Earlier this week, Apple announced that its App Store had generated $10 billion in sales in 2013, which included around 3 billion downloads and $1 billion in sales for the month of December alone. Along with announcing this new record, Apple also sounded out eight developers it feels are the ones to watch out this year. Let’s take a brief look at all these developers and the apps they develop.
This US startup, founded by Luis von Ahn and Severin Hacker in 2011, is responsible for developing the translator and language learning app by the same name. Duolingo has added a touch of gaming to the whole language learning process by offering experience points and perks to encourage a person to learn the language. The app was chosen as Apple’s iPhone app of the year 2013 and it is hardly any surprise that the app has crossed ten million downloads since its launch in 2012.
This video game developer may be based out of Mountain View, but it has strong Romanian roots. It is controlled by Revo Solutions founded by Andrei George Lopata and Cristina Isabela Lopata. This 70-emplyee strong company had a turnover of $2.4 million in 2013 (via Romania Insider) and is responsible for games like FAST – Fleet Air Superiority Tactics!, Battle Supremacy and Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders. The latter (Rs 55) also happens to be the developer’s most famous game having crossed 4.8 million downloads and also boasting Apple’ prestigious Design Award in 2013.
Simogo, founded in 2010 by Simon Flesser and Magnus ‘Gordon’ Gardeback, is an indie-game developer based out of Sweden. It has an enviable lineup of award-winning games like Year Walk, Beat Sneak Bandit and Device 6 (runner-up Apple iPad Game of the Year 2013). The developer came into limelight in 2012 when Beat Sneak Bandit was nominated for BAFTA. Its games are not what you would describe run-of-the-mill and Device 6 (Rs 220), which is described as a “surreal thriller in which the written word is your map, as well as your narrator,” is no different. Simogo announced in December last year that more than 100,000 people had bought the game since its launch and according to The GameIndustry, the Swedish developer earned more than $700,000 in profits in 2013.
This small company, based out of Finland, was founded by two game developers Johannes Vuorinen and Juhana Myllys. With an initial funding of 15,000 Euros (Rs 1,266,484 approximately) by the Finnish government, they developed the indie game BADLAND (Rs 220), which is a physics-based side-scrolling adventure game with a very dark tone. Since its launch in March 2013, the game has crossed ten million downloads and continues this impressive growth with Forbes estimating close to 7,000 game downloads every day. BADLAND is also a recipient of numerous awards, chief among which are Apple’s Design Award 2013 and iPad Game of the Year 2013.
PLAIN VANILLA CORP
This Game Studio, founded in 2010, is based out of Reykjavik in Iceland as well as San Francisco. It may not be as well known as many of its competitors, but what it has going for it, is its latest game QuizUp. This is quiz game with a social angle lets one enter into a battle of wits with anyone online and is fast garnering recognition. It also offers leaderboards and rankings so you can measure just how smart you are. QuizUp garnered more than five million active users within a month of launch and this has helped the company with funding — attracting $22 million in Round B investments from the likes of Tencent Holdings and Sequoia Capital.
Based out of Hobart, Australia, Savage Interactive is a team of game developers consisting of James, Alanna, Lloyd and Cam. The team is responsible for developing a Photoshop-like app for iPads called Procreate (Rs 350), which was honored with Apple’s Design Award 2013. Such is the power of Procreate that an artist called Kyle Lambert created a life-like painting of Morgan Freeman in 4K resolution on the app. The project took him more than 200 hours to complete, and consisted of approximately 285,000 brush strokes.
LEMONISTA DESIGN INC.
If you love furniture and are into the history and intricacies of how they were made, then China’s Lemonista’s Design Inc. have just the apps for you. Lemonista’s Jin Shangyi, Teng Fei and Traditional Furniture apps are all related to Chinese furniture. Traditional Furniture, for example, will tell you how a piece of furniture from the famous Qing Dynasty was made, how many pieces were used and what the designs mean. Teng Fei, on the other hand, shows an animated presentation of how a piece of furniture is crafted. The target audience of these apps though is restricted due to language barriers, but the fact that Apple has mentioned Lemonista could be connected to its landmark deal with China Mobile last year, which marks Apple’s big entry into the world’s largest smartphone market.
The sounding out of Japan’s BASE is yet another proof of Apple’s interests in the country. With a growing number of users in that region thanks to NTT Docomo deal, the company doesn’t want to alienate them by only mentioning Western developers.