Fall 2011 Roadmap

Road Signs ThumbnailThe years that Photics.com has been in existence is close to hitting a baker’s dozen. That’s a really long time for a website. When Photics.com was founded in 1998, it was started as an Internet Publishing business. Even today, the goal of this website remains the same — to create cool content. Yet, technology has changed the world. Publishing a book or a game is way different today. That’s the origin of the Fall 2011 Roadmap. During the next few months, I’ll be testing new technology. The aim of these experiments is to help Photics.com grow.

Experiment #1 – Outside the App Store

During the last year, I’ve been focusing heavily on the iTunes App Store. I don’t think this is healthy for the future growth of Photics.com. While it has been a boon for independent writers and game developers, how long can Apple stay on top? I don’t think that it can. In addition to Steve Jobs stepping down, competition is starting to increase. How long can Apple fight off the rivals? Even if Apple does stay on top, competing inside Apple’s walled garden hasn’t been pretty. I decided to take a step back and look at some of Apple’s competition.

During the last few days, I’ve been looking at Amazon’s Kindle. Apple isn’t the only company with million-dollar success stories. Yet, this is more than just chasing pots of gold. This site is about publishing. I can’t just ignore an entire sector of technology. I wanted to see what the fuss was about. So, I pulled “Revisions” from the App Store and I launched it as a Kindle book. Over the next two weeks, I’m going to be monitoring the success of this publication. If it outperforms the iTunes App Store, that’s one step away from Apple. If not, I’ll simply put the book back on the iTunes App Store — as a universal binary.

Also this Fall, GameSalad is supposed to have Android support. That’s awesome, as iOS isn’t the only mobile operating system. I’m familiar with the Android Market, so I think I can give Google another chance. But yet, this is just a minor step in growth. Amazon, Google, Apple — it’s all the same. That’s a 30% cut. I think all three companies do offer a tremendous service, but it doesn’t differentiate my work from the thousands of other developers. That’s what next experiment is about.

Experiment #2 – Photics Arcade

It’s a childhood dream of mine — to run my own arcade. But if arcades were animals, they would be on the endangered species list. Besides, I don’t want to sit behind a counter and count change all day. This dream needs modernization. I can have my own arcade at this website. Photics.com could be the next Miniclip or PopCap. Those familiar with this website know that I’ve attempted this before. Yet, the latest software makes this goal more obtainable. GameSalad was recently upgraded with HTML 5 support. That could be useful for the Photics Arcade. Right now, the games are tethered to GameSalad.com. That doesn’t work for me, but it could be useful in the future. So, what do I do until then?

Experiment #3 – Stencylworks

I’m starting to learn about Stencylworks. This software can create Flash games. In the war of HTML 5 vs. Flash, it looks like Flash is losing ground. Yet, it could be many years before HTML 5 merges victorious. That’s what’s great about Stencylworks. I could use the software now to create Flash games. And then when iOS / HTML 5 support is added later, I could export those games to other platforms. Stencylworks is great for the Photics Arcade project, as it can post and get web data. That means I can create multiplayer games like CityVille/FarmVille, while adding social networking features like Game Center. With Stencylworks, this could be a cross-platform game. Players on Android could play with players on iPhone, iPad, Mac or PC. I think it’s awesome. That’s going to require significant improvement of my web development skills though.