Ansca Mobile has enabled a lot of developers to create their own iPhone and Android games via its Corona software development kit. But in the crowded App Store, game developers also need help getting those apps noticed. So today, the company is unveiling LaunchPad, a set of marketing and analytics services to help games get discovered.
LaunchPad will help Ansca Mobile’s app developers get featured on its own web site and make pitches to mobile game review sites. The service is a recognition that — in a market with hundreds of thousands of apps — discovery and distribution are the primary problems developers face.
Palo Alto, Calif.-based Ansca Mobile is partnering with InMobi and mobile social network Papaya Mobile to help developers get off the ground with monetization through ads and in-app purchases. The three companies are also hosting a “hackathon” event in San Francisco in the near future. The winners of the event will have immediate access to the LaunchPad services.
Ansca Mobile says that apps that use its Corona game development tools — which feature strong physics for two-dimensional games — have been downloaded more than 20 million times on the Apple App Store and Android stores.
But despite Corona’s technical capabilities, many developers still struggle to market their apps after launch. LaunchPad gives companies marketing, access to possible professional game reviews, and analytics from Ansca. InMobi will provide access to its indie mobile ad network, which serves 36 billion monthly impressions and reaches consumers in 165 countries. PapayaMobile reaches about 22 million Android users with social networking features such as news feeds, leaderboards and other social elements.
“The more successful our developers are, the more successful we are,” said Walter Luh (pictured above, left), co-founder and CEO of Ansca Mobile, in an interview. “Sometimes even high-quality apps don’t get noticed enough. That’s why we did LaunchPad.”
Ansca Mobile lets just about anyone create their own mobile games with its Corona SDK, at no charge. But it charges money if you want to publish it to one platform or to both the Android Market and the Apple App Store. In the past, that was where Ansca Mobile left its customers. But now it helps walk them through the process of getting noticed and generating money.
Luh said that Ansca’s social media and public relations resources can give an app a push beyond what is available to indie developers.
Ansca Mobile was founded by Luh and Carlos Icaza (pictured right), two former Adobe mobile engineers, in 2009. One of the company’s big hits was Bubble Ball, a game created by a 14-year-old kid and his mother that shot to No. 1 on the top 25 free apps in the App Store, displacing a free version of Angry Birds. Other hits include Blast Monkeys, The Secret of Grisly Manor, and a number of Nook Color apps.
“Some of the engineers who make these apps aren’t part of the app makers ecosystem in Silicon Valley,” Luh said. “They don’t know what to do to get their apps noticed. Sometimes, we can quadruple traffic for an app through featuring on our site alone.”
To publish on just one platform, Ansca Mobile charges $199. To publish across platforms, the license fee for a year is $349.
Ansca Mobile has 20 employees. Competitors of the Corona SDK are other third-party mobile app toolkits like Adobe’s Flash, GameSalad, Appcelerator, and PhoneGap. Ansca Mobile raised $1.5 million from investors including Merus Capital.