Posts Tagged pangea

 

Pangea Software was one of the more prolific early iPhone game companies. Quickly porting their Mac catalog over while re-inventing the games for touch controls gave them an early windfall as they filled a void for great games on the platform. Since then, Brian Greenstone, the President of Pangea, has remarked how they have had a much harder time getting games to sell at those amazing early levels.

I sent a few questions off to Mr. Greenstone about his experiences on the App Store in the past five years. We get some great stories about the first decisions for pricing of games, Steve Jobs’s input on that, and the skinny on how Mr. Greenstone is sometimes thought of as the person the kicked off the drive to $0.99.

148Apps: You jumped on the App Store right at launch. What made you so sure of the App Store?

Brian Greenstone, President of Pangea Software: Actually, I wasn’t sure of it at all. I got into it simply because I had always wanted a “handheld” version of some of my games, and my attempts at PSP and Gameboy versions never panned out. The iPhone looked like my chance, so I got into it just for fun. Never had any intention of making any money at all.

When we were at Apple before the 2008 WWDC Keynote preparing our presentations, I said to the Apple guys that I expected Enigmo and Cro-Mag Rally to maybe sell 10-20,000 units over their lifetimes. They responded, “No, they’ll probably do 50-100k”. Well, we did 100k units in the first few days! It really wasn’t until then that we realized this could actually be a business for us.

148Apps: Pangea games were originally priced at $9.99; how was this initial price point decided? Did representatives from Apple have any input on the price point?

Mr. Greenstone: Back in 2008 there was a lot of speculation about what the price of the apps would be, and a lot of people were predicting $24.99 since that was about the price of the cheapest console or Gameboy game you could get at the time. During our rehearsals for the WWDC keynote I talked a lot with the Sega guys who were equally unsure what to charge. One day we decided to do an informal survey of coworkers and people we knew to see what they’d be willing to pay for our games on the iPhone. We came up with the same figure that Sega did which was “$15″. That’s what most people said they’d pay, so we decided that we’d both announce that price in our presentations.

However, the next day we did our presentations for Steve Jobs and he asked each of us what we were going to charge for the games. When I told him $15 he said “That’s too much. It should be more like $4-$7″. I wasn’t about to tell Steve that I thought he was crazy, so I thanked him for his advice and that was that. After thinking about it we all separately decided that $10 was probably a good starting point. We thought $4-7 was insane, and that $10 was still crazy. I mean how could we sell a game for $4 on an iPhone that we were selling for $30 on other platforms? Seemed insane at the time.

Anyway, it ends up that $10 was a great starting point because at launch there were only a few dozen games, and people were hungry for everything so they were willing to pay $10 easily. Sales were so strong that first week that we had estimated that we were making a profit of $1.10 per second. It didn’t take long, however, before all the Fart and Beer apps drove the prices down, and within a month we had cut our prices in half in order to remain visible in the rankings.

Screen Shot 2013-07-05 at 3.09.43 PM

148Apps: What has surprised you most about the App Store in the five years since launch?

Mr. Greenstone: I’m shocked at how big it got. Even Apple was shocked at how things exploded – nobody expected that. I’m also shocked that it hasn’t self-imploded from all of the competition. Back in 2007 there were around 2,000 PC games that came out every year, and that was considered to be crushing on the industry. Nobody was able to make any money, and everyone was complaining that the PC gaming industry was going to collapse. That all seems silly now because there are probably 100x that many iOS games each year yet the industry keeps growing and growing. True, only about 5% of all of those games ever make any money, and even fewer of them make enough to sustain a business, but it’s such an easy and inexpensive platform to develop for that people keep trying. That’s really the key to it all: throw enough darts at the dart board and eventually something will stick and you can go buy that Ferrari.

148Apps: In the five years since launch, the App Store has changed considerably. The number of users has skyrocketed along with downloads, prices for paid apps have stabilized at the lowest possible price point of $0.99, and free to play has dominated the top grossing charts. If current you could go back five years and talk to 2008 you, what would you say? What chances would you take?

