It's difficult to stand out on the App Store, and it's getting more difficult by the day. More and more new games get added every day, and Apple is actively cracking down on many of the popular methods to get onto the charts.
Of course, many of those pay-for-ranking methods that game the system deserve to be shut down. "There is a dark side," says Applifier CEO Jussi Laakkonen. He hopes to -- with his new social sharing platform for games, Everyplay -- offer a light side.
Convinced that tablets are "where the future is going," he's landed $4 million in venture capital funding to take his heretofore Facebook-based click-sharing business in a new direction, by enabling developers to implement a simple video sharing SDK in their games, providing a simple but effective social networking layer, and letting players organically share their videos with their friends.
Laakkonen pitches it as "what's missing from games" -- "self-expression for players, a meaningful way to share from games."
We all know that the main way players organically discover iOS games is word-of-mouth. Everyplay, he says, is "word-of-mouth in a digital format."
"Video is the only format that can convey what the game is about. We're unlocking that moment."
Here's how it works. You implement the Everyplay SDK in your game, which -- if you use Unity -- takes only a few minutes. If you roll your own engine, it might take an hour of work, Laakonen says. Implementing Everyplay only means a 2 to 5 percent performance hit for your game, he adds.
Once it's in, it'll record several minutes of H264 high-quality video of play, and then give players the chance to trim and share these videos on the lightweight Everyplay social network which offers a Twitter-like "follow" metaphor and does not require real names.
The shares, of course, are linked directly to the App Store page for the relevant game. See a cool video, click, and instantly buy it.
From there, players can share their videos further -- using YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook. However, Laakkonen hopes that the Everyplay network, which lives within the games themselves, can become an organic community tool in which content created by players can be surfaced.
"There's partly a discovery aspect... but it's also enabling the players to connect together and show why they care," Laakkonen says. "What should actually get downloaded are the good games," says Laakkonen. "It's games that deserve the lift."
He also thinks that Everyplay is unlikely to fall afoul of Apple's latest strikes against promotional tools.
"For Apple, I think the important thing is the sanctity of the user," Laakkonen says. "What we're doing here is we're enabling you to share from games that you like. It's never incentivized. You don't share if you don't care; the game needs to speak to you on some level."
Better yet, Everyplay is free.
"We're basically in the business of building a YouTube," says Laakkonen. "You don't pay YouTube to host your videos."
And more importantly, he says, "You don't pay us anything for organic users. The way we plan to make money... is that if someone shares a fun video from your game... you decide, 'Well, I want to promote the video.' It's a promoted ad unit within the feed within Everyplay." However, he notes, "That's an opt-in; you don't have to."
Interested developers can sign up for the service here.