Game Theory: Q&A with Joe Wee of Chillingo

May 21, 2010
Games

Chillingo, publisher of hit iPhone games including Angry Birds, Guerrilla Bob and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, last week was acquired by Electronic Arts for a figure reportedly to be around $20 million. This comes on the heels of ngmoco being snapped up by Japanese gaming company DeNA earlier this month, and Disney’s acquisition of Tapulous in […]

Chillingo, publisher of hit iPhone games including Angry Birds, Guerrilla Bob and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, last week was acquired by Electronic Arts for a figure reportedly to be around $20 million.

This comes on the heels of ngmoco being snapped up by Japanese gaming company DeNA earlier this month, and Disney’s acquisition of Tapulous in July.

So what does it take for an iPhone game publisher to become acquired for millions of dollars? Perhaps you can obtain a bit of insight from Chillingo co-founder Joe Wee, who we interviewed earlier this year.

Company name: Chillingo Ltd

Notable apps: Angry Birds (HD), Guerrilla Bob, Puzzler World, iDracula – Undead Awakening, Cogs (HD), Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs

Platforms: (iPhone, Android, iPad, etc.): iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, DSiWare, WiiWare, PSP Mini, Android, WinMo, Bada, Rim BB, Ovi

Specialty genres (RPG, Strategy, etc.): All

With hit titles including Angry Birds, Guerrilla Bob and Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Chillingo (via its subsidiary clickgamer.com) is one of the most prolific and commercial successful iPhone game developers. Co-founder Joe Wee talks about the company’s nearly decade-long experience developing mobile games, the company’s innovative Crystal social network, and why the iPad is really only just the beginning.

How did you and your firm get into the iPhone game development business?

We have been in mobile gaming since 2002 as clickgamer.com. iPhone is a natural progression for us as Games Publisher. Since then our strategy has evolved to faciliate the entire end to end content management business of selling mobile applications from an ecosystem of developers to end-users via our m-commerce and e-commerce portals ( such as clickgamer.com and clickapps.com).

In your opinion, how has the iPhone and Apple’s iTunes App Store changed the gaming industry?

Apple has completely transformed the mobile gaming landscape and redefined the pecking order away from mobile operators. The key has been the customer-centric approach in the way everything works as opposed to OEM/carrier led.

The birth of the iPhone has refocused us back to our core business, which is publishing great games! Working with best of breed development studios across the world, we are committed to bringing truly innovative and socially immersive games into the market. We have built an innovative social network called Crystal, which allows us to embed core social functionality into the games that we publish. Great successes have been No.1 chart topping games such as Angry Birds and Guerrilla Bob, which have created a great community of gamers competing on global leaderboards, sharing achievements amongst their individual social-graphs and so forth. We have also started taking successful IPs into Nintendo’s DSiware and WiiWare, Sony’s PSPGo platform, Google’s Android Market and many more new and emerging digital platforms.

Describe the differences between developing games for the iPhone and the iPad.

From a technical perspective there are many similarities, but from a publishing perspective, these are two completely different platforms each with their own unique nuances. New gaming categories will be invented on each of these platforms. This is just the beginning.

What factors go into how you ultimately price your games?

All factors!! The market, the game, the lifetime value of the game, everything!

Describe what your dream game for the iPhone would look like.

We are still making it!!! 😀

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Brad Spirrison

Brad Spirrison is the managing editor of appoLearning and Appolicious Inc. In this capacity, he has sampled and evaluated thousands of iOS and Android applications. He also holds an M.A. in Education and Media Ecology from New York University.

Spirrison worked in concert with appoLearning Expert and Instructional Technology Specialist Leslie Morris while curating and evaluating educational applications.

A longtime media and technology commentator and executive, Spirrison is also a regular contributor to ABC News, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Bloomberg West and The Christopher Gabriel Program.

Spirrison is married and lives with his wife and young son in Chicago. As his son was born just weeks before the debut of the iPad, Spirrison takes his work home with him and regularly samples and enjoys a variety of educational applications for young children.

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