In a move that will earn Pakistan recognition in the global app world, leading publisher of mobile and social gaming applications 6waves will market made-in-Pakistan games – developed by Mindstorm Studios – on Apple’s app store under its label.
The Lahore-based game developer Mindstorm Studios made its name in the social role playing market with its debut game Mafia Farm.
Mafia Farm – launched around Christmas last year –reached the number two spot on Android and also claimed a spot in Apple’s top 20, CEO Babar Ahmed said. It did well enough to attract catch the eye of top market players including 6waves, he added.
The idea behind the game was to do a mashup of popular genres farming and crime, while giving it a funny spin with unique character development, Ahmed said. “People seemed to like the idea and the game took off,” he added.
More than 70% users gave it a 5-star rating while the average rating stood at 4.3 on the Android marketplace. Rated 4+ in the App Store, Mafia Farm, as of March 29, was 23rd in role playing games, according to topappcharts.com – a third-party website that maintains charts of top apps in the App Store.
During initial marketing, Ahmed said, the game reached the top 20 overall apps spot in America on the iOS, and the top second trending app spot on the Android.
Mindstorm’s other games also paved the way for company’s successful entry in role playing games market. Mindstorm Studios games have been downloaded and played by over five million customers.
“We have cracked the top 10 list across global app stores with Whacksy Taxi, Farm Break, and Mafia Farm,” Ahmed said. “Another one of our products, Wordity, outsold scrabble for a few weeks in the UK and was the number one word game in UK for a while,” he said.
Mindstorm attracted global recognition after its former publisher Abu Dhabi Media Company got the licence from International Cricket Council to develop the official game for 2011 Cricket World Cup, a game previously made by leading game developers Electronic Arts United States’ and UK’s Codemasters.
The game received millions of hits during world cup and the company made good upfront money, according to Ahmed, but the game did not perform well in the market due to lack of a freemium monetization model. The number of downloads were only in thousands, Ahmed said, because the game was priced at $10 – prompting them to reshape their model.
In today’s world, people expect to get content for free and pay for in-app/game purchases if they get hooked, Ahmed said.
Explaining the freemium (free plus premium) model he said, the idea is to give the game away for free to minimise the adoption barrier and see if people like it. “You then design the game content such that after playing the game for a little while, you encourage the user to make a purchase within the game for content, items, levels, etcetera,” he added.
Ahmed refused to share his revenues from Mafia Farm but hinted that the company’s revenue growth rate is in multiples of hundreds for the current financial year.
While Mafia Farm earned great success, the company is set to launch another product under the label of 6waves shortly.
“Kingdom of Heroes is our next mobile social title,” he said, “where you play the role of an army commander building your medieval base and kingdom and hiring epic heroes into your army to invade opposing lands.” The company will shortly launch this game under the 6waves label on the Apple store and under its own label on the Android marketplace.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2012.