In today's world, apps are a dime a dozen, and most are free. By the end of 2009, while iPhone apps reached its '3 billion app download' milestone, studies have indicated that the retention rates of returning to apps after the initial download was a major hurdle for developers.
However, in the case of Bolt Creative and their aptly named iPhone app, "Pocket God," it looks like their development team have found a means to get users to return often and have sold more than 2 million downloads proving it.
While somewhat of a demented premise, the promo pitch on the their Web site begs the question: "What kind of god would you be? Benevolent or vengeful? Play Pocket God and discover the answer within yourself."
So picture yourself as the god of a remote island where you have total control over all the natives. This video includes a demo that shows some of the disasters that the "power to be" can bestow on his people - including volcanoes, lightning storms and earthquakes. If you were the Pocket God, you could feed the islanders to the sharks, hoist them on spears, burn them and otherwise inflict cruelties on them.
David Castelnuovo & Allen DyePocket God has sold as many as 100,000 copies a week during its most successful sales periods. The founders Dave Castelnuovo and Allen Dye have initiated a business model for other app developers to emulate. According to some, it's the textbook case of how to launch a hit game on the iPhone.
To prompt players to return often, the company has launched more than 30 updates, effectively turning the game into an ongoing service versus a one-time usage experience. The pair has since committed to setting a goal of adding updates weekly.
Today the Bolt Creative brainstrust has been acknowledged by a number of awards and has received kudos from the press around the world. Their "Pocket God" title has even been referenced by other games like Imangi Studios’ Harbor Master and Lima Sky’s Doodle Jump - something you don’t see too often in the independent competitive game world.
With legions of new worshippers joining the flock daily, might Pocket God become a whole new religion of its own.? Or as one reviewer speculated - might it be the 'lost symbol' Dan Brown was referring to in his most recent novel?