News from redBit games

Digital Companies OK, but Mobile is better!

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Why should Digital Companies should consider Mobile as the strategy to succeed in the market? Let’s discover why Mobile possibilities are endless!

This post originally appeared in Italian on MD – Marketing Digitale Blog.

Mobile and Digital Companies

To demonstrate why digital Companies should invest in Mobile, we don’t need to look at statistics or at the most recent studies on Mobile Apps usage. Indeed, we have it proved everyday: just think about how Mobile devices have changed your lifestyle!

During our most intimate moments (those spent lazing under fluffy covers, relaxing on the sofa during a pizza and TV night, or soaked into a hot bath), we believe we are alone. But are we? Actually, not really.

It is always with us, and it is always connected for sure. It’s our mobile phone.

Forrester Research Inc. has studied this phenomenon (Source: “Own Mobile to Own your Customers”, Forrester Research Report, 2015) and has found out that there are more than 100 times in a day when we take it, switch it on, use it to give a relief to our sense of alienation. During these hundred times a day, our attention is absorbed by a 5 inches’ screen (at least) for even a very short time.

Moments that Forrester has called “mobile moments“.

To win the digital challenge, Companies will have to try their best to trap, fill, engage and retain engaged users during their mobile moments.

This is a tough challenge though. Mobile has also changed consumer expectations: everything has to be available at the moment they want it and in the place where they are. If not, it simply doesn’t exist.

The purchase funnel of a product continues to grow, increasing number of steps, and then the possibility that a user never comes to conversion. An attitude that could be considered hysterical, not linear, causing a fragmented and confused decision process.

However, if it’s well governed by the Company, each step becomes a major possibility of attraction and engagement. Indeed, Mobile is the most suitable instrument to guide them through the steps of their decision process.

Company’s success is increasingly linked to its ability to provide great Mobile experiences, for both users and organization members.

This will be possible if it:

  • Provides access to information and services anywhere and anytime
  • Encourages customers and employees to actively interact with Mobile
  • Makes the user experience special: ensuring a pleasant journey will improve its brand image, bringing faster to brand loyalty and awareness.

Mobile has got them all, being able to deliver unprecedented advantages thanks to its immediacy, simplicity and relevance to users. No need to go Mobile from the very first step, it can affect just one part of customer’s journey towards conversion (for example, by sending a notification, or by giving the possibility to use the device as a ticket or as a method of payment itself).

Mobile possibilities are endless, and it can destroy the business as we have known it ‘till today, radically changing business models, making new features possible and reducing certain costs incidence.

The most important thing is to become completely aware of it, to be able to govern the change and not to be left behind from competitors.

To sum up, the World is becoming more and more digital and Companies need to keep pace.

Mobile is the fundamental element a digital business has to govern to become successful. It can do it by driving two main drivers: the user digital experience and the digital operative excellence.

As a matter of fact, it can:

  • Improve and speed up user experience, making known and easily reachable the product/service, creating a real value added funnel, while helping to better define customer value;
  • Allow optimization: while connecting employees and users it also improves the efficient use of resources, ensuring at the same time that the structure is simplified and the processes are more effectively executed.

Of course, easy to be said but much harder to be done. In spite of more than 60% of Marketing Managers involved in the study are favorable to the Mobile revolution, there’re many difficulties such as the need of both a radical cultural change within the organization and dedicated funds. Also, it’s highly needed a close cooperation with IT department, often more inclined to simply run things rather than trying to find new ways to support innovation.

And, more importantly, making an App is a real project, rather than a simple product, therefore it should be consistently followed, with frequent updates and continuous alignment between feedbacks and changes to be done. All these actions of course involve a strong effort and the Company’s will to make a significant investment.

Companies should look at Mobile not as a channel, but as a real business, through which they can successfully face new digital market challenges. Managers should start to think about Mobile as an advertising medium that can improve customer satisfaction and increase engagement, and not just as a User Acquisition tool (this last approach is clearly the most pursued given main objectives of current Mobile strategies, like increasing brand awareness (29%), acquiring new customers (23%) and appearing more innovative (24%)).

In the next article we will see what a Company has to do to begin implementing those changes that will lead towards full digitization and exploitation of the mobile opportunities, and why a Mobile First Strategy could be the correct way to obtain it.

What about you? Are you operating in a still poorly digitalized market or in a not very technological context? What do you think of digital world? We would be happy if you’ll share your opinion in the comments.

Thank you!

Growth Hacking and Digital Marketing: what is the difference?

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Growth Hacking and Digital Marketing: what is the difference? Discover how Marketing can make your Company grow, even at 0 budget!

This article originally appeared in Italian on MD – Marketing Digitale Blog.

