Last week, I was in the strange position of being in Berlin instead of San Francisco’s GDC where all the industry bigwigs were. But luckily, it turned out that the top paid iPhone app and the top free iPad one were by two different rookie developers from Germany.
I met one of them — Berlin-based Chrome Gekko, which is made of two brothers, a sister and a Polish guy. Long story short: they met because of a washing machine and they had the best-selling free iPad app in nearly 40 countries last week. Before creating their apps, Bowmaster for iPhone and later for the iPad, they had never made a game before. They were really quite charming and genuine. Unlike the conversations I have with larger developers, they didn’t — or didn’t know how to — throw around more monetization acronyms than can be counted on ten fingers.
It was bittersweet in a way, because I hope they’re not part of a vanishing constituency at the top of the iOS charts.
When you look at it from afar, Apple’s platform sits at a fascinating nexus within the gaming industry. It attracts top-flight developers hailing from the video game world, social gaming companies that dominate on Facebook and publicly-traded companies like Glu Mobile, which arrived with a pre-iOS wave of mobile gaming startups.