During the indie developer showcase, hosted by Amazon as part of Quo Vadis game conference during International Games Week Berlin, local developers shared with us their experience getting their games onto the Amazon Appstore, as well as useful tips for other developers.
Meet the Developers
German developerSlashGames creates high-quality browser and mobile games, as well as consulting in software development, software engineering and producing. For Amazon, they showcased Freudbot, a single player mobile game following a supermarket employee and giving him ‘good’ advice to overcome his problems.
Black Pants Studio demoed their game About Love, Hate and the Other Ones, a fun puzzle game in which, according to PR Manager Florian Masuth, you “influence your surroundings by the force of hate and the power of love [to] find a way through caves and ice, castles and factories”.
Berlin-based publisher Exozet implement popular board games, such as Catan, and have newly implemented Carcasonne for Fire TV as showcase especially for this event. Their premium and free-to-play games are available on all major platforms, from mobile over console to facebook and browser.
Amongst the developers we had Black Moon Design, hailing from near-by Poland, with their fast action, HTML5 game Aliens Attack which “runs really well on FireTV” according to founder Robert Podgorski. Inspired by C64 and classic sci-fi movies from the 60s, Black Moon Design’s mission is to bring fun to players’ lives.
Also from Poland are NowaHutaGames, who presented their game Rounded Strategy. Wanting to make strategy games accessible to everyone, NowaHutaGames target casual and mid-core players instead of the usual hard-core gamers. As a result, Rounded Strategy is a mobile-first strategy game with an extremely low entry point.
Unavailable for video interviews, but with great games nonetheless, were Mimimi Productions with their games daWindci, a highly praised 2.5D mobile puzzle game, and Ooops! Noah is Gone, inspired by the same-named animated movie in which the cuddly characters go on a great adventure and form genuine friendships. The 3-man team Studio Fizbin, focusing on story-based games and original and unique characters, worlds and tales, showcased their tablet game the Inner World, which won the Casual Connect “Indie Prize 2013”, amongst other awards. Finally, Hamburg-based Threaks presented their demo game Beatbuddy on Fire TV, though the game is not yet publicly available on Amazon devices.
Learn From their Experience
Echoed by all developers that we interviewed was the claim that launching on Amazon Fire TV was very easy. Porting their Android app onto the Amazon Appstore was “like a breeze”, explains Jakub Bladek from NowaHutaGames and adds: “We did it in an hour.” Black Moon Design had a similar experience; after adding Gamepad support, “all of a sudden it worked like charms”. Using the App Testing Service, Nick Prühs from Slash Games remarks that “it worked without us doing anything. […] We were live in an hour or two.”
For Black Pants Studio, apart from porting being easy, the showcase represented a first introduction to the Amazon platform: “Being approached by Amazon made us realize that for new games we canthink about putting them straight onto your store when we launch.” Similarly, Robert Podgorski from Back Moon Design points out that the Amazon Appstore is a valid alternative platform for Android games and adds that “Making games for Fire TV and seeing them on the big screen is really good, so consider that.” Linda Kerkhoff, developer at Exozet, seconds that and suggests that developers consider the living room as a new market to attract customers, as “it’s not such an effort to build the game from the device to the TV.”
Finally, Nick Prühs emphasizes the importance of having a good core mechanic. “What is really important is that youiterate very soon and very often”, Prühs explains, “make sure the core is fun and then iterate.” Jakub Bladek goes a step further. He admits that they screwed up their first version and therefore got two bad ratings, so his advice to other developers it to “be sure to have your first release finished 100%” before publishing.