Growth Hacking and Digital Marketing are not the same thing. Both trending, both innovative concepts. Yet different. Not only because the former is younger (appeared only in 2013) while the other is more mature.

Google Trends

Source: Google Trends

There are other differences, that can be explained by understanding what these two activities are referring to.

The common question is indeed: “What do they exactly make?

It appears that the same mistrust about Social Media Managers being both professionals and useful professionals, it is now poured on so-called experts of “Digital Marketing”.

Digital is the new black” 😉 Meaning that it’s cool to be digital, first of all!

Digital Business is changing the game, and this is epochal. It therefore cannot (and should not) be underestimated by any Marketing Department, from that of SMEs to that of Multinational Companies. In this game, Growth Hacking can be defined as the transition point between Traditional Marketing and Digital Marketing.

It is useful to remember, to better explain what Growth Hacking means, the difference between outbound and inbound marketing: the first concerns all actions made to attract new customers, mainly in the traditional channels such as TV, radio, print, road signs, etc.; while the second relates to all the actions that help brand/product to be found by customers, as the right brand/product at the right time to the right person. The inbound marketing actions are all those that relate to SEO, SEM, blogging, content marketing, social media and so on.

Do not confuse Digital actions with Growth Hacking by any means, because even digital actions such as e-mail marketing for example, albeit made for digital channels, serve to attract users exactly how outbound marketing ones.

We can say that Growth Hacking lies somewhere in between Marketing and Technical knowledge.

The Growth Hacker is a Digital Marketing Manager experienced at technical level too, able to use new technologies for growth to ensure that the product/service can be easily found in digital channels, even with smaller budgets.

He knows how to work on Web pages to ensure that the user flow follows a certain path; he knows how to ask the right message at the right moment, and how to respond in a personalized way to not expressed needs that user may have at that moment. It’s an ambivalent figure: an expert of development and a marketing professional, able to customize and leverage digital technologies to enhance the product/service on the market and beat competition.

Recent studies show that the ROI deriving from inbound marketing is clearly beating the one generated from outbound.

This fact should prompt Managers, who had great success with outbound also thanks to availability of substantial budget, to understand that the market is changing rapidly and that the consumers have turned out very different. In particular, it should get them to understand that you can no longer just rely on budget, because that is not as efficient or effective as it was before.

A Guy Kawasaki sentence sums it all up:

If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more money than brains, you should focus on inbound marketing.

And this is especially true in start-up context, where resources are limited with no budget to be allocated on marketing activities, and energies are focused on product and growth first of all. If a Company can consider an annual 5% growth as a good result, a start-up has to grow by 200% in the first year if it wants to be successful on the market.

In the next article we will analyze some data to understand what evidence and results the Growth Hacking strategy has brought. We will see that the results in some cases are amazing, and it’s really exciting to have a demonstration that is possible to create Added Value by being creative, having new ideas, improving communication, transparency and listening to customers or prospects, rather than just using economic resources.

That is a Shared Value, not only to brand but also to users themselves, being more and more aware of Marketing and of their own consumer experience.

If you did not know what was the Growth Hacking, we didn’t know either! And we must say that we were delighted to find it out, especially because it has finally defined the type of Creative Marketing (driven more by ideas than budget) that we like the most. This is the reference guide.

Did you already heard about it or are you already using it in your marketing strategy? Write it in the comments! We’d love to hear about your experience.

Thank you!

Develop games with Tiny Games – Reach one million users

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We already talked many times on this website and our social touchpoints about Tiny Games, the brand of redBit games dedicated to casual games, that publishes products made by indie developers.

Today we want to “explore” Tiny from the inside by interviewing one of our regular collaborators: Daniele Bianchini.

Daniele is a professional in the sector of mobile games, professor of Vigamus Academy, and he has been publishing games with Tiny for years. We chose to interview him for a reason: recently his games published with Tiny Games have passed 1 million users milestone.

Some names? Among the games that had the biggest success are surely 100 Levels (also noticed by PewDiePie), Unplugged and Galaxy Wars – Ice Empire.

Tiny games has been a perfect environment for Daniele to develop mobile games: the brand focuses on casual games, and Daniele’s preferred game genre is exactly this one.

To sum up, this collaboration has definitely been a success.

Tiny games

However, let’s see what Daniele has to say about Tiny Games, his work and the milestone that he has recently reached. Who knows, some developers may get inspired to make new games after reading the interview (and publish them with us, obviously! 😉 )!

 

First of all, when you decided to develop mobile games?

It was always a dream that I kept in the drawer. 5 years ago I used to develop mobile apps, and at some point I realized I am capable of creating my own game. This is how it started, and a year after I published Planet Zoom & The World Inside, a game for the iPad. I have to say that despite the initial difficulties, it was definitely worth it. On March 18th I will tell my story as one of the speakers at Codemotion in Rome.

