An unusual iOS game called Defend Ukraine had been launched on the App Store a in November 2014. The main purpose of the game is to raise funds for Ukrainian Army which is fighting against Russian military aggression in Eastern Ukraine. All funds collected via this game will be transfered to Wings of Phoenix foundation, which supplies Ukrainian Armed Forces with necessary equipment, implemented over 10 large-scale charity projects and gathered $3.3 million so far.
In March 2015, the game was released on Google Play. The Android version is free with ads, but you’ll only see them if you loose the game.
Download ‘Defend Ukraine’ on Google Play
In this game your mission is to help a cossack, your main character, to defend Ukraine from Russian invaders. All you need to do is simply tap on the caricature of a Russian president Putin as it hovers above different regions of Ukraine. The game requires your prompt reaction, as the enemy attempts to capture new territories.
Finally, if you succeed to keep all the regions of Ukraine free from aggressor, you’ll hear Ukrainian anthem. If not, you’ll hear the anthem of the USSR and then you may restart the game. Besides, Defend Ukraine game has three player modes for you to choose: easy, usual and hard.
Defend Ukraine is developed by GBKSoft, a software development company which is based in Zaporizhzhya, Ukraine. If you have any ideas regarding the game improvement or just want to spread a word about it, feel free to join the game community on Facebook.
Download Defend Ukraine on the App Store for $0.99. Additionally, if you like to provide extra help to Ukrainian Army, click on the Donate button inside the game. It will redirect you to the Wings of Phoenix’s website where you can donate as much as you want.
Some of the present-day startups are doing truly amazing stuff in attempt to make our world a better place to live in. A unique mix of traveling and learning contrived by Backstreet Academy, a Singapore-based startup, deserves a closer look.
Backstreet Academy is an online marketplace for travel nuts where they can discover exclusive learning courses throughout the Southeast Asia, which cannot be taken anywhere else. And for many outstanding local craftsmen, hosting tourists via Backstreet Academy is the only chance to get substantial income and overcome poverty. The courses are currently available in Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, India and Nepal.
In Hanoi, you can learn Vietnamese and Chinese calligraphy, create awesome paper masks and bottle paintings, cook various delicious meals, take photos of the city backstreets or ride scooters at night.
Maybe you’d like to unveil to yourself the original recipes of Lao wine? Then you should visit Luang Prabang. By the way, there are so many pretty things to do in that area alongside this: get some rice farming and fishing practice, produce and play wooden flutes, and much more!
Martial arts have always been an indispensable part of the Asian culture. Learning from the backstreet masters can give an excellent insight into authentic heritage in this context, as well as to keep fit. Khmer boxing courses in Phnom Penh will be a perfect choice in this respect.
All of that and more at your fingertips at very affordable price. Most tours offered by Backstreet Academy carry a price within the range of $15-50. For every booking, 40-50% goes to the host, 20-30% covers the facilitators and transport costs, and the startup retains as low as 10-15%.
Here’s a documentary video featuring Backstreet Academy’s experience with sustainable tourism in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Social media is still on the top of the wave in 2015 though it’s constantly evolving. In the modern marketing establishment, there are many debates on how exactly to use it for business, but basically everyone agrees that social media works better in conjunction with other promotional channels, to name a few: SEO, email marketing, writing and blogging, special offers, loyalty programs, mobile marketing.
So, how marketers should approach socail media in 2015? The Social Media Benchmarks Report 2015 by HubSpot based on insights from 7,000 experts helps to elucidate that point. Let’s highlight the key social media esentials for digital marketers and business owners in 2015.
More social activity doesn’t guarantee more user engagement. In fact, the correlation between the number of posts per week and the number of post interactions varies widely for different industries. For example, two industries with the lowest weekly social media activity (consumer goods/retail/ecommerce and manufacturing) get relatively high interactions, and nonprofit/education, the industry with the highest interaction average, is characterized by moderate post frequency per week.
It looks like there’s more correlation between the number of followers and post interactions, at least for certain industries like nonprofit/education, consumer goods/retail/ecommerce and manufacturing.
Brands shouldn’t fully rely on either activity index or the number of followers if they want to generate real user engagement via social media. It is necessary to find the ballance between post quality, which means relevance to users, credibility, uniqueness, visualization, etc., and post frequency. Better do less posting but make your content valuable for users. Try to engage with real audience, not scammers and bots.
