AppNation III Conference: One Developer’s Perspective

by Moms With Apps on December 12, 2011

A few MWA developers attended AppNation, so I invited them to record their impressions for our community. Here is the summary from Yadong at Kwiqapps

I was at the AppNation III conference in San Francisco at the beginning of December. Through my participation in the IGDA’s Silicon Valley chapter (http://svigda.org/), I received a free table in the demo area on the exhibition floor. Since I just came off launching my latest app Noodle Words, I thought it would be fun to demo it at the show.

Between manning the table and wandering around on the show floor, I had a couple of observations that may or may not relate directly to what a kids app developer is doing. But hopefully these can give you an idea of what is happening in the larger industry.

Monetization and Distribution

Monetization and distribution of apps is a big topic at the show. In a nutshell, the problem of monetization is how a developer can generate revenue from their apps. The problem of distribution is essentially how to get your apps discovered and ranked on various App Stores. As a developer myself, I know these problems exist and judging from talking to others at the show, it appears that I am not alone. There are literally dozens of companies in the show that were hawking their products and services aimed at helping developers with monetization and distribution. Tapjoy and Flurry are the biggest players in the space. Numerous startups are getting in the game
too.

Cross Platform Development

Even though the app race is largely between iOS and Android, other platforms are coming into play, including desktops. Cross-platform development is on a lot of developers’ minds. There are generally two approaches to cross-platform development. The first approach is the use of HTML5. The other is using platform-independent programming language like C/C++ etc. HTML5 was a popular discussion topic at the show, and two notable companies, Sibblingz (Spaceport) and FunSockets, were active in the conference. Unity 3D is the leading tool set for cross-platform game development on iOS and Android although I didn’t notice their presence (it is possible I missed it). However, I did run into a representative from Ideaworks 3D, who makes this C/C++ based cross-platform SDK called Marmalade (http://www.madewithmarmalade.com/). I don’t have any first-hand experience with the SDK but their website showcased a top ranked game ”Backbreaker 2″ by NaturalMotion Games. I was also told that the interactive iPad book “Harold and Purple Crayon” was created by using the SDK.

Incubators and Talent Wars

At the conference, the organizer AppNation actually announced an partnership with Black Ocean to create an App Incubator to fund ”talented entrepreneurs and developers”. The program will start in early 2012 and is taking applications now at https://appnationconference.wufoo.com/forms/appnation-black-ocean-incubator-inquiry-form/. The promotion and monetization company W3i announced its $10 million AppX game developer fund, primarily used to help third party developers’ user acquisitions on iOS and Android. So it looks like development teams with great talent and/or existing games will be in huge demand going forward. Competition for both talent and App Store visibility are getting more fierce.

I may have missed other important happenings at the conference. There are lots of startups and content being created. Money (from VCs and other sources) is being thrown at these companies. But all in all, things are moving really really fast in the apps/games industry. These are exciting yet challenging times for everyone involved.

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Bill Martin December 13, 2011 at 3:34 pm

I went the first day and did run into a handful of kids app developers. Also talked to a few people about analytics and COPPA. I wonder if for the next AppNation (with an App focus – the real next one is on Enterprise Apps) a group of education app developers might do a kiosk or section. Something to bring attention to the education app space?

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