Mr. Greenstone: I don’t think I would have changed anything. I only wish that we’d had more than just Enigmo and Cro-Mag Rally out at launch, but there was no way. I was working 16 hour days for most of 2008, and we got as many of our Mac games over to iOS as quickly as we could. Had Nanosaur 2 been out at launch, however, we would have easily made another $10 million I’m sure!

148Apps: I consider Pangea as the first big company to take advantage of the ability to put apps on sale in the App Store. As early as September, 2008, some Pangea games were put on sale for $1.99. Then for “Black Friday” of 2008, all Pangea apps went to $0.99. You could be seen as the first developer to contribute to driving prices down on the App Store. Do you get any pushback from other developers about that?

Mr. Greenstone: So, Andy Hess, the Games Partnership Manager at Apple always blames me for starting the price war (partly in jest), but what I always tell him is that all I did was fire the first shot in a war that had already started. The prices were coming down whether I did anything or not, but I saw the chance to make a killing so I took it. Our best week ever was actually the week after Thanksgiving in 2008. We were making a profit of around $50,000 a day once we did that Black Friday sale. I really had expected everyone to do a Black Friday sale like that, so I was shocked when Pangea was the only company to do it. That week we had 5 our our games in the Top 10 apps list. Only EA has ever done that since then as far as I know.

148Apps: Any predictions for what the App Store will be like five years from now?

Mr. Greenstone: I’m going to keep my fingers crossed and say that Apple will have redesigned the App Store such that it’s easier for customers to find things. I’d like to think there’s a way to sell an app there without being in the Top 25.

148Apps: Thanks for you time, Mr. Greenstone.

Pengea currently has 22 apps and games in the App Store including the multimillion selling Enigmo, Enigmo 2, Air Wings.

Pangea Takes The Lead In Online Gaming

I’ll admit, even when Game Center was just a big high-score collector, like OpenFeint and Plus+ before it, I was happy. I loved that it had its own app, and that it was easy to find directly compare your stats with friends, rather than having to dig through huge lists to find them. The whole thing was great, and then I found Cro-Mag Rally and the rest of the Game Center enhanced apps from Pangea.

Cro-Mag Rally

Admittedly, I’d never really gotten into Cro-Mag Rally when it was first out. It was always a good game, but with so many other racing games out there, it just got swallowed up. With the 4.1 update though, the game has found a whole new life for me (until the “so many other games” swallows it up again). Instead of being stuck in the world of single player racing, the new version of Cro-Mag lets you race against others, complete with in-game chat, via Game Center. Games are all matched up by either inviting up to three other friends or by auto matching you with others in case, as Steve Jobs put it, you have no friends.

There are no win/loss rankings in Game Center yet, just a total multiplayer score, but hopefully an expanded rankings system will come in the future.

$3.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2008-07-11 :: Category: Games

Nanosaur 2

Nanosaur 2, previously only thought of as a single player game, has now added on six levels and three multiplayer modes, including Capture the Eggs, Battle, and Race. “In Capture the Eggs mode players are on teams, and they have to retrieve all of their team’s dinosaur eggs before the other team. Battle mode, on the other hand, is pure excitement as players collect weapons and blast each other out of the sky. The race mode also involves a lot of heat seeking missiles, blasters, and cluster grenades, but your primary goal is to race around a track.”

Like the rest of the Pangea online titles, Nanosaur two has in-game voice support so you can do all your trash talking in the game rather than in text messages after the fact. I’m definitely more of an instant gratification skills basher, so this is good for me.

$3.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2008-10-14 :: Category: Games

Enigmo

The same Enigmo that won the won an Apple Design Award for best game and has sold well over a million copies now has a multiplayer experience. It’s definitely not my first choice of games that should add multiplayer to, but alas, you can now challenge others to see who can solve the puzzles the fastest.

$1.99
iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Released: 2008-07-11 :: Category: Games

“I have not been this excited about an app release (Game Center) since the App Store first opened,” says Brian Greenstone, President of Pangea Software, “There are several million existing owners of these games, and I can’t wait to start playing against them! iOS 4.1 has changed the gaming landscape on the iPhone, and I predict that most if not all of our upcoming games will be multiplayer capable.”

