Platforms: iPhone, and Fling is in the process of being ported by a 3rd party to a host of other mobile platforms (j2me, Windows Mobile, Android, etc).
Specialty genres: Puzzle games
Company size: Small
Short description of company: Candy Cane is a small iPhone app design+development studio.
How did you and your firm get into the iPhone game development business?
We started out working part-time on iPhone game development, while keeping our full-time jobs. Because our first game - Fuzzle - came out at a time when the AppStore was very new and there weren't so many good games in it at that time, we were able to put it out quite quickly and still have it be quite successful. As the AppStore got more crowded, we spent a lot longer developing Fling!, but the extra time we spent (as well as the lessons learned from releasing Fuzzle and getting the user feedback on that) paid off as Fling! sold way more than we ever really hoped.
So then once Fuzzle and Fling had both been very successful and were earning us more than our full-time jobs, we quit our full-time jobs and are now focusing on iPhone game development full-time.
In your opinion, how has the iPhone and Apple's iTunes App Store changed the gaming industry?
It has created a much better opportunity than I believe ever existed before, for individual programmers to create a game and sell it, and at least have a chance to be able to make decent money out of it and even earn a living from it.
Describe the differences between developing games for the iPhone and the iPad.
We haven't done much with the iPad yet. The iPhone's screensize is obviously quite limiting, and we had to design our games around this (i.e. how many squares can we fit on the board and still get decent accuracy when someone is playing it with their thumb), whereas the iPad's much larger screen removes such limitations.
What factors go into how you ultimately price your games?
We've generally kept our prices at the lowest level - $1. Since we're not a big established player like say EA, we rely primarily on word of mouth for our games to sell, so by setting the price low (and offering free trial versions as well) we encourage as many people as possible to give the games a try and then tell their friends about them.
Describe what your dream game for the iPhone would look like.
Well .... I guess any game that combines the following ingredients:
Super-easy to learn and to play to begin with.
Enough content and interesting enough gameplay such that it keeps me entertained for more like months rather than a few hours.
Gets gradually more+more challenging, but in an interesting rather than 'grind' kind of way.
Has plenty of ways for me to compete with friends, like two-player modes and/or online friends leaderboards, etc.
Has to be something I can both pick-up and play for a couple of minutes, and also get lost in for hours.