, ‘I want to do a game like this, too.’”
So what’s in retailer for DOJO’s future? Will the agency turn out to be a complete-on game developer, or possibly shoot off into a thing else completely?
“The reality is, Who knows?” Edwards stated. “It will come out of our minds and the minds of our team. They’re geniuses. It will not replicate Abductionary. Perhaps we’ll make a much better waffle iron. It will be some thing we’re passionate about.”
Although you are waiting for that enhanced waffle iron, you can download Abductionary on the App Retailer for $ 2. And verify out one particular of Abductionary’s amusing promo videos below: