I thought it would be a good time, now the company has been going about 6 months, to give you an update on how everything at Kwalee is coming along.
Brilliantly is the answer, in as far as it can be without launching a product. Everything is moving along as planned. Overall the big thing has been climbing lots of learning curves. The development and marketing of mobile apps is a lot different to making and marketing boxed console games.
Initially the app market seems to have a low barrier to entry. Many apps have been written in less than a day and it costs $95 to become an Apple App Store publisher. However when you try to market and sell your product you discover what the true barrier to entry is. Basically the App Store is the most competitive market that has ever existed on planet earth. There are around three quarters of a million apps with over 600 new ones being added every day. How do you get noticed amongst that without spending a fortune? What has happened is that marketing has become more important than at any time previously in the history of the video game industry. Marketing is the key strategic differentiator between apps. It is the golden age for the application of the full range of marketing skills.
The first thing we had to do at Kwalee was recruit our staff. You can see what we have done in the people section of the Kwalee website. David Darling was immensely, incredibly fussy about who he took on. And the result is an utterly fantastic team. But then if you have the right people you can get everything else.
The games we are developing have a number of distinctive features. Some of these have been used previously by other games, but they are not common. Also we are working around the freemium business model. As in many things we do we are on steep learning curves and it has been interesting developing our own technology to perform the features. Our first game (code named Vegemite), which will incorporate this, is still about two months away. Whilst it is an excellent game it has also served as our technology development mule and has given us a whole pile of skills that will go into future games.
From a marketing perspective the website is very important as we build our brand and communicate with the world. We started with a placeholder but now there is an excellent Kwalee website. We are putting a lot of content on it to try and keep it fresh and interesting. We are following a policy of being as open as possible and of showing people as much of the workings of the company as we can. Also we view marketing very much as a two way street and are very keen indeed to receive any feedback.
To do all the marketing work we have taken on some very keen and bright young staff who bring a whole pile of skills to the company. Lizzie Stabler is Brand Evangelist and her work involves dealing with the press as well as applying her special skill at making videos, something the website is already benefiting from. Joe Barron is Community Evangelist and his work is to deal more directly with people by using social media and all the other tools available to him on the internet. He has a game journalist background which helps a lot when he tries to relate what we are doing.
Even with nothing launched yet we are very busy indeed, with a backlog of two month’s worth of weekly press releases and another backlog of videos that need making for the website. We are determined to do everything we can so that we have a polished marketing ecosystem in place when Vegemite is launched.