FourBrosStudio recently revealed that they have been pulling in around $1000+ a day from ads via Taptitude their Free Windows Phone Game. This was quite an impressive achievement for an Indie game on Windows Phone and we reached out the folks from FourBrosStudio to get an interview , they agreed and here it is ..
Are you guys really four brothers ? Tell us a bit about FourBrosStudio.
Yes, we’re really brothers. We started making games together back in 2009. Our first creation was an XBLIG called Zoomaroom. After that we made a game called Wayne the Brain in 2010 and then finally we launched Taptitude for Windows Phone ( download ) in the first half of 2011.
Until recently we would just get together once a week or so to program. Now that Taptitude is taking off we’re treating it more like a second job. We officially formed FourBros Studio LLC in late 2011.
Saijo : They are Steve Furtwangler, Brandon Furtwangler , Nathan Furtwangler and Tyler Furtwangler, in case you were wondering what names they go by and if you happen to jump up on to xBox they are SFurtwangler, GamerTagForSale, GuyNamedNate, TWangly.
How did you guys end up developing for Windows Phone ?
It was a pretty natural choice given that our experience was with XNA making Xbox Live Indie Games. We knew we wanted to get into mobile games, and this looked like a good place to start. We’re glad we did because the other major platforms likely wouldn’t have been as kind to us. With Android you spend a lot of time dealing with fragmentation issues, and with only 4 part time employees, that’s not an option. iPhone is obviously appealing due to its market share, but competing with ‘indie’ studios with multi-million dollar budgets can be difficult.
What is the BEST and the WORST part of developing for Windows Phone ?
The best part is probably the potential for growth. We’re doing fairly well right now, and we’ve positioned ourselves to be in a great place as the Windows Phone market share grows. We’ll obviously have to grow with it, so we’re actively working to expand and improve on this creation of ours.
As for the worst part, again it’s going to be more business oriented, rather than anything technical. Our options for monetizing Taptitude are fairly limited. Selling mobile games is difficult when so much can be had for free, and doubly so when Xbox Live games are given so much attention. So that leaves us with the ad-based model, which is volatile to say the least. We’re doing fairly well at the moment with just ads, but that could change on us pretty quickly if we don’t stay agile.
Tell us a bit about taptitude, how the idea was conceived and how the game came to be.
We started by looking at what makes a good mobile game. It’s not the case that a good PC game or a good Console game translates well to something in your pocket. Based on our own experience with mobile gaming, the best games can be played in just a few minutes. You might be waiting for a bus, or in between meetings or whatever and you just want to kill some short amount of time. That’s why we designed Taptitude to be consumed in bite sized chunks. The mini-game model works perfectly for this.
The other unique aspect of mobile games that is rarely taken full advantage of is the distribution model. We decided that we needed to do something different to keep players coming back. We committed to releasing an update every week, so our users would form a habit out of seeing what’s new this week. Most game studios spend too much time guessing at what users want during long production cycles, and they aren’t agile enough to react to the data of how their users actually play.
Taptitude is a new kind of mobile game. One that evolves over time and is constantly updated with new content, minigames, and cross game features. It’s actually a game platform where the connections between games creates an experience that is greater than the sum of its parts. There is something in Taptitude for almost every type of gamer, and as they enjoy one type of game they’re encouraged to try new games.
How many updates have you pushed out for taptitude ? How do you guys decide what goes in to each update ?
We update every week, and are currently publishing our 68th release (v6.8). We have a OneNote shared on SkyDrive where we organize ideas for future updates and track what each of the four bros is working on. We usually have 2-3 minigames/features in flight at once and try to slot in when things land a couple weeks in advance.
Where does taptitude go from here ? Any tips on what to expect in future versions..
Definitely more minigames! We’re also planning on adding support for social network integration and asynchronous multiplayer games. Also, now that we can afford to hire outside help, we’re actively looking for a killer digital artist that can give Taptitude a more polished look. If any of your readers are interested, they can send us samples from their portfolio for consideration.
Are you guys working on any other Windows Phone projects?
Not at this time. Taptitude takes more time than we have, so it’s not possible to continue evolving it while we’re working on something new. If we had more time/resource we’d probably put them into Taptitude since we still have lots of ideas on how to improve it.
Any advice for fellow developers on getting their game noticed in the marketplace ?
The first step is to make a great app. Then it’s important not to give up on it if its not a hit out of the gates. We had a very slow start with Taptitude, but we stuck with it and eventually we reached a tipping point where getting new users caused us to get even more new users and at that point we shot up the ranks.
There isn’t a silver bullet, you just have to make progress on all fronts. Build a loyal following, and do things to keep them coming back all the time and staying in your game. Then build a presence on twitter/facebook and look for ways to advertise your app on websites, AdDuplex, and other venues.
According to you what are the Top 5 3rd party Apps and Top 5 Games for Windows Phone ?
Besides Taptitude we think these are some must have apps and games:
- Bing Translator
- Weather Flow
Saijo: Looks like our little app did not make it to their list , we gotta work on that ;)
How can fans get in touch with you guys.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to us and all the best to you guys.
Thanks for the interview. We appreciate all the work you’re doing to foster the wp7 community. Hopefully other indie developers will learn from our experience and see how great this platform can be.
It is easy to see the passion they share for games and windows phone development with over 60+ updates for their game and more on its way !! Plz join us in wishing this bro dev team all the very best and hope to see more fun games from them. If there are other developers that you like us to interview plz let us know via the comments below.