Find more insights in the full report. Download it on the HubSpot’s official website.
A Reddit user TeaDranks has posted the World Population Cartogram where actual sizes of countries are modified as consistent with their population, as of January 2015. Every square on the map corresponds with 500,000 people. Let’s match the cartogram with the top 10 nations leading by global online and Facebook population.
As is seen from the cartogram, the folowing countries make the top 10 by population:
It’s very interesting to compare the above mentioned list with the top 10 countries by the number of Internet users. The infographic is based on the data provided by Statista, as of February, 2014. No wonder that some of the most heavily populated countries in the world are not as big online at all.
Now it’s even more exciting to know the leaders in terms of Facebook population. The countries with the biggest number of Facebook users (in May 2014):
A curious fact: according to this data, there are more Facebook users in India than total Internet users 🙂 Perhaps, people (or maybe bots) in India are very active in social networks and many of them have several Facebook profiles (on average, 1.35 Facebook users per each Internet user).
Learn more about the top markets and languages for mobile app or game localization from this post.
Promoting a mobile app or game only in one language is not enough. Actually, an app publisher should create multiple localizations in order to cover the top grossing and emerging geographical markets. We recommend considering no fewer than 10 languages for mobile app localization.
According to App Annie’s infographic presented at GMIC Silicon Valley event in December 2014, the following three countries form the App Store Superpowers: Japan, South Korea and the United States.
When building the list of the top 10 languages for mobile app localization, we should keep in mind other English speaking countries like the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia, where mobile apps and games gain high revenue as well. Collectively, the English speaking world is still dominating on the mobile app market.
Another significant player on both iOS and Android is China, which became the top 2nd gaming market by revenue worldwide in 2014. Bear in mind that games drive up to 75% of total revenue on the App Store and nearly all revenue growth on Google Play. App Annie Index Market Q3 2014 report puts China to #3 by revenue on the Apple’s App Store. The only reason why this country has not reached similar revenue rank on Google Play is that it got numerous Android app stores, and only 13% of Android market share in China belongs to Google Play.
As a matter of a fact, simplified Chinese, which is common for Internet and mobile users in China, goes to the #4 in our list of top ten languages for mobile app localization, following English, Japanese and Korean.
Let’s not forget about the Old World. Traditionally, the lion’s share of revenue generated by mobile apps and games in Continental Europe belongs to its most developed countries: Germany, France and Italy. It is worth noting that the estimated revenue from mobile games in Western Europe, according to AppLift and Newzoo, reached $3.2 billion at the end of the year 2014. Which makes Western Europe the third region in the world by revenue from mobile games, after North America and Asia Pacific.
Following English, Japanese, Korean and Chinese, the next positions #5 to #9 in our top 10 languages for mobile app localization go to major Western European languages. Let’s take a look at the chart provided by Statista listing the leading gaming markets worldwide in 2014:
Germany is the leading European market by revenue from mobile apps and games. In App Annie Index: Market Q3 2014 Germany was reported the #4 country by revenue on Google Play. in our list of the top 10 languages for mobile app localization, German language wins #5, and #6 goes to French. Italian (#9) follows Portuguese and Spanish which take #7 and #8 respectively. The reason why Portuguese ranks better than Italian and Spanish is that Brazil’s market share of Google Play downloads increased more than any other country worldwide in Q3 2014. In total, estimated year over year revenue growth in Latin America’s mobile gaming segment exceeds 60%, which is bigger than elsewhere.
In the end, we recommend looking at another huge emerging market, the Southeast Asia. As stated by Newzoo in 2014 Global Games Market Report, the following six countries represent 97% of game revenue in Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Phillippines and Vietnam. So, Malay becomes our #10 language for mobile app localization, which is the most widely spoken in this region.
Let’s summarize, here’s our top 10 mobile app localization languages for 2015:
7. Brazilian Portuguese
Publishing and media industry is dead? Noway. Perhaps, publishers have been experiencing some problems over the past decade, but the odds are that there’s never been a good time for this kind of business.
Certainly, publishing landscape has changed substantially, and while traditional outlets are struggling to adapt, digital segment of the industry is growing very fast. Europe is not an exception in this regard, moving toward the largest ebook market in the world, worth $19 billion, by 2017.
