When the first iPhone was released to the world in 2007, it came with a simple message. The message being, ‘There is an app for that!’. With that mantra, we saw a whole plethora of apps appearing on the phone. Soon after, next year, it had a competitor, Android. While others such as Blackberry and Windows tried to compete, they failed on one front. There were just not enough apps available for the latter two. While Windows Phone still attempts to resurface every now and then, Blackberry has already given up on its own OS and is investing in Android phones with an extra layer of Blackberry security.
Over the years, we have seen a certain trend in app success, and more so, in the success of games.
Before we had apps, we had websites that offered us simple and silly games. Similar concepts were also taken to games involving money. From the likes of Hangaroo to Book of Ra, we have seen quite a few success stories. Of course, all of this was before the smart phone revolution.
Ever since the first iPhone, one game became the success story among apps. Based on a simple concept, and definitely not an original idea, the Angry Birds franchise took the app world by storm. It was something that could be found on gaming websitesEverybody had it on their phones. Some of us had multiple copies running on multiple devices. The idea was simple. Use a catapult. As you progressed, new ‘birds’ were introduced, letting you do more. The basic principle remained the same.
Now Angry Birds is a film, they have spin off apps, and there are Angry Bird Toys. Rovio has made an absolute mint, and all down to it being a rather simple idea.
Of course, mix simplicity with a bit of interactivity, and you get something even more special. What was it that made Candy Crush any better than the millions of other apps that work exactly the same? It may be hard to pinpoint it to something specific, but if you had to give it one thing it had on others, it would be how it encouraged people to ask their friends and family to join the game. In many ways, the concept is ancient. It was built on the principle of a pyramid scheme. Nothing new, and not the last one, but it worked rather well in this case.
The latest success story among gaming apps has to be Pokemon Go. The game brought Pokemon to the masses. The gameplay was rather simple, but not only could you compare yourself against others, it actually encouraged you to go outside and find various creatures. What’s more, it used augmented reality as part of the game, making it even more interesting. Various shops and cafes started becoming Pokestops. The only way was up!
Of course, it isn’t just down to games on smartphones that use simplicity as a way of being successful. Nintendo has had a lot of success with their DS gaming device in the past. While companies like Sony and Microsoft added extra features to their consoles, Nintendo stuck to simplicity with their Wii and DS. It didn’t quite hit the mark, as history tells us. As smartphones started to offer better games at cheaper prices, the devices started to struggle. However, since Nintendo has announced the Switch, the company is back on the radar and everybody is excited about the device. Needless to say, the world is ready for yet another Nintendo device. While we are yet to play with a device, it is obvious that the device will offer the same spirit that Nintendo has always offered, that of simple but fun gaming.
Whether the device succeeds or not is yet to be seen, but Nintendo is sticking to what they know best. History suggests they may be on to something here!