The Best of Google’s Apps and Games – 2014

The results are out. Google announced the best of its Apps and Games for the year 2014 recently. The list seems to be somewhat similar to the ‘best of 2014’ list released by Apple earlier this month. Coming to the games, Candy Crush continues to be the most sought after games. It was the most downloaded game of the year. The tech giant has put apps into a number of categories. The categories include mobile photography, education, social, health and fitness etc. As per the list released by Google, ‘Health and Fitness’ is growing real fast in the apps category as a result of which, the developers are speeding up the process of making the apps compatible with Google’s Android Wear line of smart watches.

What’s the most downloaded?

The most downloaded Google apps by category are Duolingo in the education category, MyFitnessPal in the health and fitness category, Pandora in the music category, Flipagram in the photography category, Facebook in the social category, Netflix in the entertainment category, NFL Mobile in the sports category and TripAdvisor in the travel category, Health and Fitness falls into the year’s fastest growing app category.

The most downloaded Google games are ‘Candy Crush Saga’, Don’t Tap the White Tile’, ‘Farm Heroes Saga’, ‘Subway Surfers’ and ‘Clash of Clans’. In the Achievements category, Google play games users unlocked 3.5 billion achievements in this year.

Google has good news for all the Android users. The Android users can now find the top-rated apps of the year on the Google Play Store. The Google Play has a section called ‘The Best Apps of 2014’. This section features a total of 64 apps that include popular apps like Shazam, Uber, TuneIn Radio, Skype Qik, Group Video Chat and Secret. However, only a few apps among these 64 apps can be downloaded free of cost. Some of the paid apps are Ultimate Guitar Tabs & Chords, Facetune, Afterlight, Amazing World Atlas, 7 Minute Workout Challenge, djay2 and Over.

Compared to last year, the number of Google games that have been downloaded has exceeded the number of Google apps that were downloaded by about sixty percent as per the q3 results in 2014. The popularity of Google games has contributed to a good growth in revenues in the third quarter of the year 2014. Looking at the popularity of the games and apps, it is expected that Google would very soon announce few more Android apps and games that would be compatible with Chrome OS. It is easy to hire an iPhone developer or an Android developer today and making useful and quality applications are so much easier today.

Digital Marketing and Its Impact on Small Time Game and Mobile Application Developers

Stephen DiMarco has hit a very valid point in his post about how online marketing needs to start to assess some of the more qualitative side of marketing in terms of a brand rather than just Google Analytics or PPC, etc. In a world that’s primarily driven by unique page views, PPC campaign numbers, CTR rates, and other hard facts, it’s an interesting thought. As a gaming company, we offer post-marketing services which includes this marketing and it’s driven by numbers. We’ve yet to see how this affects us a brand, and Stephen’s got us thinking.

There are a whole slew of developers that are online at the App Store, but there’s an inherent problem with trusting a single developer. Many developers have delivered a product that’s a stand-alone app that is basically a flash-in-the-pan while others have consistently turned out mediocre but reliable apps. Who do you trust; the company that turns out one stellar app after a long hiatus or a developer that just needs some new direction or energy in their creative processes? There’s no real concept of a brand, there’s no Unilever or P&G for the App Store and therein lies the problem for marketers for iPhone development.

Although many people would argue that apps are products that have a repeat purchase cycle, etc, there’s yet to be a single developer that’s built a very successful brand using just their apps. People view apps like a utility and look to promote them as such. Very rarely does anyone ever hear about the developer but rather the app itself. This is a problem in an industry where the first firm to truly brand itself will gain a massive first-mover advantage. Indeed it will be difficult, but if a firm is able to do so, they’d easily take over the App Store.

The problem, to a certain extent, lies in the tools that are geared towards quantitative metrics rather than qualitative metrics. For example, Twitter following dictates whether you are a thought leader or follower, a PPC campaign shows how well SEO or ad placement is working. Yes, they do provide numbers which can help translate into potential leads, but there’s no concept of a brand.

Resultantly, firms are looking to use their marketing dollars to build a brand. For us, as game developers, there’s an added challenge. Although it may be easy to build one stellar app and continue to tweak it over time, such an effort doesn’t build a brand in the long run. At this point, firms need to realize how their marketing channels are being used besides the metrics they provide. Do you use your Twitter account to talk with customers? What type of a Twitter following do you have? Does your website show how committed you are to your vision? These questions begin to emphasize how qualitative metrics become important. It’s great having numbers, but as companies grow there’s a need to build a relationship with customers outside of the traditional client-vendor concept.

For example, in the case of gaming studios, a loyal group of customers translates into many benefits. Beta testers are easily found from your Twitter following or customers that have written great reviews for your titles. Ultimately these are the people that will promote you for free. They don’t show up in the metrics, you find them by talking to them. This is a brand building activity that many firms ignore. Again, for small startups it’s difficult to find the right people, but most of the time they’re hiding right under your radar. Yet many firms ignore the potential of these testers and continue to push out apps without sufficient testing. There’s no reason when there’s a small group of dedicated followers that you need to deliver a game without proper testing. These people will be the life line for your game as you need the critical honest feedback about gameplay, controls, graphics, user interfaces, etc. Without these people, you’d never get the proper feedback which helps develop a truly outstanding title.

Nonetheless, many firms do use these techniques but need to realize that there’s a brand to be built using these types of activities. Reward your beta-testers with promo codes for free games so that they spread the word about you, their recommendation to other gamers will go a long way in making your company stand out amongst the army of developers on the App Store. As mentioned by Stephen, there’s a need to change from the quantitative towards the qualitative side of marketing to build brands similar to IBM, Apple, or Microsoft for app development companies. Firms need to get away from the purely numerical side of marketing and start to see where they want to be in 10 years time.

What Are Some Fun Online Games For Kids That Will Make Them Think?

When you are a parent, you do want to entertain your child from time to time. While you would like your child to be entertained, you don’t just want him or her to always have constant mindless entertainment. Some forms of entertainment also involve some thinking skills. Find out some online games that your kids could play that will also help them think at the same time.

Some of the more popular type of online games for children are pet sims. These are simulated environments where your child will take care of a pet. At certain times the pet will be fed, given treats, and taken care of. The child has to think beyond right now and somewhat plan what this virtual pet will get which is a thinking skill.

There are tower defense games that kids can play. These are games where you must protect a certain spot on a map away from attackers. These games involve some serious critical thinking skills as buildings must be built and resources managed properly in order to win the level. This isn’t for small children but older kids will love these.

There are town and farm simulations. You might have seen these already on popular social networking sites. These are fun and teach some thinking skills as resources must be managed in order to continue to grow the town or farm.

There are a wide variety of educational games for the purpose of education. These might be things like math games and reading games to help your children learn. These can be purchased or played online on quite a few sites for free.

Another type of game that will help your child are games that teach you how to type. There are traditional programs which are boring but there are also games that you have to type in order to complete objectives. They are much more fun and your child will gain a lifelong valuable skill.