Okay, so again, for the second time today, I’m kind of branching out of our usual domain of covering strictly indie games to bring you more of a converstation on the methods of delivering indie games, if that makes any sense.
Last Friday, at the very start of IndieCade, I was able to sneak into a panel on Intel’s new “AppUp” application store for netbook computers. The premise is fairly simple, Intel has released an app store — just like on Android, and iOS — for people who own netbooks. The idea is that since these computers are so small and are typically owned by people who don’t need a full sized computer they instead act more like a tablet or smart phone for many people hence the application store market should work.
The reason why I bring this up today is that, like all great app stores, AppUp is planned to have a large section dedicated to games and gaming, free and otherwise, just like you would expect on any other app store.
Now, as a developer, it probably doesn’t make too much sense to develop a game exclusively for a netbook app store that is neither proven nor robust enough yet (it launched just 2 weeks ago). However, there are a few key advantages to at least porting your game over:
First, the panel I attended wasn’t only headed by Intel developers attempting to sell us their product. It was also headed by Rob Jagnow of Lazy 8 Studios, aka the developer of 2009′s IGF winner Cogs. He has just recently ported Cogs over to AppUp for the simple reason that it took him about an hour to port, and less than 10 days to work out all the minor kinks in the process. I don’t care who you are, 10 days development time for a port is pretty impressive. This means that, at the very least, you’re looking at getting your game onto a new platform with very little effort.
Second, this is Intel we’re talking about. If you think their idea of launching an app store platform is just about setting up a website where people can download it and begin buying stuff you’re wrong. At the panel, the Intel developers were quite adamant in letting us know that they’re partnering up with netbook manufacturers to include the store on their computers from day one. So, just like Android phones and iOS deveices ship with their various marketplaces, netbooks too will soon ship with their own app store.
Third, there are 70 million netbooks out there today. While recent trends show the netbook is declining, people are still buying them and if games can be successful on the iPad which has nowhere near that number of units out there, then certainly a game can be successful on a more numerous platform.
All in all, I was very impressed with what Intel had to offer on the service and their plans to roll it out. There are other benefits to making an app for AppUp as well, like free stuff and contests, but really the true benefit lies in getting in on the action before it becomes really prominent. The first apps on any app store traditionally do well, and I’d highly recommend taking a look at getting your own app on here as well.
And again, if you’re the owner of a netbook, go ahead and check out the AppUp store. It’s available right now as a free download and there seems to already be plenty of free and pay apps available across a wide selection of categories. I know from my girlfriend’s experience that finding games and software that can run on her netbook can be kind of a pain. This alleviates that problem.
AppUp apps currently support Windows 7 and Windows XP with MeeGo support supposedly coming next year.