Uptodown —one of the world’s largest Android APK repositories— partnered up with with DroidGamers, a publisher that pioneered by specializing early on in Android mobile games in the US. As part of this partnership, Uptodown will link DroidGamers’ reviews to its game catalogue. In addition, DroidGamers will start to use Uptodown’s APK widget, allowing their readers to download Android apps without the restrictions posed by Google Play.
Uptodown interviews Andrew Huff
When and why was DroidGamers created?
DroidGamers was founded in March 2010, roughly 2 years after Android was originally released. During the first two years of Android being out, many of the new Android sites that were created, were dedicated to Android news in general — mainly hardware related to the occasional application news. When it came to news about Android games, though, even the biggest Android sites at that time would rarely post Android gaming news outside of the occasional review. Being a hardcore gamer all my life, on both console and PC, having the prospect of being able to take my hobby of gaming with me while on the go was exciting, but finding any news about new Android games and which ones were good was almost impossible. So I started DroidGamers as a hobby, just so I could learn about all the new Android games as they came out. In under 6 months, we had grown so quickly that not only did I need to focus on DroidGamers full-time; I needed to hire additional writers. The rest, as they say, is history.
What makes DroidGamers different to other publishers?
Other publishers mainly focus on Android news as a whole, covering hardware news and rumors, deals on devices, application news, and some gaming as well. We, on the other hand, are strictly all about Android games and gaming. So everything we post about is related to this subject, even when talking about hardware, peripherals, and so on. This also means our entire audience happens to be made up of Android gamers which, if you’re a game developer, is something you absolutely want. This is especially true when trying to get your game noticed or when promoting your game.
Which categories of games are experiencing more growth this year?
Well, we have seen a lot of different genre of games getting plenty of releases. However, RPGs have certainly seen a larger than normal jump this year already. This includes pretty much every type of RPG, from the single-player kinds to ones with multiplayer features, and even true MMORPGs have already seen a few releases and more are planned for the immediate future.
Good quality Arcade-Platformers are also seeing some growth right now. By that I mean the same sort of style of game that used to be played on the older consoles back in the day.
A few other genres have also seen some growth this year already, including Survival style games, and pure Action titles. This is especially true on devices like Nvidia’s Shield tablet and Android TV units.
Regardless of the genre they are in, games with some sort of multiplayer gameplay have also increased quite a lot.
What are your thoughts about Virtual and Augmented Reality, and their potential impact in the gaming industry?
Virtual Reality as a platform has been out for far longer than a lot of people realize. The problems with the VR systems from back in the day is that the devices themselves we usually massive, requiring an entire helmet and a booth to stand in half the time. Others, like the Virtua Boy, were complete flops. The rest were unattainable to the average person due to pricing as well. So the interest in Virtual Reality has always been there.
However, thanks to the advancements in technology in general, not only is Virtual Reality much more accessible, the hardware is smaller and the price is much more affordable. Because of that, even though VR is still in its infancy, it won’t be dying out anytime soon like it originally did back in the 90s. So you can expect a lot of good VR games coming our way in the near future, especially as the platform matures.
Augmented Reality, on the other hand, probably won’t grow as much as VR will. While it is cool to find Pokemon in the wild in real life locations, it isn’t anywhere near as immersive as VR. Also, players are limited to where they live and travel with their gameplay a lot of the time. So if a particular AR game has either too little or too many players in one location, it could break the game for other people playing or for those who decided to join in on that game later on.
What are your favorite games?
My favorite games? Eesh, I play so many games every day, it’s pretty crazy. Right now I can say that the games I’m playing on a regular basis are Taichi Panda Heroes, Super Phantom Cat, REDCON, War Dragons, and I’m still rocking Minecraft: Pocket Edition. I can also safely say that MU: Origin will chew up a lot of my free time when it’s released.
Why do we need an alternative App Store to Google Play?
While Google Play does a good job allowing developers to have the freedom to release almost anything they want to, discoverability for smaller developers will always be a problem. Trusted third-party marketplaces are a good option for smaller development studios to use, in conjunction with Google Play, in order to help get their game out there to Android gamers. This is especially true when starting out. Once you’ve built a name for yourself and a fanbase, then it isn’t as bad regarding discoverability.
What are the main challenges that developers face when launching and promoting new games?
Pretty much what I mentioned about third-party marketplaces, the biggest challenge for developers when launching a new game, and trying to promote it is discoverability. However, you can have all the coverage in the world at your fingertips but it won’t be as helpful if your game also isn’t at least a little original in some sort of way. There’s a billion match-3 puzzle games, for example, so try not to make another one unless you have some sort of mechanic that makes it different from the other ones out there.
The other big challenge is monetizing games. Do you go premium? How about free with IAPs? It’s a tough choice and while more and more premium games are starting to appear, one wrong decision in how you monetize your new game can completely kill the success you may have had. So no matter what, make sure you’re comfortable with the choice you’ve made.
Why are you excited about collaborating with Uptodown?
After talking with the folks over at Uptodown, it is pretty obvious they are all about the unification of the Android platform in a few different ways. They are also all about trying to provide the best experience for their users and forming a community around that. We’ve always tried to be as community driven as possible, as well as helping developers get noticed and hopefully become successful, while making sure Android gamers have all the news and information they could want about new and upcoming Android games. So it is a great match to have two companies that are passionate about their users coming together. That’s why we are excited to work with Uptodown.