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Retro gaming platform Argon expands to desktop with the Amazon Appstore

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Gaming Case study Appstore on Windows 11
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Argon, a retro gaming service app by Mark/Space, Inc., is redefining the way classic games are experienced on today’s devices. The organization is fulfilling a unique niche by offering a modern outlet for the retro gaming community, capturing the attention of the retro gaming community.

The organization fully embraces emulation, and strives to make the games designed for 70s, 80s, and 90s cartridge-based console gaming better than ever. This involves enhancing video and audio and supporting all original console expansions to ensure a high-quality and authentic retro gaming experience on modern devices.

The challenge

Argon’s mission extends beyond pleasing hardcore retro game fans, as they cater to anyone who appreciates the simple joy of classic era games. "We aim to support any desired gameplay input method across all devices," explains Brian Hall, CEO of Mark/Space. With an established presence on Android and Google Play-compatible mobile, tablet, and TV devices, introducing desktop support emerged as the next logical step, opening up opportunities for reaching new PC users and providing additional device options for existing users.

However, bringing its gaming service to desktop computers presented considerable potential challenges, specifically in the complexities around updating the UI and device controller. These adjustments had the potential to demand substantial technical expertise, time, and resources. Despite these obstacles, Argon remained committed to reaching new desktop users while continuing to provide a seamless gaming experience for all users.

The solution

Argon’s solution was to reach new PC users via the Amazon Appstore for Windows 11, which offers Windows users in 31 countries a catalog of over 50,000 apps and games. With just a few development updates, Argon was able to add desktop compatibility to their existing library of Android apps.

Their strategic approach of adding Amazon Appstore support to their Google Play build, enabling them to target Windows 11 and Fire Tablet users, showcases their ability to work smarter, not harder. First, they tailored Google-specific APIs and services to be compatible with Amazon Appstore. To support multiple ecosystems, they restructured their app code and developed new server-side scripts for an ecosystem-neutral purchasing system. They also ensured compatibility with a variety of input methods, including Amazon Fire TV, keyboard, mouse, and trackpad. Finally, they added a detection system for the Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) to keep a unified code base across Google, Amazon, and Windows 11, effectively balancing cross-device compatibility and user experience.

Argon’s keys to success

Utilized an established app store for rapid expansion

The team capitalized on the Amazon Appstore's reach, rapidly expanding Argon’s customer base with just a few updates. This strategy bypassed the need to build a new application, accelerating Argon’s market expansion and adding cross-promotion opportunities.

Preserved core values amid expansion

While expanding to desktop, Argon upheld its non-intrusive, ad-free gaming mission, which continued to strengthen user trust and its reputation

Emphasized cross-device compatibility

The team prioritized cross-device compatibility, supporting multiple input devices for a consistent gaming experience across devices. This approach broadened its appeal, setting the stage for increased usage and revenue growth.

Argon’s UI now provides a consistent experience across phones, tablets, TVs, and personal computers, supporting touch input, game controllers, and keyboards with equal efficiency.

"We estimate that getting on Windows 11 via Amazon and WSA required just 17% of the usual effort of doing a fully native Windows port of our code. A dramatic savings in time and expense!”
- Brian Hall, CEO of Mark/Space

What’s next for Argon?

Following Argon’s successful transition to desktop, the team is working on some releases that aim to capture and delight new PC users as well as continue to add support for additional retro gaming experiences. “Our roadmap is clear – it is our goal over time to support gaming for all of the popular consoles of that era, and to bring them to as many types of devices, device form factors and device ecosystems as possible,” said Brian.

Head over to the Amazon Appstore to try a classic game today: Argon on the Amazon Appstore

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