Links For March 14, 2015

Appstore survival for a paid app: numbers from DragonBox

This is more than we dared hope for our first game, but even this kind of interest from all over the world only translated to a little over 250k paid downloads (counting here both our DragonBox Algebra 5+ and DragonBox Algebra 12+ versions, on both Android and iOS). This volume of sale is barely enough to scrape by, as we’re trying to produce one new game per year.

One-Man Development Firm Finds Sweet Spot in Educational Apps

In the “Games” category on the App store, there’s a big churn. Most new games stay up in the top of the charts for a couple weeks and then fall, to be replaced by newer games, which, in turn, fall. But in the “Education” category it seems like that churn is less pronounced. It’s really helped me make a living. I couldn’t make a living the old way by spending 3 months making a game only to have 2 weeks in the charts. Certainly some games defy that, like Monument Valley or many others, but making one of those is much harder. Especially for a single person. So having a game consistently in the top 100, or even 200, has definitely helped me make a living.

What Developers Should Know about the FTC’s Deal with a Kids’ Brain-Trainer

Last week the Federal Trade Commission announced it had reached a deal with the makers of a $200 brain-training program that claimed it could help children improve their focus and attention and improve their ability to succeed in school. Under the terms of the agreement between the FTC and Focus Education LLC, makers of the Jungle Rangers computer games, the company agreed to stop claiming it could improve children’s cognitive function and permanently improve their neural abilities.

The PlayAbility Scale™

Cognitive Skills include attention and persistence, memory, processing speed, reasoning and more. Academic Skills include school readiness and early literacy skills for preschoolers and literacy/reading skills for those in the early elementary years. Creativity/Imagination Skills include, but aren’t limited to dramatic and imaginary play. Communication Skills spans following directions to labelling and describing objects, to conversation skills. Social/Emotional Skills refer to interpersonal skills, cooperating with others and understanding other people’s perspectives. And the Motor domain encompasses skills of the eyes, hands, feet – individually and when used in combination.

The Deck of Fun

Over the years I’ve found several different ways people attempt to map, categorize, and present the amorphous possibility space of play, fun, and games. I reference them constantly, always with a grain of salt, as a sort of mantra for considering playstyles that are not my own. Doubtless the taxonomies I’ve discovered are a small subset of those that exist (if you find more, please share), and doubtless each is a small lens of truth on a much bigger picture. Some of them are decades old, some of them are brand new. Some cover fun, some games, some childhood play. They are useful in so far as any tool is useful, limitations and all.

Grimes - REALiTi

This song was never finished. its a demo from ~ the lost album ~, recorded early 2013. i lost the ableton file, so its not mixed or mastered. i tried to doctor the mp3 into a listenable state, but it was poorly recorded in the first place and never meant to be heard by anyone, so its a bit of a mess haha.

A throwaway demo from Grimes is better than most artists’ masters.