United Lemur's first iPhone app, Puzzllotto will officially be available Wednesday. The details of the huge promotion tied to the release that Mike Lee of United Lemur can be announced now. The first person to finish the game could win up to $30,000 USD if they finish it in the first 30 days.
The app, Puzzllotto, available in the app store starting Wednesday at $4.99 is a puzzle game with the game play and the goal being unknown at the start. Discovery of that is all part of the exploration aspect of the game. Similar to Myst in that aspect, it’s all up to the player to figure out.
The huge announcement today has to do with the prize that goes to the player that finishes the game first. The winner gets a progressive prize pool that could reach as high as $30,000 US.
The contest prize starts out at $0 on the first day of the app's release (10/22). From there it goes up by $1,000 per day, each day at noon pacific time with a max of $30,000. The first person to beat it gets all of the money, a trophy, and the title of Puzzllotto Champion. If no one beats the game by the 31st day (11/19 at noon), then the contest will end and the money will be donated to United Lemur's charity of choice, Madagascar Fauna Group.
Date :: Prize amount
10/22 :: App available
10/23 :: $1,000 USD
10/24 :: $2,000 USD
10/25 :: $3,000 USD
10/26 :: $4,000 USD
10/27 :: $5,000 USD
10/31 :: $9,000 USD
11/01 :: $10,000 USD
11/20 :: $29,000 USD
11/21 :: $30,000 USD
11/22 :: Prize donated to Madagascar Fauna Group
This promotion marks the first large scale prize-based promotion we've seen for an iPhone app. While other companies have tried smaller cash prizes, this promotion has the possibility to be very large. Good luck everyone -- let us know how you are doing in the comments below or via Twitter.
We've included the full press release and some pictures of the app after the break.
United Lemur Announces $30,000 Puzzllotto Prize
FOR RELEASE MONDAY OCTOBER 20 AFTER ANNOUNCEMENT ON UNITEDLEMUR.ORG
CUPERTINO - United Lemur, Inc. today announced a cash prize of up to $30,000 for the first person to solve their upcoming Puzzllotto game for iPhone and iPod touch.
"The problem with games like Zork and Myst is it's too tempting to Google the answer and spoil the fun," CEO Mike Lee explained. "By offering a cash prize, we're hoping to create a real challenge for people."
Puzzllotto, like Zork and Myst, is an exploration puzzle game, where the object of the game is to deduce the object of the game. The $4.99 title was announced at the company's debut event earlier this month.
The company, an engineering and design collective centered around Cupertino, California, has a progressive business model built on the idea of altruistic capitalism. The idea is summed up in United Lemur's mission statement: "Ship beautiful products to make a better world."
The most obvious example is the company's pledge to donate 10% of App Store revenue to charity. Puzzllotto will benefit the Madagascar Fauna Group, which protects the animals featured in the game.
But United Lemur's altruism goes beyond simply giving money. Even though Puzzllotto represents a significant investment of engineering and legal resources, the company refuses to apply for patents on any invention.
Instead, the company hopes to share its investment with other developers through its fundware.info site, while the company's ten employees hope Puzzllotto will raise enough money to capitalize bigger dreams.
Aside from setting legal precedents, the game represents a shot across the bow to other App Store players. Lee has been an outspoken critic of the overall quality of many current offerings. He recruited some industrial strength help to back up his words.
The game's graphics were designed by artist David Lanham, and the games sounds were recorded in Madagascar by Dr. Douglas Quin, the noted sound designer who worked on Electronic Arts' Spore. Lee, himself an Apple Design Award-winning engineer, wrote the code.
The company has been distributing a "quality demo" to bloggers and members of the press, to show off the game's over-the-top production value, without giving away too many secrets.
The application was uploaded to iTunes and approved for sale last week, Lee said, but the game's debut was delayed until the final draft of the official rules was completed by the company's promotions attorneys.
Official rules are available at puzzllotto.com, but the promotion basically breaks down like this:
* Puzzllotto will appear on the App Store on Wednesday, October 22. The Puzzllotto Prize starts as a trophy, a metaphorical empty cup.
* Each day at noon (Pacific Time), the company will announce via Twitter (twitter.com/unitedlemur) whether the puzzle has been solved.
* If the puzzle has not been solved, the jackpot will increase by $1,000.
* This promotion will run for 31 days, with the maximum jackpot being $30,000.
* If nobody wins the $30,000 jackpot after 24 hours, it will be donated to charity.
The promotion is limited to the United States, and excludes Maryland, North Dakota, and Vermont.
"The unprecedented nature of this promotion makes legal fees a serious development cost," Lee said. "We're going to try to make Puzzllotto II worldwide."
A side effect of the promotion is the game will only be available in the US iTunes store until the promotion is concluded, a move designed to prevent consumer confusion, Lee said.
"If that sounds overly careful, it is," Lee said. "We've got the best promotions attorneys on the planet helping us design this, and a professional promotions company to run it. We want people to know our hype is backed by a solid commitment to quality. There's steak behind the sizzle."