søndag 14. mars 2010

Five ways mobile games differ from apps

Games are apps, in theory. In practice, they’re a special kind of app. That’s what mobile analytics firm Motally learned after its first year providing in-game statistics for developers to use in defining or refining their products.
Motally’s app tools can tell, for example, how long a gamer spent on each screen of a game, and where they are located geographically. For example, my BlackBerry is often mistaken for Canadian by Google and other sites that do geotargeting. Motally claims their toolkit can tell that I’m a Verizon customer in San Francisco.
The company lists Verizon, Twitter and Yelp as clients. But Motally founder Arte Merritt told me in a phone interview, “More than one in five apps are games. Game developers have unique needs.” He explained to me five specific metrics Motally has added to its latest toolkit especially for game developers:

Game level — It’s the most basic measurement of engagement. Where do players quit?
Scores — Mobile app development toolkits don’t have built-in scorekeeping functions. Nor does it automatically create leaderboards that show who, when and where are the game’s highest-scoring players. Motally’s new toolkit provides those hooks.
Virtual goods — Many developers, analysts and journalists believe that in-game purchases are where most of the mobile app economy will come from. Motally makes it easy, Merritt said, to track where and when customers buy or don’t buy bigger ray guns or other items in a game.
Conversions — Many games work on what’s called a freemium model, in which a free version entices players to buy a more advanced version of the game. This feature is useful for non-game apps, too.
Cross-game use — Game developers, more than most app developers, are always putting out all-new titles and upgrades to previous versions. Motally’s toolkit automates the tracking of stats across an entire portfolio.

Merritt compared Motally’s expanded metrics to the detailed website stats Omniture serves to clients. But mobile app data is very different from website logs. Motally’s metrics are more akin to mobile analytics firm Flurry, whose monthly reports often turn up newsworthy surprises.
Motally’s new toolkit is available to game developers as part of a private beta test. The company also publishes a monthly report on app trends. Founded in San Francisco in 2009, Motally is backed by BlueRun Ventures and uber-angel Ron Conway.

Companies: Flurry, Motally, omniture

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