Disclaimer: my brother Jens is Wooga’s founder and CEO. It is unlikely that I would have been involved in this project if that were not the case, if only for the fact that I would probably never have learned about it in the first place. That said, I think we managed to separate family and business quite well.
Yesterday at the Le Web conference in Paris, social game developer Wooga launched Diamond Dash for iPhone and iPad, their first native iOS title. Diamond Dash originally launched as a Flash game on Facebook in March 2011 and, with more than 11 million active players per month, today is one of the top 10 games on the platform.
During the past months, I helped port the game to iOS. Our goal was to make the iOS version even more fun to play than the game on Facebook, and I think we succeeded. The simple gameplay makes Diamond Dash a perfect game for touchscreen control and the incredibly fast-paced action comes across perfectly on both iPhone and iPad. Although the gameplay is trivial (tap groups of 3 or more same-colored gems to make them explode), it is highly addictive and I encourage you to try it out.
Because of Diamond Dash’s Facebook heritage, it was clear from the beginning that the iOS version should also have a deep Facebook integration. While it is possible to play standalone, it really is a lot more fun to play against your Facebook friends and compete in the Weekly Tournament. Your scores are synced between all three platforms (Facebook, iPhone and iPad) so no matter where you or your friends play, you can always compete with each other. Not every iPhone user may like this deep Facebook integration, but I think for a game that already has such a huge fan base on Facebook, it makes total sense.
From a developer’s perspective, the tight integration with Facebook and the existing game backend turned out to be one of the challenges of the project. In the end, we were able to take advantage of some brand-new Facebook features that were rolled out in Facebook’s latest version of their native iOS app. Viral channels that were limited to the Facebook website until a few weeks ago can now be used by developers to link directly to their native iOS or Android app through the Facebook app on the device. My brother (and Wooga CEO) Jens talked about this when he introduced Diamond Dash at Le Web.
Already Featured by Apple
I am incredibly excited about the huge initial success that Diamond Dash seems to be. Just 24 hours after its announcement, the game has already been featured by Apple and made it to the top 10 free apps all over Europe (3rd in Turkey, 4th in Germany, 6th in France, 7th in Italy, 9th in Spain). It’s currently ranked 79th and climbing among all free apps in the US.
User feedback also seems to be very positive. On the German App Store, Diamond Dash already got more than 700 ratings and reviews with an average of 4.5 stars. Thanks to all players for the positive reception! If you want to be one of them, get Diamond Dash for free in the App Store.
Thanks to the Arcade Team at Wooga
I would also like to say thanks to the incredible team I could work with at Wooga. I think we can be quite proud of the job we did. I wish them the best for the continued development of the game (in which I will no longer be involved).