As developers and publishers continue to struggle with issues of discoverability on the iPhone’s App Store, and Android fails to ape the success of Apple’s platform, Blackberry company RIM has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting games makers.
The platform’s developer relations director Mike Kirkup has told Develop that his employer is now focused more than ever on offering studios a complete support package, assisting them with everything from creating product to monetisation and publication.
Furthermore, RIM has revealed a range of developer services, integrating revised payment and advertising APIs into the platform’s infrastructure, and increasing support for the likes of geo-location, push notifications and Open GL ES 1.0.
“One of things we’re focused on is creating a really vibrant and successful ecosystem for developers. We’re not focused on the number of applications that we have on the market or any of those kind of metrics. We’re very focused on making sure that we have a very successful and easy-to-use developer platform,” insisted Kirkup.
“We’ve put in lot of work around choice,” he added. “Firstly we’re giving users choice in the different games, and hardware platforms, and various forms of functionality.
“Secondly we’re giving developers choice, not just in how they commercialise apps – they don’t have to sell them through App World, and can sell them wherever they want however they want, through carriers or channels like Crackberry – but also we offer choice in tooling and methodology. We support Java, and we support web very heavily. We’re moving towards Flash, and you’ll see us continue to enhance that so that we meet developers where they want development rather than try and force them to our methodology.”
Kirkup gave Develop a number of reasons why he believes Blackberry provides a great opportunity for developers – recognising that creating apps for portable platforms now encompasses many business and marketing disciplines unfamiliar to the start-up studios that thrive in the mobile sector.
“One is that we have a huge userbase of well over 32 million active subscribers worldwide, and that’s growing exponentially right now. There’s a huge opportunity now to get in at the ground floor and sell to a lot of customers,” suggested Kirkup, who also claimed that discoverability issues that plague other platforms are absent on App World.
“People actually make money selling games on the Blackberry platform today. They’re not jail-breaking devices to rip them off. No one’s buying applications through the Android market today. People are actually spending real money to buy applications on Blackberry, and there’s a whole bunch of services coming to augment that as well.
“Last and certainly not least, we give people choice and control over their future. We give people the ability to sell through their own channels, through their own capabilities. We’re giving people the tools they want to use in the way they want to use them, and we’re allowing them to establish relationships with customers directly.”
Kirkup concluded by describing his given reasons as a “perfect storm” for why studios should make games for Blackberry handsets.