What The Rovio Deal With Casey’s Contraptions Means To Me

CaseysContraptionsIconI imagine everybody reading this already knows that we sold the Casey’s Contraptions game and IP to Rovio. They’ll be relaunching the game as Amazing Alex for iOS and other platforms soon, and putting all the Rovio marketing might behind it. Exciting times ahead for Casey!

I’ve been receiving a lot of questions about how it happened, how’s affecting me, and what my plans for the future are. So here’s my attempt to answer some of those questions. Continue reading

Casey’s Contraptions Postmortem

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Casey’s Contraptions is an iOS game created by the two of us, Noel Llopis and Miguel Ángel Friginal. Noel, an industry veteran for over a decade, turned indie over four years ago and found success with microtransaction-based Flower Garden on iOS. Miguel worked as a graphic designer in the advertising industry for years before becoming a web developer. Casey’s Contraptions is his first published video game, although his first paper role-playing game came out almost 20 years ago. We met through Twitter several years ago, and then finally in person at a 360iDev conference. Even thought we didn’t plan it that way, we ended up working together during a game jam, and that set us in the path to collaborate in a future project.

We knew we wanted to target iOS for our next project because we love the platform from a user and a developer point of view, and because it’s a platform where it’s possible for indies to succeed financially. Beyond that, starting a new game is never easy. Even though we have page after page of possible ideas, settling on a specific game idea is always very hard. We wanted something that met three requirements: The game had to be creative in nature as opposed to using destruction as the main gameplay element, it had to be something we were excited about, and it had to be something with the potential to sell reasonably well on the Apple App Store. Easier said than done! Continue reading

One Price Does Not Fit All

A few days ago I gave a talk at Evolve 2011 (part of the Develop Conference in Brighton, England) titled “One Price Does Not Fit All”.

The main idea of the talk was the importance of “flexible pricing”: Letting players spend as much money as they want to get more enjoyment out of the game and customize their play experience. Flexible pricing can result in revenues much higher than the traditional fixed price approach (derived from manufactured goods). It’s also orthogonal to the concepts of freemium and social games, and we’re only scratching the surface in ways to effectively implement it in games.

Here’s the official conference abstract:

Did the biggest fans of your game spend more money on it than someone who played it just a few times? If not, you’re leaving a huge percentage of money on the table. This session will talk about how digital distribution has made fixed prices obsolete and how you can take advantage of flexible pricing through in-app purchases in your games. We’ll also talk about the consequences (good and bad) of making a game free to play. The session will present hard data from iOS platforms, but applies to all digital distribution platforms. Continue reading

Good Things Take Time

If you’ve read this blog recently, you probably know that Miguel and I are busy working on the iPhone version of Casey’s Contraptions. What may be surprising is that we’ve been working on it for over three weeks and we’re still not done. After all, to make an iPhone version all we have to do is make the project Universal, recompile, and done, right? Continue reading