British developer Mind Candy delighted tens of millions of children with its Moshi Monsters virtual world, before watching many of them drift away to mobile games like Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans.
Its latest effort to tempt them back is a new mobile game, World of Warriors, released this week for iPhone and iPad as a combat strategy game featuring historical warriors including vikings, knights and Aztecs.
“Imagine Horrible Histories meets Game of Thrones meets Pokemon,” said Mind Candy’s founder Michael Acton Smith when he spoke at The Bookseller Children’s Conference in September.
World of Warriors hopes to win over children and adults alike with its mixture of battling, crafting and strategy, as well as educational elements in the way it teaches players about the various historical characters.
The game is a freemium title: free to play, but using in-app purchases of virtual currency – “wildstones” – which are used within the game.
The model is less problematic in World of Warriors than it has been in previous Mind Candy mobile games that used the Moshi Monsters brand, such as match-three puzzler Moshling Rescue, which sold virtual diamonds for up to £59.99 at a time.
Acton Smith has talked regularly over the last year about the dilemma facing companies like Mind Candy, which are caught between their background providing children’s entertainment, and the freemium-dominated world of mobile games.
“Over 90% of the revenue from app stores comes from in-app purchase products. It’s a very difficult business model to make work in the kids space,” he said at the Bookseller conference.
“Kids, becaue they have access to all this, are playing these grown up games like Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans, which are backed by hundreds of millions of dollars in marketing.”
He hoped that World of Warriors would find a wide audience of children and adults. “We are bringing this world to life with a mobile game originally, which we hope will appeal to kids of all ages, and offline products that we hope will appeal to a younger audience like books and magazines.”
This article was written by Stuart Dredge, for theguardian.com on Thursday 6th November 2014 12.25 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010