In the mobile gaming Gold Rush, everyone wants to get developers on their side. Now it’s Flurry‘s chance to show how it can recruit developers to support its own platform.
We are seeing the war for developer talent playing out in the battles between Apple, Google, and other platform makers. That battle is playing out as well among the mid-tier companies that provide developers with tools for analyzing, marketing, monetizing and distributing games and apps across mobile networks. Several of those companies have now said they will even finance games if the developers will use their tools.
The latest example of that is mobile analytics firm Flurry, which is announcing its own beefed up developer support program today that includes game financing. But Flurry’s Game Acceleration Program has a different twist, as Flurry has hired well-known game developer Jeferson Valadares (pictured) to help game developers make their games better and more viral.
“We offer independent developers the chance to work with someone who is very accomplished at making successful mobile games,” said Peter Farago, vice president of marketing at Flurry in San Francisco. “We are seeking to be a service for developers.”
On top of advice from Valadares, who becomes games general manager at Flurry, the company will offer developers assistance across the spectrum of support, starting with the company’s own analytics tools that let developers know exactly how users are playing their games. Flurry will also offer assistance with development, finance, distribution and marketing.
In contrast to traditional game publishers, Flurry doesn’t want to own the intellectual property for games created by game developers. The developers just have to agree to use Flurry AppCircle, which recommends apps to gamers who are most likely to download the recommended apps. If gamers download the recommended app, Flurry makes money from the transaction.
That’s pretty similar to programs created in recent days by OpenFeint, Scoreloop and Tapjoy — all of whom are willing to give developers some kind of money upfront to develop games using their platforms. I’ve noted before that this reminds me of the old days of vendor financing, from the dot-com days, when big companies would give loans to startups that promised to buy products from the big companies. It worked fine, until just about every new startup collapsed in the dot-com crash.
Farago said the amount of money offered to developers is relatively small. And he noted that most of the developers prefer to have advice and expertise instead. That’s why Valadares is important. Valadares has made award-winning games such as Tornado Mania, Nightclub Empire, Crazy Penguin Catapult, Brickbreaker Revolution, Kamikaze Robots and Tower Bloxx. He has worked for Electronic Arts, Playfish, and Digital Chocolate, dealing with games based on brands such as FIFA, Harry Potter, and Need for Speed. His teams have shipped more than 40 titles and won 14 game-of-the-year awards.
Valadares said in an interview that he will work with game makers as well as big brands that want to break into mobile by “gamifying” their brands, or making non-game apps more game-like.
Mobile gaming is starting to take off in a big way as 10 million Android and iPhone devices are activated each day. Flurry can reach as many as 40 million consumers each day through AppCircle recommendations, and it tracks more than 10 billion user sessions a month via its anonymized analytics.