Is it the only activity you dedicate yourself to?

From the very beginning I decided that this would be my main work. Then, the experience I acquired brought me in 2015 in Vigamus Academy to teach a course “Instruments and Techniques of Game Development”.

Daniele BianchiniHow do you develop your games? Which frameworks do you use?

I started with Objective-C and Cocos2D. Then 3 years ago I tried Unity3D and haven’t left Unity environment since then. It allows me to develop prototypes extremely fast. In addition to this, it is very easy to publish games on all of the most important platforms, from smartphones to consoles.

When did you start your collaboration with Tiny games?

We published the first game Planet Zoom 3D in 2014 for redBit games. I was looking for a publisher for my games, and suddenly found one near my home!

How has the collaboration with Tiny games changed your life?

Tiny Games takes care of publication and marketing, allowing me to focus exclusively on game development. Besides this, the working environment is so friendly that I am happy to come to the office every day.

1 million users is a great achievement. How do you feel about the fact that there are so many people in the world who have fun playing your games?

This news gives me a great satisfaction and inspiration to develop new projects!

Would you define the Italian game development industry differently from the international one?

I know many young talents who are really eager to work, but they lack the entrepreneurial mentality necessary to start one’s own business. The companies that focus solely on video games exist, but there are not so many of them. However, lately the situation has been changing for the better.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to approach mobile game development industry?

The most important advice is to find and create a great team and not to do everything by yourself. You need diverse competencies to develop the game from the prototype to the publication. The practical realization of the game is just one of the aspects. In terms of programming, I would say one needs to start with something simple and find someone else with more experience, who can follow the project and give valuable feedback. I’ve seen many times when developers threw themselves at the mega projects with high level of risk of not ever getting to the publication stage.

For someone who wants to get to know your games, which ones should they try?

It depends on the preferences: 100 Levels for the most casual players; Galaxy Wars for those who are looking for something more sophisticated. In any case, on my website www.lookygames.com one can find all my works.

Any future projects you would like to mention?

I started to collaborate with other developers and designers, and we are working on the most ambitious games so far! One of the projects I am working on is a game on Apple TV.

Thank you for your valuable advice, Daniele, and good luck with future projects!

 

Advertising and User Engagement on mobile games: a win-win situation

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Mobile advertising is not only a good way to make your Business grow, is also a great way to increase User Engagement and Retention in the App.

This article originally appeared in Italian in MD-Marketing Digitale Blog.

When it comes to User Experience for a mobile product, we’re not referring only to application design and UI (User Interface), but also to the experience as a whole: from searching to the graphics and textual presentation on the App Store, from downloading to all aspects that can stimulate the user to come back to the App in the future.

Advertising has taken a role of increasing importance in this matter.

How?

Despite freemium model being the most popular and profitable (TOP 100 grossing Apps in the Overall category in US are all resorted to this business model, AppAnnie data), allowing an optional purchase of additional content and extra features, the use of advertising is still widely used and growing.

As a matter of fact, advertising is often considered to be intrusive, and it has become “invisible” to users and therefore ineffective. Furthermore, the decline in ad profitability (lower and lower eCPM) has made it less attractive.

The market has found a compromise solution by combining the different possibilities of entertainment offered by the advertising with new forms of remuneration, convenient for both developers and users. The growth of video and the subsequent spread of a new business model, Rewarded Ads, had allowed a form of advertising that users themselves are willing to look at to get a “prize” in exchange, such as an extra life in the game or a special content in the App.

Rewarded Ad help

All Right – Line Up! Get help through Rewarded Video Ad

This solution is certainly a win-win, since it is able to maintain high engagement, and, if the right mix of content and user’s interest is created, it increases retention and LTV (Life Time Value), while ensuring higher eCPM.

This is especially true for mobile games, where it has become the standard business model so far. But even if we think about other social apps and services, such as Spotify, we realize that we’re willing to see advertising to get the service for free.

Tap Galaxy rewarded Ads

Tap Galaxy – Rewarded Ads to get free resources

We could say rewarded ads in Apps are not different from the ads in free press newspapers, radio, TV, big web sites, adding the “NO ADS” option for those users who are willing to pay.

However, traditional advertising is becoming invisible, and it’s a reality for the majority of Ads on web pages, where the ad contents have a very low CTR and the quality of users is not always on target with desired one.

The mobile instead still leads to quality conversion and interest in the messages.

Mobile still manages to convey advertising messages in a way that generates Added Value.

