Eric Johnson

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Arkadium Says Better Analytics Will Save Windows 8 Games

Alternative_Logo_-_ColorThe gaming world has yet to be rocked — or even budged — by the introduction of Windows 8 last year. But one of Microsoft’s friends in the industry, the mobile-social casual games studio Arkadium, said it knows how to fix the problem: Better analytics.

Yes, really. CEO Kenny Rosenblatt acknowledged that Windows 8 tablets and phones don’t yet have the reach of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, but said that developers would be more inclined to make native apps for the OS if they could expect the same sort of “supporting cast” they get elsewhere: Companies to help devs with user acquisition and analytics, since doing those things in-house can be cost-prohibitive for the small game studios that have blossomed around mobile.

To that end, Arkadium has decided to build a proprietary game-analytics platform, but it’s encouraging outside developers to contact the company if they want in on what it makes. In the past 13 years, its main product has been games, many of them “white-labeled” on behalf of major media brands that don’t want to launch their own game studios. Microsoft worked with Arkadium starting in 2011 to preload new versions of old games like Minesweeper and Solitaire on Windows 8 devices.

However, Arkadium characterized its current non-game product plans as “first steps,” so devs looking to work together may have to wait on that data.

Or maybe not. Despite Rosenblatt’s suggestion that the OS has no supporting cast today, there’s already a Windows 8-dedicated analytics platform available from MarkedUp. Microsoft also offers resources online to help developers figure out what’s going on inside their apps. And though it’s still flagged as a “beta” product, App Annie ranks apps from the Windows Store alongside iPhone, iPad, Google Play, Amazon and Mac apps.

The CEO said that one of the advantages of games on Windows 8 is their stability, though not in terms of bugs. Rather, Arkadium has found in preliminary research that games tend to stay near the top of the charts longer on Windows 8 than they do on iOS and Android, though that may be because the former has about 100,000 apps versus approximately 900,000 on Apple’s App Store, and 600,000 on Google Play.

Indeed, when I asked Rosenblatt about the “wait and see” strategy developers have told me they’re following before making anything for Windows 8, he agreed that was largely the case. But then he turned it around on me: Fewer apps, he noted, means “opportunity for younger developers to seize the moment.”

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