Disney Finally Taps Into the Power of Tap Tap Revenge

Disney has released the latest version of Tap Tap Revenge — more than a year after its last big release.

So, what’s taken so long?

Bart Decrem, the SVP and GM of Disney Mobile Games, said development took a back seat, as the company worked on its overall mobile games strategy.

Over the past year, Decrem said, the focus was on using games to promote Disney’s brands or create all-new Disney characters. And, sometimes they were able to do a little bit of both.

For example, the company’s hit game, Where’s My Water?, which features the lovable, original, character Swampy the Alligator, was repurposed as Where’s My Perry? to leverage Disney’s existing characters from the “Phineas & Ferb” TV show. Both games consistently rank in the Top 5 paid apps in the App Store.

Now, Decrem says, Disney is trying to figure out how Tap Tap Revenge fits in with the broader strategy.

Disney acquired the Tap Tap game franchise two years ago through the purchase of Tapulous, which was one of the breakout stars of the early iPhone app economy.

Decrem, who was CEO of Tapulous, says it was always his belief that it was important to build a community of users to drive discoverability and to increase cross-promotional benefits. As a free game that draws in thousands of users, he said, Tap Tap Revenge is the logical place to turn to in developing that network of users.

“We are trying to create new characters, like Swampy, and high-quality games around existing characters, like Perry, but one of the things we are also learning — from the business perspective — is that discoverability is important,” Decrem said. “We are trying to build a network that connects all of our apps together. Tap Tap is one of the biggest games in the App Store, so the question is, how do we tie it up to the others we are building?”

Tap Tap Revenge: Tour, which is available for free on iOS, is a rhythm game that challenges players to tap the screen to the beat of a song.

In this particular version, the game includes a “tour” mode that puts the player in the role of a concert promoter, a tour manager, and a rock star. The app gives free tracks away daily, including songs from top artists LMFAO, Avicii and Selena Gomez, and featured artists Gotye, Carly Rae Jepsen and Kaskade (feat. The Neon Trees). It also will be selling 17 bundles of premium content available for in-app purchase.

The bundles include tracks from hit artists such as Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Lil Wayne, Drake, Nickelback, Far East Movement (feat. Justin Bieber), Lady Gaga and Disney Channel favorites from “Shake It Up” and “Austin & Ally.”

“When we started Tapulous, we knew it was important to build a network and community of users. At that point, it was our goal to dominate the free chart and get as many downloads as possible,” Decrem said.

Once you get those users, they can be monetized over time across several games. But still, Decrem says the network only goes so far.

“At the end of the day, the greatest thing is word of mouth. It still dominates. You can propel an app to the top of the charts, but it won’t stay there if users aren’t talking to their friends about it. When you have something like Tap Tap that becomes an institution, you have to invest in it and maintain it.”

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