According to a research conducted by Fyber, rewarded advertising can lead to a net increase in the ROI especially if delivered by mobile games. App developers can be reassured about the most common myths related to advertising:

  1. Will rewarded advertising cannibalize my IAP (In App Purchases)? No. The research has shown that when used in a significant contextual manner, it not only can be an incentive for spending, but may even lead to an increase of 100% of IAP. Users who interact with the Ad tend to remain longer active in the game. In particular, precisely the segment that had proven to be the least spending has responded better when exposed to the Ad content, spending between 40% and 100% more after interacting with the Ad (Source: Fyber’s homes study on “Complementing IAP rewarded with ads”);
  2. Are users who I acquire through rewarded advertising in target? If the Ad targeting is properly optimized and it’s contextually relevant for users, it will be successful. A good result could be around 60% of conversion to the desired action, and a ROI around 7-10%;
  3. Do the Ads reduce user engagement? No. The users who interact with the rewarded ads may have an increase in the user session time. The players that obtained a prize in the App are more engaged and active. An international Company leader in the mobile games and social games market has discovered that users who have watched the video ad at least once, were actually two and a half times more likely to stay active in the game during the following months;
Rewarded Ads

Color Switch – Rewarded Ad improves User Engagement

  1. Showing a lot of advertisements will make me earn much more. No. Spamming users does not keep them engaged. The mobile video advertising is driven by performance. In determining the right approach to monetization, it is essential to add elements of scarcity and rarity and show the most relevant ads to users at the right time, to make sure that you are hitting the most important KPI. For example, Next Games has been able to double the average eCPM of $ 10 to $ 20 for “Compass Point West” showing fewer ads. They also reached 60% of engagement with their ads, with an increase in average viewing to 4-5 videos a day and about 10% of users leaving a positive review on App Store by calling specifically the excellent work done with the rewarded video. Sometimes, less can be more;
  2. My games may not be the right channel for Brand Advertising. To dispel this myth, MediaBrix has designed its offering to ensure that the brand becomes an integral part of the user experience and a plus in the application. They offer brand Ads more or less in context and in the right moments within the flow stream. And the results, by their statistics, are surprising, achieving an average VCR (Video Conversion Rate) higher than 30%, an 80% increase in brand awareness and a 4% increase in engagement rate.

The right synergies are possible, and they can bring mutually profitable relationships. If the brand is willing to create a mutual exchange relationship with the chosen mobile channel, having full respect for user experience and trying to add value, it is then that advertising can truly achieve its purpose: connecting through a shared message.

What is your relationship with the advertising in your favorite applications and in our games? What would you prefer to get or what would you change in the advertising approach? Write it in the comments!

Thank you!

 

Creating the marketing stuff for Tap Galaxy was super fun!

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As you may have noticed, Tap Galaxy – Deep Space Mine from our Tiny Games label is out in the stores and we’re very happy about the game. Developed by our inside staff (3 people, 1 designer, 1 visual artist and 1 Unity developer) in 4 months, the title is our new clicker game, and you know we’re the masters of clicker games ;), with a more step on the throttle of management simulation games. But today we’re not here to talk about why this game is a must have and why you should play it. We’re pretty sure you have downloaded it yourself already after seeing the trailer above.

The subject of today is our thought process when we created and developed all the marketing materials on Tap Galaxy. Some people may think that marketing is all about numbers and boring stuff, but often this is far from true. I will show how enjoyable and creative a marketer’s work can be in the gaming industry.

Everything started with the name: Tap Galaxy – Deep Space Mine. Do you remember Star Trek: Deep Space NineOf course you don’t, you’re too young. 🙂 It’s one of the Star Trek series aired in 1993. Pixel art is often used to do “parodies” or “altered” version of something. There are several memes on the web and also in the real word, where pixels are used to picture something in a funny and different way. We’re thinking about the cover (or videos) of new video games reproduced with pixel art.

That said, it was simply natural for us to drive the marketing aspects of Tap Galaxy in that direction, even if in the game itself we couldn’t do that much: of course, beside the title that is an explicit parody of Star Trek as you can clearly see.

The visual artist behind everything in the game (Francesco Segala, we’re going to get an interview with him ASAP) is a big film fan and so we decided to drive our marketing campaign with this idea in mind. It was easy to choose some movies, old ones and new ones, about far away galaxies or something like that after we settled on the core idea…

Our first work was this GIF.

gravity

Yeah, we know, it’s awesome and it’s Gravitysomething not quite in the spirit of Tap Galaxy, but when we released this first GIF, no one ever saw any pixel of the real game and we really liked to joke on the fact that the continuously tapping on the screen could go with the movie claim “don’t let go”. One thing we didn’t like was using a movie that was not quite recent. After that we began to reveal something about our game and we used a movie that was in theatres when we published our game.

