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WWDC 2010: Firemint's app success

Mike Schramm
Mike Schramm|June 11, 2010 11:00 AM
We've met up with the folks from Firemint before -- back at GDC, they were kind enough to show us Real Racing on the iPhone and share their plans for the iPad. Just a few months later we've found them at WWDC with the extremely popular Flight Control HD and an Apple Design award for Real Racing HD. When we talked with Firemint's community manager Alexandra Peters this week, she was quiet on their future plans.

What they don't want to do, she told us, is put pressure on themselves. In addition to all of their success on the App Store, both of Firemint's apps are also playing on iPads in Apple Stores, and all of that exposure for their first iOS titles means whatever they do next has some big shoes to fill. Firemint is flattered by the Design Award, Peters told us, but she admits it "may have added even more pressure."
So Firemint is currently taking a breather. While Peters says they may do another round of polish updates to the titles, there are no major features publicly planned on the horizon. But of course they have ideas, and we know they have titles in the works (as we heard at GDC), so it sounds like they're in a building phase.

Some of that building might include Game Center -- while Firemint hasn't incorporated a third-party social gaming system like OpenFeint, Peters says Game Center is something that they are interested in. The branding of those third-party networks, she told us, sometimes can overwhelm the game itself, and Firemint is not comfortable with giving up a large amount of branding to an outside network rather than the company itself. But Game Center is "part of the platform," and the fact that it's universal (everyone who has an iTunes account has a Game Center account) is a nice draw for Firemint.

Peters also told us that Firemint is planning to try and take their games to other platforms like Android -- they've already released Flight Control on the Nintendo DSi, and the company recently partnered with Namco to bring Flight Control to other platforms. That's an interesting circumstance -- Firemint is used to working on licensed brands, not licensing their own brands out to other developers. I asked Peters if Apple had ever spoken up to Firemint about their games going to other platforms, and she said that while Firemint had considered what Apple might be thinking (Apple has shown them a lot of support in the past), they've landed on the decision to go elsewhere if it seems like it's the right thing to do.

The company does owe a lot to Apple's platform and the App Store -- "we could never have self published before the App Store," Peters admitted. But in the end, she said, "it makes more sense to bring out great apps to as many platforms as we can."