Will Make it Rain be the next Flappy Bird?

Make it Rain screenshots

A free game where you simply swipe the screen to make money that can only be spent within the game doesn’t sound all that riveting.

But, surprisingly, it is – and Make it Rain could easily be the next Flappy Bird, a true viral phenomenon.

The free-to-play game for Apple’s iPhone and Android tasks the player with making money. Happily, this doesn't involve a zero-hours contract stacking shelves. You start by simply swiping the screen, making it "rain" pound notes. Generate enough cash and you can start to invest your money, perhaps in something innocuous such as a lemonade stand – or throw caution to the wind and buy a corrupt politician.

And it's addictive. Power begets power, money generates more money and for developer Space Inch it’s generating great wads of real money, to the tune of $50,000 a day from advertising and small in-app purchases.

Brilliant mechanics

Flappy Bird was often quoted as generating $50,000 a day for developer Dong Nguyen before it was pulled from the App Store.

The success of a mobile game like this hinges on simplicity and brilliant mechanics – something the Bird game got right – and it seems that a layer of humorous complexity could be the secret to Make it Rain’s success.

There are three types of investment the player can make, each generating more and more money. “Financial investments” earn money without the need to swipe the stack of cash.

Each strategic “business investment” boosts your cash flow, upgrading the rate at which you generate money by swiping the notes and making it rain.

Hire a top tax lawyer and really rake it in

Others classified as “political investments” generate money while the game is closed, when you should be doing real work, rather than furiously swiping at your screen. Buying a local politician, for instance, will earn the player an extra £600,000 an hour, while hiring a top tax lawyer boosts that by £550bn an hour, a sum real tax-dodgers would give their right arm for. (However, the FBI – not the real one – does make an appearance if you get involved in dodgy dealings.)

The simple swiping game mechanics hide a much more complex strategy game, which a sense of humour that Flappy Bird never offered.

The game was created for $10,000 and the developers spent an additional $1,000 in marketing, which has led to the game downloaded over 220,000 times a day, racing up the apps charts, according to Joshua Segall co-founder Space Inch, talking to VentureBeat.

That could be something to do with the fact that users can double their rate of earning if they share the game with friends or on Facebook, but the developer puts it down to the fact that the game is a hit with people in their 20s, and at least in the US, they're talking about it and playing it in groups, leading more and more to download it via word of mouth.

Small beginnings leading to a viral explosion sounds rather familiar. Even if this isn’t the next Flappy Bird, it’s certainly a contender for most addictive game of the year, at the very least.

Flappy Bird: a new season soars to the top of the app charts

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Samuel Gibbs, for theguardian.com on Thursday 22nd May 2014 10.42 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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