the martian

The astonishing work of Matt Damon in The Martian inspired our second GIF for the game. In this one we revealed one of the characters, the chimp, and we used a actual sprite from the game for the drawing of the martian himself while he is trying to water the planet. We prefer not to use the “bring him home” claim of the film because that was really the opposite of what we’d like to communicate. In the game you have to mine galaxy after galaxy, and you don’t want to come back home for any reason: you’re trying to expand your possessions. Anyway, the mining topic is respected: the player has got to mine the planet for resources, and The Martian has got to make some resources grow in his planet too. Personally I think this work from Francesco is the best one but we’d like to know what you think in the comments after seeing the next one…

Star Wars

Guess the date in which this GIF went public? Yes, you guessed right, the 18th of December, the date of the release of the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. We don’t think is useful to describe the saga by which this GIF is inspired. If you don’t know any of the Star Wars movies, it’s time to exit the cavern and begin to live. That said, you will notice that we used an old sentence from an old episode of the saga and not the claim from the last one. The point is that we got “droids” in the game and we would like to show something about the game this time too. We didn’t reproduce the parody version of R2D2 and C1P8, we used our own machines in the GIF to make the people begin to think about what they are going to find in the game. There’s some sort of a Jedi in the distance that we don’t have in the game, but… maybe it’s just a guy with a fake laser sword, can it be? 🙂

Let’s go to the next GIF, the latest one.

Star Wars

We came back to an “old” movie here because the release of the game was very near and the sentence was perfect, PERFECT, for marketing reasons. “Everybody ready to say goodbye to our solar system?”, and so be it, take the game and fly with your imagination to another galaxy. Thanks to Interstellar for the quote and for the beautiful poster. In this one we were not able to show something we didn’t show before, we just summed up everything (the protagonist chimp and the machines) and tried to be as more “teasy” as possible. This aired just one day prior to the release of the game.

Besides these GIF material we created a gameplay trailer, that is the one in the beginning of this post and 2 teaser-trailers. We didn’t release them yet on YouTube, so you can see them on our Facebook Page or Twitter AccountAnyway, they not so beautiful as the pixel art GIFs were even if they received an huge success between you, our fans and maybe, as usual, with a video you can do something that a thousand words cannot do.

We hope you enjoyed the reading and stay tuned: the interview with Francesco is coming very soon. While you wait, just play Tap Galaxy, it is free!

New mobile game rumors! An interview with CEO of redBit games

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Every mobile game producer sooner or later has to face the biggest challenge: finding its own space in a crowded marketplace and growing by trying to make quality and creative mobile games. It’s not always possible and definitely not easy, because the quality standards are as high as ever. What is more, it is very difficult to get visibility and really expensive to acquire users and keep them active and interested.

Our new game, still in development, stems from the two-fold aim: to satisfy the many requests of our users to create a match-three game, and to create something new and unique by enriching that standard gameplay with completely original features.

The game will be released soon under redBit games brand, and it will be a sweet and yummy match-three game intended to meet the needs of those who usually enjoy this type of gameplay, but expect to play a new one of a kind.

To find out more, we asked the CEO of redBit games, Massimo Guareschi, to tell us how the game idea was born, how the development is progressing and what we can expect from the release of the game.

Why have you decided to develop a new match-three mobile game?

We all have a passion for this specific gameplay, getting back to the first Bejeweled in 2001 when we started to play this game genre, and we always had the desire to create something unique. In addition to this, we’ve received many emails from our users asking for a match-three game branded “redBit games”, and these requests arrived together with very good ideas. These facts encouraged us to start the development of the game.

What aspect have you considered the most important while developing the game?

How the game looks and the feel of the story were definitely two of the most important factors: we wanted the game to be enjoyable from the very first moment. But what we focused on even more has been the right balance between different elements and levels of difficulty. Making gameplay neither too easy nor too difficult for users of all kinds was the biggest challenge because it can determine the success of a game. We believe we have done a good job.

How many levels is the game made up of?

The first version will have 120 levels and 10 different game modes. We have tried to give more alternatives than similar mobile games on the market. The goal was to make each level different and surprise the player from level to level.

What is the expected date of release?

The game is in the final stage of development. A very important phase of beta testing will follow soon. Depending on how long this will last, we will establish the release date, the earliest being the end of April.

What stands out from the other similar games on the market?

We studied many other games of our competitors, and we realized that the most popular products are almost identical. There are few innovations in the genre, and people are beginning to get tired of match-three games not adding anything new. With our gameplay we bring a breath of renewal among the match-three games, with cool and colourful graphics, lots of new rules and game modes. Following updates will unveil even more features and game modes. Obviously all these changes will be gradually proposed, to let the player absorb and get used to all new rules, with the end goal of enjoying different game modes.

What were the major challenges you faced during the development?

A match-three game seems to have a simple gameplay, but in terms of development it is not simple at all. The development process hides many pitfalls and an incredible number of rules to consider to make all elements interact in the boards. Thinking of them all, implementing them and testing them was the biggest challenge. We are confident that users will appreciate the great work we have done to make our match-three mobile game as fast, fluid and dynamic as possible.

