For many coders, developing an app is a labor of love. Hacking SDKs and APIs and making a beautiful and functional user interface is a challenge that many developers relish. Like everybody else though, developers need to eat. To eat, one needs to make money. Herein lays the problem for many developers trying to put together mobile HTML5 Web apps: there are no simple avenues to monetization.
HTML5 development studio appMobi wants to change that, especially for game developers. Today, the company announced playMobi, a cross-platform HTML5-based game development, deployment and monetization software developer kit. playMobi facilitates in-app purchasing, analytics and social constructs for game developers.
appMobi is highly focused on the HTML5 ecosystem. The company’s primary goal for 2012 is to create an environment where developers will have an opportunity to make real money off of HTML5 apps. That includes creating new tools, like the controversial JQ.Mobi, or monetization tools like playMobi.
The interesting part about playMobi’s use of the 1Touch technology is that it auto-completes payments across platforms. So, for any in-app purchase, 1Touch will use either Apple’s iTunes, Google Checkout, Facebook Credits or PayPal on the Web. For developers, that is a useful tool through one API.
appMobi is also moving into other core competencies with playMobi, such as analytics and social gaming tools. This is a bit of a new tract for appMobi. The company thinks of itself as a cloud platform for HTML5 mobile Web apps more than a tools provider like Sencha or Zepto. Hence, appMobi’s bread and butter is value-added services like playMobi. In terms of games, appMobi CTO Sam Abadir said the company’s vision is similar to that of Zynga of how the market will play out. More than any other type of app, game developers need stickiness, virality and the ability to monetize off those two aspects.
Many developers wonder if HTML5 is ready for dynamic games. In our interview with Zynga Germany CTO Paul Bakaus last week, he said, “there is no point in waiting for a certain spec to finish. You can just start using it right now.” Bakaus makes a good point. If you think you can use HTML5 to push the boundaries of apps and games right now, there is no reason to wait. Create your own tools or work with existing sets and see what kind of dynamic app you can put together. It can then be “wrapped” for cross-platform deployment on iOS or Android. Games are a little more difficult and time consuming in HTML5 but the benefits of writing once and deploying everywhere can be enormous.
playMobi is appMobi’s entrance into several different verticals where it did not have a strong presence before. It can now take on companies like PlayHaven or Apsalar with game analytics and provide insight into how users are actually interacting with design elements. playMobi is currently in beta and developers can apply here. Put it through the paces and let us know how it works in the comments.
There is risk here for appMobi. The company is betting its future on the notion that HTML5 apps will become the dominant (or at least a strong segment) of the app economy. As of right now, many developers are split on the usefulness of the spec and what can be done with it, especially for games. The “native versus Web” argument is not going away any time soon.
What do you think of appMobi’s strategy? By creating value-added services for HTML5 apps, can the company help forge the future for the mobile Web?