A FLEDGLING games developer has seen over half a million Apple iPhone and iPod Touch users download its latest mobile title, within just three weeks of its launch.
Last month Teesside University spin-out Fluid Pixel, which specialises in games for mobile devices, made action-puzzler KamiCrazy the first commercial product to come out of its partnership with multinational corporation Apple.
And, on the back of the success of the game, the small Middlesbrough operation is looking to open a second office in Newcastle as well as taking on additional staff to add to its current team of three.
The two-year-old company is also working with mobile phone giant Nokia and network provider Orange as it looks to gain a lead in the rapidly growing mobile games sector.
Mobile phone users can download the game as a demo for free or the full version for around £3 at Apple’s iTunes online store, with 70% of the proceeds going to Fluid.
Meanwhile, the business is currently working on its second game to be distributed by Apple – an educational title made in conjunction with Middlesbrough games developer Ideonic.
The company was set up in 2007 by Teesside masters graduate Stuart Varrall, who believes his firm’s first foray into the iPhone market will prove an ongoing success.
He said: “It’s a fun game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, the style will appeal to audiences worldwide and it’s easy to pick-up-and-play.
“We are working with Ideonic to bring out an educational game by March this year, we hope to have a couple of new members of staff on the way and open a branch in Newcastle.”
KamiCrazy is billed as a cross between Lemmings, Enigmo and Pitfall in which players must guide a group of Kami soldiers to safety through a series of perilous, trap-laden levels.
The story begins when the fearsome Kami soldiers crash-land in the jungle, and they need the player’s help to get them back to their ship – dealing with some dangerous terrain and troublesome traps along the way.
PAGE TWO: Find out which were the most popular mobile video games in 2008.
Mobile games motor into 2009
On the back of rocketing sales last year, this year looks set to be the year mobile video games become truly big business.
According to international mobile gaming firm M-Biz Global, sales of games through its TryNBuy service were up 62% in 2008 in Europe, the Middle East and Asia (EMEA).
The company's sales of games in the UK increased by 50% in December compared to the average sales in the previous eleven months of 2008, while increasing 21% globally.
And M-Biz's growth appears to have been replicated by other mobile game suppliers across the world.
The Chinese mobile games market is estimated to be worth around £124m, according to research group Research and Markets.
And this figure is expected to soar to £306m by next year.
According to specialist mobile games website pocketgamer.biz, the top ten selling games in the US last year were:
3. Guitar Hero III
4. Wheel of Fortune
6. The Oregon Trail
7. Ms. Pac-Man
8. Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader?
9. Tetris Mania
10. Surviving High School