What else apart from the gameplay you mostly focused on during the development?

The thing we put the most effort into was to adapt the game to all devices, operating systems (iOS and Android) and to all graphic formats. The extra effort was needed to make the game available in both landscape and portrait orientations to let the player decide how to hold the device according to his/her needs and different playing conditions (i.e. on the bus or at home).

Anything you would like to add?

There is a lot of work behind it, really a lot! But we assure you that it was worth it, and that when you’ll start playing, you won’t be able to stop. The game is lots of fun!

Thank you very much!

Thank you and keep enjoying our mobile games!

new redbit games mobile game screenshot

A gameplay screenshot of our new mobile game

We are looking forward to learn the release date of the game on the App Stores (it will be available for free both on iOS and Android), so stay tuned for another sneak peek and latest news about development.

Thank you for reading! If you have any thoughts about the game, please share them with us in the comments!

How did we start making games? Why? Blast from the past by redBit games

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Haunted_Manor_The_secret_of_lost_soul

Many of you won’t believe the story that I’m going to tell you but, as usual, every company has got an unbelievable story to tell about how it was built and why. Just take our story like other stories with one difference: every word we’re going to write in this article is the absolute truth, nothing less, nothing more. So let’s start, shall we?

When we decided to start to create a game company in Italy (this sentence alone is unbelievable: we don’t know if you are aware of it, but in our country it is very difficult to start a company and, furthermore, it is very difficult to make people believe that video games is an industry), we didn’t think that we could manage to grow bigger and bigger in three years becoming one of the most important mobile gaming publishers in the world with more than 3 million of active users per month. In the beginning it was just a way to have something to do because we were broke, without work and almost without hope.

That’s exactly where we started because our story begins on the day when Massimo, our CEO, got fired by the company he was working at for a long time. Yeah, it’s true: often you need to hit rock bottom before you can change. And that’s exactly what happened to us.

Massimo took his knowledge in the App Market, his passion for Sierra and LucasArts point-and-click adventure video games and his big dream – working in a company where people come before money. And then? A big jump into the void with his friends, Francesco, Manuel and Gabriele. This four people represent the first redBit games managers/workers/testers/developers / designers/coffee makers and much more.

At the beginning, there was just the idea of making Haunted Manor, but apart from Massimo, the other three people also had a “regular” job, so they were very busy. To bring to life the idea of growing until the company reaches a “reality stadium” the guys needed an office, time, and funds. The latest never came, even if we searched for it. Speaking about the first two, it was easier to get them. We used the office of Manuel’s company to work – they were so kind to accommodate us in a corner. And speaking about time… it was not easy, but we convinced Francesco to develop the game at nights, from 9pm till midnight, after he finished with his other jobs, and we convinced Gabriele to stay away from his architectural studio to develop the 3d graphics for Haunted Manor.

We started working on the game in June and at the beginning of October we had the first chapter of the Haunted Manor fully operational. That was the time of our life. Our savings were about to end, just like our energy. What if we published the game, and no one would have downloaded it ever? Working day and night for three months on your own project is stimulating and makes you happy, but if you don’t have anything to eat when you finish it, well… it’s not that funny.

But if we’re here telling this story, it means that our luck began to turn.

The first day the uncompleted version of Haunted Manor (we called it “Free version”, of course, and we were pretending to have the full version ready to deliver) hit the iOS and Android App Stores, it was a huge success. There were a lot of people in 2012 that liked to play an old fashioned point and click adventure, and the app spiked to the top position of the Italian chart. Yeah, you read right: top downloaded app of the store:

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The success was just overwhelming. We didn’t expect that, really. And mainly because we were worried about not having any full version to sell to the people right in time. So we worked day and night, and during breakfast, lunch, dinner time, and the complete version of Haunted Manor was finished just before the Halloween night of 2012. Yeah, it was a good sign for an “horror” adventure to come out in that special night.

The rest is history. The game was a big success in the Italian App Store and after the first money (not much indeed but, it was promising at least) began to restore our bank accounts, we decided to invest it all in the translation of the game and in “marketing”. Are you wondering why we just used the quotation marks to write marketing? Because what we did was printing some flyers! 🙂 Yes, offline paper flyer to advertise an online app made of ethereal bits! Here is one of them:

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Ok, as you should have understood by now, we were not real professionals in the market. We were just 4 guys with a dream, as we said before and one way or another we managed to make that dream come true thanks to a creepy house and a bloody hand. Even if after Haunted Manor we didn’t make any games that had success until exactly one year after (when Cookie Clickers really pushed us in the Olympus of the mobile gaming market), everything began with this game and with this story. Everything began with defeat and pain and, you know what, maybe without Massimo’s dismissal by his old company, there wouldn’t have been any games to talk about today. And this means that hope is out there for everyone, even if sometimes it seems that all hope is gone.

