Discovery and cross-promotion are important buzz words all over the app and gaming world, especially on the iPhone and Facebook where the amount of new product launches is ever increasing. With thousands of new products being launched each day, it is very daunting task for game developers and publishers to try to stand out and drive downloads to their own apps – at least if not gettng any help. It can be also very hard for the users to find out new content they would enjoy from all the noise. Swedish The Game Trail‘s purpose is exactly to “guide iPhone gamers down the right path to quality games” and thus ease the problem for both sides.
There are certain big iPhone publishers that have been so successful (like Chillingo that was just bought) that they are able to drive lots of new downloads for new launches (and thus get them on the Top charts which will drive loads of more downloads) by cross-promoting new games to their existing user base. There are also certain other cross-promotion and marketing tools (like Tapjoy, Scoreloop, and Aurora Feint – or indeed Applifier on Facebook)
The Game Trail application is more end user oriented, though, and very much like many of the iPhone app and games review websites. It was created by Swedish game developer Fabrication Games in order to let users easily find high quality iPhone games. The app features different iPhone games with YouTube video trailers, reviews, and “unbiased” rankings, and of course normal screenshots and text descriptions. (It is really smooth experience – only small minus in my mind comes from The Game Trail not showing the name of the game publisher and/or developer.)
The featuring and app sorting process is currently based on manual editorial judgment, with new games added to its database every day and the feature lists being refreshed.
The Game Trail has picked up really good traction – the app was last week in the top 10 of the US App Store, peaking at #2 in Entertainment and #7 in Top Apps.
Tommy Palm, CEO of The Game Trail and Fabrication Games, said the app was generating 30,000 to 50,000 new downloads during the chart peak, and that the app is serving up to “5 years of game play video” every day. Majority of the users come from the US, with Brazil, UK, Germany, and Korea being also strong countries.
Palm said that the key to The Game Trail’s growth has seemed to be their YouTube channel, which has grown a lot in popularity and generated awareness. They haven’t really spent any money on any other type of marketing so far.
At the moment The Game Trail’s revenues are based solely on Apple’s affiliate revenues of 5% from sales happening through the direct app links in The Game Trail app and website. Palm hints, though, that there are some plans enabling CPI model (cost per install – or acquisition) and paid advertising at some point, but right now the company is focused on building and improving the user experience. Of course, the site and the app also make it possible to advertise Fabrication Games’ own products conveniently.
Fabrication Games was born as a management buy-out by Alexander Ekvall (on the left in the photo) and Tommy Palm from Swedish skill gaming company Jadestone. The duo had been making mobile games for many years as part of Jadestone, which had also been founded by Tommy Palm in 1999. Palm explained they further spinned off The Game Trail last spring as a new startup to attract some angel seed funding for the firm.