Here are 10 promising digital startups that may cause significant impact on the publishing and media industry in 2015 and beyond.
1. Piano Media: www.pianomedia.com Head office: Vienna, Austria Profile: Founded about 4 years ago in Slovakia, Piano Media is a company helping news organizations and publishers set up digital paywalls. In September 2014, Piano Media – which is headquartered in Vienna with offices in New York, Slovakia, Slovenia and Poland – acquired its larger, American competitor Press+.
2. Blendle: blendle.nl Head office: Utrecht, The Netherlands Profile: Blendle wants to bring the iTunes model to journalism by letting readers buy individual articles (for €0.10 to €0.30 a pop) from various newspapers and publishers. Six months after its launch earlier this year, the startup secured €3 million in Series A funding from Axel Springer and The New York Times Company.
3. PressPad: www.presspadapp.com Head office: Krakow, Poland Profile: Polish startup PressPad, established in 2011, aims to be a mobile app and marketing platform for magazine publishers. PressPad – which offers tiered pricing plans for clients – has raised a little over $260,000 in funding, according to CrunchBase.
4. Sellfy: sellfy.com Head office: Riga, Latvia Profile: Whether you’re a writer, designer or any other digital content producer, Sellfy wants to help you distribute and sell your content in a few clicks. The platform for self-publishers, which was founded in 2011, is backed by Skype co-founder Toivo Annus.
5. Ghost: ghost.org Head office: London, UK Profile: With the aim to “revolutionise the world of online publishing”, Ghost first pitched its open source blogging platform on Kickstarter last year. Since raising close to £200,000 through the campaign – surpassing its goal of £25,000 – Ghost has released a number of updates to its elegantly designed platform.
6. Movellas: www.movellas.com Head office: Copenhagen, Denmark / London, UK Profile: Launched in 2010, Movellas is a publishing platform that lets users write and publish their stories as well as receive feedback from the community. The idea behind Movella is based on the Japanese concept of “Keitai Shousetsu“, meaning ‘mobile phone novel’, which became a popular literary genre.
7. ShareWall: www.sharewall.co.uk Head office: London, UK Profile: Founded in March of this year, ShareWall wants to offer a new model for publishers by introducing ‘social currency’, which involves users getting access to content based on how many times they share an article with their social network. The startup has raised a seed round of £150,000 so far.
8. ReadWave: www.readwave.com Head office: London, UK Profile: Owned and operated by online writing community Circalit, ReadWave is “a place for sharing 3-minute stories”. The publishing platform, which has a 800-word limit, hopes to build a community for aspiring journalists to upload articles on certain themes and receive feedback.
9. Liberio: www.liber.io Head office: Berlin, Germany Profile: Founded in 2013, Liberio is an eBook publishing platform that rolled out its Google Drive-based service in July of this year. The aim? To simplify the process of creating, publishing and distributing eBook projects – and all for free.
10. Reedsy: reedsy.com Head office: London, UK Profile: Reedsy, founded this year, is startup that wants to help connect publishing professionals (authors with editors, book designers, etc.) via its marketplace as well as provide tools for project collaboration. The UK startup has received €30,000 from Seedcamp and Scottish publishing company D. C. Thomson.
2014 has gone already, but let’s make a quick flashback into the world of digital games.
It’s been a fruitful year for games industry, especially for mobile games. Superdata created this amazing infographic featuring the most important facts about digital games in 2014, including mobile games, social games, pc games and console games. Let’s overlook the previous year in review:
2014 has been a jammy year for the mobile games industry. In the last 12 months, games have been shining at the top of grossing charts on mobile app marketplaces like the Apple’s App Store and Google Play. Despite the visible success, it’s not as easy as it seems to figure out the landscape of mobile gaming in the upcoming 2015, as this industry probably remains the most disruptive and dynamic in the modern hi-tech segment.
Below are the major trends that, as stated by different experts in mobile gaming, will affect the industry above all in 2015.
Games are the best money generating mobile apps
Games drive the most revenue on both App Store and Google Play, compared to other categories of apps.
According to App Annie Index: Market Q3 2014 report, the lion’s share of Google Play’s worldwide revenue has been generated by gaming apps. From July to September 2014, this trend continued to persist, that led to the increase of games’ share in overall revenue on Google Play. The highest earnings occurred in the United States and South Korea, where games accounted for nearly all revenue of the platform.