You just have to take it with all your forces, tie it in your hands and think positive: everyone has got a great future beyond them. The real challenge is to understand that and act on it!

Cookie Clickers and Splashy Fish official merchandise (t-shirt, mug, gadgets)

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When we wake up every morning, what’s the first thing we do? For some of us it is breakfast (“I can’t wake up without my coffee”), for others it is taking a shower “without the feeling of water on my skin I can’t go outside”) and so on. In addition to the FIRST thing you do in the morning, there’s another thing you have to do: dressing yourself. Okay, don’t take this literally: if you don’t plan to go anywhere, you can leave your pijamas on and trap yourself inside your house with a good book/movie/videogame. That said, usually, people get dressed, they really do.

Wearing something you like is important for everyone. Nobody wants to be ugly and, more importantly, nobody wants to wear something he doesn’t like or share (errr not speaking of social media here 😉 ). Sometimes, a great clothing brand is what people look for, because wearing it means something for others. Honestly, we don’t agree with this vision. We aren’t against any form of fashion, let’s clarify that, but we rather think that people wear clothes that they like for themselves, because they mean something to them, not for others! That’s why we wear a political t-shirt, a band’s t-shirt, a movie’s t-shirt or a videogame t-shirt.

Recently wearing a videogame tee has become more and more common. In the past it was something very niche: it was impossible to spot someone with a Bioshock t-shirt or some other videogame IP merchandise, even if it was a AAA one. Now the videogame people are emerging as a real community as skaters were in the 90s or punks in the 80s. We call ourselves gamers, don’t we? And we really love to wear our idols, our passion, our symbols.

Following this way of thinking we decided to create our own merchandise shop to make possible for all you Cookie Clickers fan out there to wear something you believe in… and we’re talking about believing in a Cookie! 🙂 Ok, that’s too much maybe, just kidding, but you got the point. What we’re telling anyway is real: we’re not going to earn any money from the t-shirts that you will find in our shop. Our aim is just one: giving you guys something “more than a videogame”. You asked for it, we are trying to deliver.

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To tell the truth we’ve got a lot of surprises incoming for you in the next weeks/months. T-shirts was just the first of a great series of big announcements that we’re planning to do in the near future. We know that the shop is something that you can’t literally “play” but we’re sure that wearing a Splashy Fish‘s t-shirt can make you happy just as the release of our most wanted title of all times can do so (errr, I’m speaking about Cookie Domination that, for reference, doesn’t really have a release date at the moment). Look at us, marketing team, with the our brand new t-shirts and smiles (not all of us, indeed 😉 ): wearing our brand on our skin was really exciting as we hope it can be for you guys.

Speaking about how to build a merchandise shop (for all the marketers out there), we “partner” with the greatest apparel site in the world, Spreadshirt! Famous brands like Dr.Pepper or Nissan used Spreadshirt to deliver their apparel to their fans. Building a shop on this famous site is fast and simple, and you can use your own custom style (CSS) or even use API to make people shop without leaving your own site. However, the best thing about using Spreadshirt is their customer service: we’re speaking about a company that is selling apparel on the internet for years! If you, the client, got a problem with one of our t-shirts it will be Spreadshirt who solves it with the help of their professionals. We are sure that you and your future Cookie Clicker t-shirt are in good hands.

So keep checking our merchandise site (http://shop.spreadshirt.com/redbitgames ) often because we’re planning to release a lot of new products every month. Even if we’re not going to sell any of this t-shirts, it is so fun to create sentences and style for the apparel, that we’re not going to stop anyway!

What’s brewing? Tap Galaxy, Hit That Color, Zombuster for iOS and Android

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When we got back to our office chairs after holidays in the first week of September, the “hot” season of redBit games and our little sister Tiny Games was already in the books. We published so many titles and updates that it seemed impossible for a company of only 20 people to have a burst like that in summer time. We released 100 LevelsMagic Carpet High Experience, Amazeness, Spotty and Friends – PlaygroundCookie Clickers update and Splashy Fish update (as we written in Development in Progress for iOS and Android). We were sure that an overbooking of games like the one we got between June and August was just unique, and it couldn’t be possible to have it again in the months to come. We didn’t have any “small” projects in development and no plans of coming up with updates of any sort. The plan of my office chair couldn’t be more simple the first of September: enjoy what you did and just relax! 🙂

Not at redBit games. Not at all!

