Albert Marshall and Ian Masters are the co-founders and commercial and creative directors, respectively, of QuizTix, a London-based developer behind a selection of fun and educational quiz games. In this interview, Albert and Ian share their motivations behind creating their popular games, including the latest, QuizTix: Animal Pics, and how both Amazon Appstore and Amazon Fire TV have featured heavily in its success so far.
Q: What was the rationale behind your selection of quizzes?
Albert: “We believe quiz games are for everyone, and they work across any channel, be it on mobile, tablet or smart TV. Our selection of games (QuizTiz pop music, movies, world football, video games, and others) also attract different, niche, gamers to each subject so people can easily find the topic they’re most interested in.”
Ian: “Yes, it really has mass market appeal: it’s a very casual game which can be played both on- and offline with huge amounts of social opportunities; you can play alone or with friends and family. From a technical point of view we’ve kept our games separate to keep our file sizes down. This way we can add a variety of features specific to each topic without needing a huge install.”
Q: And how does this ‘family’ inform your overall social strategy?
Albert: “Our social strategy begins when we develop each game. Each feature and design aims to increase the share-ability of the quiz, so we have friend leader boards where you can see where friends are, how many points they have and even how quickly they answer each question. You can share any questions on any social media platform if you’re stuck for answers. This is a brilliant way to discuss and promote the game as the pictures are very shareable.
“We’ve always had a portfolio approach – a family of games – where players can discover more of our apps, which helps grow audiences. Our games can also be centred around current events or around brands, giving them the look and feel of that event or brand. App stores are always looking for that sort of content because it’s the most interesting format for players. Working with brands also tends to increase players’ engagement in that brand and we then grow the reach of our games to their user base.”
Q: What’s been your most successful game to date?
Albert: “Animal Pics has been the most successful game so far. It uses the best and most beautiful pictures that we able to access and include through our partnership with Nature Picture Library to educate as well as inform. We experienced four times faster downloads than any other game in the series and the share-ability was very high.
Q: How have you worked with Amazon to build upon QuizTix’s success?
Albert: “Amazon users tend to spend more on games across every platform for starters. We also see longer session times, especially on Amazon Fire TV – there’s more of a sit-back experience there – and not only does this give us greater engagement figures, but longer sessions allow our players to discover more of our features and games. We now take Amazon Fire TV very seriously to make the most of the added reach we receive.”
Ian: “Amazon’s technology is the perfect fit for developers such as ourselves as players are encouraged to play our games on multiple devices – from their phones, to Fire tablets, to the Amazon Fire TV – which suits all levels of users. And because of our structure of many individual games, discoverability is high, too: when Animal Pics recorded our best ever downloads, it affected, cross-promoted, our other games as well. The consistent level of downloads on Amazon is great.”
Q: What’s the future of QuizTix looking like on Amazon?
Albert: “We are very interested in subscription models. Within our series of games we have lots of features that are available to purchase, like wallpapers or power-ups to help gameplay, so it makes sense to give people access to all of that across every game from a simple, monthly, fee. Amazon supports this idea which is excellent.
“We also focus on passions when we create our games so there is the potential to merchandise with the brands we partner with; we may even create branded quizzes in the future that appear across other Amazon services: an Amazon Prime movie quiz, for example!”
Ian: “Our monetisation model is dependent on our games: ad revenue is important and we’re trying to balance that with more in-app purchases. It’s true that we’re considering subscriptions to get all the benefits across games and new games for loyal players.”
Q: What advice do you have for other developers who aim to work with Amazon?
Albert: “First, ask yourself: who are my players? Then make the game that exceeds their expectations. The next set of questions to ask yourself should be around how those players will find your game. The Amazon Appstore has lots of features that help discoverability so complement them with features in your game. We also received lots of tips from events held by Amazon and its developer support services, so make sure you seek their advice.”
Ian: “Build a game that also supports the remote if you want to work with Amazon Fire TV. When you’re designing a touchscreen for a mobile device there are familiar gestures which you incorporate into the design of your game – swipe up and down, pinch to zoom in – but moving to a TV remote can be a challenge for developers.
“Also, don’t be too precious about releasing things – you can iterate fast on Amazon Appstores so release and evolve and continually make use of the feedback the give.”
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