Now that there's finally an Android phone on the market, and Google seems to be (slowly) following Apple's lead and creating a marketplace for apps, I figured it was a good time to start considering the platform as it relates to games. The API is finally starting to stabilize, and it looks like it will actually be a decent platform for games, maybe not quite as sexy as the iPhone, but very usable. It still remains to be seen if people will actually buy stuff on it, but as long as they make small $1 transactions as easy as they are on the iPhone, I think it could be a real market, especially if more phones pick it up.
I figured I'd float an idea here, see if it gained any traction. Especially on phones, the games that people really like tend to be smaller in scale than most games - look at the successful stuff on the iPhone (if you don't have an iPhone, an example to look at would be PapiJump, which you can play the Java version of at http://www.sunflat.net/en/games/papijump.html
- PapiJump plus is currently shooting up the sales rankings in the App Store, despite its extreme simplicity) , a lot of the independent games that "make it" are very simple ideas that you can dip in and out of for a minute or so at a time. So I suspect that a minigame suite would go over really well, especially if the games in it were really tuned to this type of quick play (along with, of course, being well done).
Would there be any interest here in a large group collaboration on a suite like this? I'm thinking along the lines of what the Flash guys did with Four Second Fury (and the others in that series, which did fairly well on the web IIRC), except the minigames would be a bit more substantial (not microgames), and profits would be shared rather than up-front fees paid. There would be a lot of details to consider (the logistics of large group profit sharing in particular are likely a nightmare...), but I'm thinking something along the lines of:
- a dozen or so developers (opening up to the general public through a submission process would be a possibility, too, though it would mean more work for the admins), each creating up to N games apiece, where N is some small number
- low price point (between a buck and maybe two or three, max)
- start with a basic framework to program to so that games can be integrated into one package easily, and set some coding rules (size, time of game, scores API, etc.), and allow some basic advertisement/branding in each game (link to homepage and whatnot)
- profit sharing would be based on the number of games included in the package, after pulling out a small percentage off the top for the group that does the heavy lifting of evaluating, packaging, managing, etc. I'm not sure if any other weighting should be applied based on game quality, because that could get real contentious...
- games would need to be approved by an editorial group, or maybe voted on by the whole team
I'm probably missing some stuff there; I'm not really proposing this at this point, just more looking for feedback on the general idea and floating it around. After all, you can't even sell Android apps yet, to my knowledge. It may be that most people don't think the pie will be big enough to bother collaborating for a small piece of it, or have other objections. I don't know that anything like this has been done before, so there are likely a lot of tricky things standing in the way, but it seems like it could be an interesting idea.
Either way, bring on the feedback, negative as it may be, I'm curious to hear it!