The best has yet to come. At the moment, beside our “Big three” (three very big projects that we can’t talk about at the moment), we’re releasing two brand new games and several updates. This article is written to inform you, redBit lovers, about what we’re doing right now. Let’s go:

Tap Galaxy – Deep Space Mine

At the beginning of September a new developer and a new graphic designer joined our team. Their names are Federico Pauzano and Francesco Segala respectively. They weren’t “new people” for redBit, we met them before. Where? At our first Game Jam of course: they came, they had fun, they sent us their resumes and that’s how you get a job! And when the job is developing videogames… things get really serious. Based on the idea of Daniele Mascagna (one of our graphic designers who is the game designer of Tap Galaxy), the game is a space clicker where you have to mine resources in planets, use them to travel to new colonies, mine them too and watch your home planet growing bigger and bigger.  When we first posted some information about this game on our Facebook page, you guys were very happy to see redBit games coming back to the genre that made us famous: we really appreciate your love and passion for clickers and I can assure that this game is waaaay better than the other clickers on the market. We’re finishing the game in the next two weeks so be prepared to click, click, click, and click…

We designed some promotional material for the game that reminds of famous space movies. Francesco Segala is the author of this two pearls so a big applause goes to him! Plz click on the images below to open them and see the animation.

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Hit That Color

The guys at Buffalo Bit (we talked with them when we asked: “Why choosing redBit games as a publisher” ) would like to take a pause from numbers. We’re waiting for nr. 03 as much as you guys do, but they are not in the mood for more pluses and minuses. They used their time to develop a new simple casual game called “Hit That Color“: you have a ball and an octagon with colors, and you have to hit the right color again and again and again. It’s a game that all people will understand in just a second, and most of them won’t stop playing after half an hour. Really, this game can make you play for hours trying to beat your high score even without recognizing it. Hit That Color is scheduled to be released this week so you will be playing it very soon!

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Zombuster Update

After what we did with the “Zombuster effect” (How to create a trend in a saturated mobile game market), we can’t leave this game alone because it’s performing very well in the stores for iOS and Android. Marzia Pie and PewDiePie are the celebrities that liked and tried out our game, but the celebrities that you will find inside the new Zombuster update that we’re about to release are REAAAALLLY badass! 😉 As you know, we already published an update, where we added some new characters to the zombie killer game. Now it’s time to unveil Ash from the Evil Dead and Furiosa from Mad-Max Fury Road as the new defenders of humanity from the Zombie Apocalypse. Ready to kick some decayed brains?

 

Ash from the evil dead is so badass!

Ash from the evil dead is so badass!

Halloween skins

Oh yes, we were about to forget that. Halloween is very near and we’re ready to scare you! Do you love Splashy Fish and Cookie Clickers? This week you will have a surprise in your icon and in your game. Halloween skins are coming and they are so cute that I can’t even describe them well! See them for yourselves with these screenshots and start to love them 🙂 Speaking about pumpkins, you will see this shape also in another game by Tiny Games: 100 Levels looked just perfect for it!

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IMG_2914As you may notice we’re working in full force to make you guys happy! So just relax and enojy our apps… something that we’re not going to do for a looong time.

If you got any suggestions, feedback or just a question feel free to contact us with our Contact Form 

How to create a trend in a saturated mobile game market?

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Today we are in the mood for some industry insight.

It is already hard to develop a good game, but it’s even harder to market it. Thousands of mobile games are published every day, and unless you are a big studio, you are most likely out of luck, and you won’t see many downloads of your game. What are you left to do? User acquisition. For example, Facebook provides you with many way to market your app through a newly-created page or directly through App Install ads. However, the rule of thumb is to pay $1 per user, and given that to gain a momentum you need thousands and thousands of your downloads, this user acquisition method is not sustainable for many indie developers. In addition to this, have you ever heard of Facebook Fraud?

So what can you do to market your game besides partnering with a big successful publisher like us? 🙂 You can find some less conventional channels. For example, YouTube: most famous youtubers have millions of fans, and if you’re skilled (and lucky) enough as a marketer, it’s possible that they will broadcast your game in one of their videos. It happened to Zombuster, that was played by PewDiePie and CutiePieMarzia. After that, thousands of people are playing the zombie classic, published under our label Tiny Games:

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The effect of featuring the game in one of their video was well beyond our expectations. In addition to helping to gain active users, the appearance of Zombuster in these videos helped cross-platform marketing – now we have a #Zombuster trend on Twitter:

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We augmented the Zombuster effect by implementing the communication campaign through all our own media channels with millions of followers, and we are very satisfied with the results. Creativity and careful planning are the main causes of Zombuster success.

Don’t know how to approach a youtuber with 40 million followers? Having troubles creating a strategic launch plan? Publish your app with us and our best marketing experts will work on how to make your game popular!

P.S. Zombuster is a really good game, so if you for some reason didn’t try it yet, go for it on iOS and Android!