This becomes even more evident when you look at the “Best of 2014” list released by Apple earlier this month. 9 of top 10 grossing apps throughout 2014 were games, and only 1 was a non-gaming app. Macquarie Research reveals that in 2014, games will deliver an estimated 75% of income on the App Store. Huge, isn’t it?
On average, each of the two best selling games earned more than 1 million dollars a day on the App Store during October 2014. Supercell’s Clash of Clans, which is a #1 top grossing game, had an average daily revenue of $1,387,620, and King’s Candy Crush Saga, which is a #2, made $1,097,578 a day.
Gamers want it for free
Since mobile gaming became an integral part of modern pop culture, the so called ‘devaluation of games’ began. An average user no longer wants to spend any money at all to install the game. 90% of revenue generated by games on App Store this year came from free-to-play titles.
Research from Newzo published in Q3 of 2014 estimates the total revenue of mobile games industry at $25 billion, $4 billion of which will be gained by Apple and $3 by Google. It’s surprising, but all that revenue is driven by a very tiny segment of gamers. Only 2.2% of users ever pay in free-to-play games, and 46% of the total revenue comes from just 0.22% of the total amount of mobile users, Swrve reports.
Big players get hold of app stores
2014 was the year when massive game publishers monopolized cash flows from app marketplaces. Two companies (King and Supercell) own nearly half of top 10 grossing mobile apps in the US (hence, they get the major portion of revenue). No wonder, there’s a lack of new products in top charts: 8 of top 10 grossing games were published in 2013 or earlier. At the same time, 80% of 1.2 million apps available on the App Store got no downloads at all.
Under such conditions, small game developers approach big publishers for marketing expertise and promotion. This makes some game industry giants that used to focus solely on in-house games launch publishing programs for third-party game developers. For instance, Rovio Entertainment, a company behind Angry Birds title, announced its mobile game publishing ititiative for game developers under the new brand named Rovio Stars in May 2014.
Next steps for game developers
New approaches to marketing games
Given the fact that an average cost of install in mobile advertising is overpriced and probably will rize up to $10 for native mobile apps next year, indie game developers and publishers need to find alternatives to get their apps discovered. And maybe, the solution can be found in the technology that game developers used to pay no regard for. Yes, it’s HTML5.
PuzzleSocial, a game develpment studio based in NYC, unveiled a case study about leveraging mobile web to drive high-quality installs for their game called “Daily Celebrity Crossword”, which is available for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire. They built a lite version of the game on HTML5 and distributed it via mobile web. In 4 months, this resulted into 320,000 unique game plays and, which is more important, 10% of those players proceeded to download the native mobile app.
Roughly, this new marketing model can be presented as follows:
An HTML5 based lite virsion of a game provides limited game play with a few levels available for free;
Users discover the lite game version via one of the mobile web distribution networks and can start playing it right from a mobile web browser without needing to install an app;
If they like the game, they can follow the link to download the full game version from an app store, that is shown to them at game over;
A game developer is charged by a distribution network only when a user downloads a native app.
Another promising user acquisition channel is at the back of social video services like YouTube and Twitch. So called “Let’s Players”, people streaming their game play with comments online, have been on the stage since the establishement of YouTube. But in 2014, game developers fully realized the strong potential of Let’s Players which became a full-fledged, powerful media. It’s highly important for game developers to build relationships with popular Let’s Players, who can broadcast a game to millions of their own fans. PewDiePie, a Let’s Player of the year 2014, has 33 million subscribers on YouTube. He’s also popular on Twitch (440,000+ followers), a game-specific video broadcasting service with 60+ million monthly active users. There’s a lot more Let’s Players who are interested in new games to comment, check them out.
Alternative mobile app platforms
It’s been a while since the messaging service Kakao Talk, which is no.1 in South Korea, succeeded as a mobile gaming platform. At the end of 2013, it had 140 million registered users, $203 million revenue and 426 games available. However, Europe and North America always preferred traditional mobile app stores. 2015 may become the year of revolution for mobile games in this area, since Viber decided to follow Kakao’s path. Earlier this year, Viber announced the launch of Viber Games, a marketplace for mobile games. The company plans to make this feature available globally in January 2015. Yet, 5 countries have been selected for soft-launch in December 2014: Ukraine, Belarus, Israel, Malaysia and Singapore.
