Chillingo is likely the largest third party publisher on the App Store. With over 10 years of experience publishing mobile games and hundreds of games in the App Store, they have pretty much seen it all. Chillingo was acquired by EA in 2010 but has been pretty much left to their own since then. We take a few moments to talk with Ed Rumley, COO of Chillingo about the App Store and the past five years.
148Apps: How has the App Store changed Chillingo?
Ed Rumley, COO of Chillingo: Well, when Chillingo started out we were dealing with a hugely fragmented marketplace. If people think they know fragmentation now, they should have tried publishing games back in the Java/Pocket PC days. The App Store changed everything. It created a single marketplace where it was easy to get your game to consumers. Our focus shifted to almost 100% iOS shortly after the advent of the App Store and stayed that way until pretty much a year ago.
148Apps: Chillingo has published some of the biggest games on the App Store. Huge success with games like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope. Was the massive level of success of these games a surprise to you?
Mr. Rumley: We've always had a pretty good eye for something special, and we work with the best indie developers in the world. Obviously you can never tell if something is going to live up to the success you want for it but I think in almost every case over the past few years, whether it was Cut the Rope, Catapult King etc we've been quietly confident that we were onto something.
148Apps: In the five years since launch, the App Store has gone through considerable changes. The number of users has skyrocketed along with downloads, prices for paid apps has stabilized way lower than many expected, free to play has dominated the top grossing charts. If, knowing what you know about the App Store now, you could go back and influence the path of Chillingo five years ago, what would you say?
Mr. Rumley: I think if we were told what the App Store would be like between then and now we probably wouldn't have believed it! I'm not sure we would have changed an awful lot, to be honest. We've always been good at spotting the rising trends in the mobile industry and what's on the horizon. We did that effectively with the advent of the $.99 price point and we've always kept a close eye on the App Store, changing our business when and where appropriate. Since then, various free to play business models have emerged and you can see we've been embracing that—but on our own terms. Pixel People is a great example of a freemium title that people loved to play. It has the level of quality we have a reputation for, and was praised widely for putting the fun before the business model.
148Apps: What have you seen on the App Store, outside of apps published by Chillingo, that has surprised you most?
Mr. Rumley:I still can't believe games like Real Racing 3 and Infinity Blade 2 are running on tablets and phones. The visuals, size and scope of games like these are console-quality, yet they all have the sort of gameplay that makes them totally unique as mobile titles. At the other end we are consistently blown away by what the indie developers is are capable of; games like Tiny Wings being made by just one person is amazing and I've lost a lot of time on games like Clear Vision and Stickman Base Jumper.
148Apps: Any predictions on what the App Store will be like five years from now?
Mr. Rumley:Different, that's for certain. Judging by what has happened over the last past five years I would be mad to predict anything specific but will say that the quality of the games is only going to get better and the talent of the indie developer will never fail to surprise us!
Many thanks to Ed Rumley for his time.