Recently, the gaming industry has been taken storm by games created by relatively small or unknown developers. Many small-budget games have gone viral and are being praised for their addictive, yet simple concepts. What has brought on this surge of addicting online and mobile games? Experts say social media is to blame. News travels fast by word-of-mouth and social media gives many mouths the opportunity to reach more people quicker and more effectively.
A great example of how a small gaming company found huge success through the virality of social media Is Color Switch. Independent developer, Fortafy Games is making headlines for their insanely popular mobile game, Color Switch. The game’s concept is easy, yet strangely addicting. With funky music, 2D graphics and tons of colors, the game has been downloaded more than 75 million times, but it wasn’t a huge hit from the beginning.
Fortafy’s co-founder, Zeb Jaffer explained in an interview with VentureBeat that his company was able to make waves in the multibillion dollar gaming industry because of a series of coincidental mentions on social media by public figures and celebrities.
“It’s very exciting,” Jaffer said. “We were at No. 1 on the U.S. charts for 27 days straight. It continues to be a very socially active game.”
The story of how this game became such a viral hit is one of pure coincidence. Jaffer explains that some of the social media attention was purely coincidental, like some well-timed screenshots from Kanye West. Back in February, the rapper tweeted about his app, Tidal becoming number one on the charts. The picture of the top apps also showed Color Switch, which led many of West’s followers to look into the then relatively unknown game.
The Jenner sisters, Kylie and Kendall also brought the game a lot of attention through their postings on social media about their respective apps, which Color Switch ranked right under.
(Photo credit: Fortafy Games)
Jaffer laughs as he explains that he has never been so happy to come in second place.
“They did a great job for us,” Jaffer said. “It never felt so good to get beaten.”
And it isn’t just celebrities accidentally spreading the word about Color Switch. Jaffer says that fans are also reaching out to share their support by creating viral videos and blog posts. Prominent UK DJ Tom Garnett also created new music to be used specifically by the game.
All of the attention has allowed Fortafy games to update and improve their games. With more than 100 levels and 12 different modes of play, the free app monetizes through banner ads and rewarded videos.
“We’re chasing down the magic number of 100 million downloads,” Jaffer explains.