Initially, Viber Games launched with two titles from Storm8 (Viber Candy Mania and Viber Pop) and one title from Playtika (Wild Luck Casino). All of them are free-to-play, and Viber will make money from in-app purchases inside those games. Besides, users can synchronize games with their Viber account in order to send gifts and share achievements with friends. Viber Games is not a stand-alone platform, it’s rather a separate section within Viber messenger which redirects to a native store to install a game on a user’s device.
As we can see, Viber is taking the leaf from Asian messengers like KakaoTalk and Line, and that will probably cause a shift in the way users discover games.
Promote your games in Asia and be aware of emerging markets
China, Japan, South Korea, as well as Southeast Asia, grab more and more interest from game developers. Indeed, Asian market looks stronger than ever: Japan and China took positions #2 and #3 respectively (right after the United States, which still holds #1) by downloads and revenue on the App Store in Q3 of 2014. On Google Play, Japan surpassed the United States by revenue taking the #1 from the US, South Korea reached #3 and Taiwan closed the top 5. As for emerging markets to consider, there are Brazil and India, which gained #2 and #3 by downloads on Google Play respectively.
As the total amount of mobile devices worldwide is estimated to be more than 7.7 billion by the end of 2014, it is crucial for basically any business to build a proper mobile marketing strategy. Probably, at this stage, a big challenge to many entrepreneurs can be deciding between a mobile responsive website and a native mobile app.
Mobile apps dominate mobile websites in terms of time spent online.
There’s at least one important fact that speaks in favour of mobile apps. Users spend much more time with apps than with mobile browsers. Another fact is that over 90% of the top 100 brands have their own mobile app. With the variety of apps that are available for mobile devices nowadays, a web browser is just one out of the numerous tools for searching and exchanging content. According to stats revealed by Flurry, there’s a huge shift towards mobile apps at the expense of mobile websites this year. It states that an average US user spends 2 hours and 19 minutes with apps out of 2 hours and 42 minutes spent with a mobile device in total per day. The share of apps increased from 80% of the total time in 2013 to 86% in 2014.
But if we take a closer look at the following infographic, it becomes clear that only specific apps categories are used with high frequency. And the biggest share in that respect belongs to games, followed by social networking and messaging apps.
So, if your app doesn’t belong to one of the most popular categories, it’s probably not likely to reach very high download ranks very fast. Just think of it, there’s about 400, 000 apps with zero downloads out of nearly 1 million apps on the Apple’s App Store in 2014!
Google to encourage mobile friendly websites
Google isn’t going to be out of the swim in the ‘mobile apps vs mobile web battle’. It has introduced a new search label which indicates a website’s ‘mobile friendliness’ and gives it a boost in search results.
To own the label from Google, a website must meet a number of criteria:
not use Flash, which is unrecognizable on mobile devices;
links must be optimized for tapping;
text must be readable without zooming and scrolling;
a web page must load fast enough.
In brief, a website must look great both on mobile and desktop devices. Anyone is able to check a website’s eligibility for the Google’s lable by running a mobile friendly test.
In conclusion, the best strategy for business to compete in this rapidely changing envirornment is to have a mobile friendly website by default. But a native mobile app can be a good solution to enhance the added value for customers, though its development, maintenance and promotion requires additional costs and resources.
As the year 2014 is coming to an end, it’s time for a roundup. Google was among the first mobile industry leaders to come up with its year-end list and unveiled the collection of the “Best Apps of 2014 ” on Google Play.
According to Google, below are the most remarkable Android apps which deliver incredible user experience and great functionality. What is also important is to note that not all of the apps in the list already have millions of installs. Likewise, some of them are free while others are paid. Therefore, it’s difficult to figure out which exactly criterea Google considered to make up the list of the best Android apps 2014.
Keep this collection in your pocket, as it can help you to browse out of nearly 1.5 million apps available on Google Play and choose the one you need most!
Here are some of the best Android apps on Google Play in 2014:
With this app kids are safe when using your Android smartphone, for you can choose apps they are allowed to use and set appropriate timeframe for that. Due to gamification, kids learn how to manage their own time and cope with negative emotions in a nonintrusive manner.