If you look at the top-sellers on the App Store, you’ll see that they consist of $0.99 games that are known for keeping users coming back to them over and over again. Look at Doodle Jump, a perennial top-seller since its introduction on the App Store, and a game that has over 2.3 million players on its Game Center leaderboards. It’s a game that people keep playing to try and beat their high scores, and has experimented with both different visual themes and with crossovers with other highly successful apps like Pocket God and Finger Physics. It was only a matter of time before someone in Hollywood would get the idea to try and use Doodle Jump’s popularity and thematic experimentation for their own promotional purposes, right?
The answer to that question is yes, as writing articles on things that aren’t happening is usually uninteresting to everyone. Universal Pictures and Doodle Jump developer Lima Sky have announced that the main character from the upcoming animated movie Hop, E.B., will be making an appearance in a February update to Doodle Jump. The update will consist of a new Easter-themed level, and the ability to play as E.B. in the game instead of the Doodler. Igor Pusnejak, the president and founder of Lima Sky, says “We are honored to be affiliated with this amazing film and accomplished studio. Knowing that a project like this has never been done before adds an extra level of pride to the new ground we’ll break together. To have Doodle Jump involved with the launch of a major motion picture demonstrates how influential apps have become in just a few short years.”
He is absolutely right about the influence that apps are starting to get. Some of these ostensibly small and simple games are now starting to generate millions of dollars in sales, spark complicated legal debates, and are now attracting the eyes of some very powerful people. Universal marketed the cute Minions of Despicable Me (produced by the same company that makes Hop) to the tune of over $500 million in box office revenues worldwide, in part thanks to them marketing the movie through other properties, like tie-ins with NBC shows, and they are apparently willing to experiment with marketing in a way that no one else has tried, but could prove to be lucrative considering the number of people that play Doodle Jump. If this is a success, there could be a wave of promotions inside other immensely popular apps. We could soon be slicing up Chiquita bananas in Fruit Ninja, or Om Nom could suddenly develop a taste for Twix bars in Cut the Rope. This could be the start of something massive, and it shows that games on the App Store are becoming an even more serious business, especially for those that currently live atop the top charts.