Hopefully other developers follow suit because I definitely think that Game Center is the key to the future of iPhone gaming.

With the iPhone 4 out in the wild along with its super-powerful Retina display, not to mention iOS4, updates to pre-existing apps are almost always necessary. Happily, Pangea Software is keeping up—they’ve updated all of their apps to support the new iPhone 4.

Not familiar with Pangea? They’ve got plenty of apps to their name. My favorites include the aquatic puzzle game Enigmo (and its sequel, Enigmo 2); caveman racing game Cro-Mag Rally; and the Missile Command-esque Warheads. Bugdom 2, Otto Matic, Antimatter, Billy Frontier, PangeaVR, and Nanosaur 2 are also receiving updates.

The updates take advantage of the iPhone 4′s display by adding higher-resolution graphics. Brian Greenstone, President of Pangea Software, says that “the retina display is truly astounding, and the games all look like nothing you’ve ever seen before.” All the games have been tweaked to accommodate the new OS as well.

If you’ve just nabbed an iPhone 4 and own some Pangea apps, make sure to download the updated versions and put that gorgeous display to good use!

Warheads

Warheads

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Warheads mixes explosive Missile Command-style gameplay with great graphics, but the lack of leaderboards and loads of technical issues are deal-breakers for me.

Read The Full Review »
Jive Turkey Shoot

Jive Turkey Shoot

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Jive Turkey Shoot is by no means a great game or a groundbreaking one, but it's fun, silly, and free. This "thank you" gift from Pangea is surprisingly entertaining and at this price, everyone should be shooting some turkeys this Thanksgiving!

Read The Full Review »

Enigmo 2 Is Here

Enigmo 2 was released last night creating a panic among the seemingly sane app reviewing community. Everyone was happy I think, but in the end we all knew that sleep would not an option for a few days. I just posted a review up on the site, but, being the fan of YouTube, and videos in general, I had to show off this video by Brian Greenstone of Pangea Software. In the video he discusses the gameplay, the production, and gives a few of his thoughts to top it all off. If you are a fan of the Enigmo series, I’d recommend checking out this video, and the review, ASAP. Enjoy!

$1.99
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Released: 2009-09-02 :: Category: Games

Enigmo 2

Enigmo 2

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Enigmo 2 will anger you in unimaginable ways, but you will keep playing. I liken the experience to a typical game of golf. No matter how bad you do, you'll keep playing. It's just so pretty, inviting, and ultimately fulfilling.

Read The Full Review »
Otto Matic

Otto Matic

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Otto Matic is a basic 3D platformer that is extremely pretty but suffers due to it's lack of gameplay and iffy controls. If you are a junky of the genre or just have fond memories of this game when it was on your Mac, pick it up.

Read The Full Review »
Nanosaur 2

Nanosaur 2

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Nanosaur 2 is a well developed flying/shooting arcade game

Read The Full Review »
Cro-Mag Rally

Cro-Mag Rally

A great arcade kart game unfortunately lacking goals or high scores

Read The Full Review »

Pangea Apps on Sale in the App Store

Some great Pangea games are on sale in the App Store:

Enigmo (we rated it 4.5 stars) is down to $4.99 ($1 off) [ App Store ]
Billy Frontier (we rated it 3.5 stars) is down to $3.99 ($2 off) [ App Store ]
Cro Mag Rally is down to $1.99 ($4 off) [ App Store ]

Grab the ones you want now, soon they will go back up.

Sale items seem to be happening more and more. We’re going to start sending out sale items only in our Twitter stream — follow us now to get the deals.

Enigmo

Enigmo

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Enigmo is a fantastic casual puzzle game -- think The Incredible Machine meets Lemmings.

Read The Full Review »
Billy Frontier

Billy Frontier

iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Developer: Pangea Software Inc. Price: $5.99 Version Reviewed: 1.0 Graphics / Sound Rating: Game Controls Rating: Re-use / Replay Value Rating: Overall Rating: Billy Frontier is set of 3D mini-games set as a space cowboy action game. This game consists of 4 different mini-games all featuring Billy Frontier, the hero of our story. Mini-game 1: […]

Read The Full Review »
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