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 PG.BIZ FEATURE

The top 50 iPhone developers of 2009: 40 to 31

From Crescent Moon to Godzilab
Product: PG.Biz Top 50 Developers | Publisher: Steel Media Ltd | Format: PG.Biz
 
PG.Biz Top 50 Developers PG.Biz, thumbnail 1
In the second part of our round up for the top iPhone developers of 2009, we start to focus in on the teams who matched the creativity of their output with strong commercial success.

As explained in the first part of the series, the list is constructed by comparing sales performance, critical acclaim of releases, innovation in terms of business approach, and the number and range of titles each studios released during 2009.

You can read about the companies listed from 50 to 41 here, 30 and 21 here, 20 to 11 here, and 10 to 1 here.

40. Crescent Moon Games

US developer Crescent Moon spent the year working on the highly anticipated role-playing game Ravensword : The Fallen King. Originally planned for PC but transferred to iPhone (and co-produced with Human Powered Games), it was created using the Unity engine, and as well as typical RPG elements, 3D graphics and immersive gameplay were key elements. Ravensword was released by Chillingo, marking a change for the publisher as its first premium priced title at $6.99.

39. Imangi Studios

While Firemint kickstarted the line drawing genre with Flight Control, husband and wife team Imangi Studios managed the almost impossible, taking the concept and giving it enough of a twist to avoid accusations of plagiarism with Harbor Master: a game that reached #2 in the US charts. Imangi also demonstrated its range releasing Little Red Sled and Hippo High Dive and co-producing geoSpark with Critical Thought during 2009.

38. Fishlabs

One of the most respected names in mobile gaming, German studio Fishlabs has built its reputation on cutting-edge 3D graphics and used its advantage to the maximum for iPhone during 2009. As well as hardcore titles such as Galaxy on Fire and Rally Master Pro, it experimented with ad-funded games for Barclaycard and Volkswagen, demonstrating a taste for business innovation too.

37. InMotion Software

Set up by veterans from Midway Austin amongst others, InMotion's key release in 2009 was I Dig It, a game which was #1 on the US App Store and #2 in another six territories. It followed this up with I Dig It Expeditions, and also released a range of other apps and games including Dungeon Defense, Simon IQ and Recess.

36. Revo Solutions


Of all the companies on our list, Romanian developer Revo Solutions has claim to be the industry's best keep secret. That's because despite working of two of 2009 best reviewed game in the shape of air combat sims Skies of Glory and the million-selling F.A.S.T., publisher SGN generally gets the headlines. And maybe that's why Revo is now branching out with its Magnetic Sports range, albeit published by Bulkypix.

35. Graveck

Winning the prize for the greatest contrasting fortunes during 2009 is US studio Graveck. It released two iPhone games: 10 Balls 7 Cups, which sunk without trace, and Skee-Ball, a remodelled and renamed version - which published by Freeverse - went on to be one of the most successful games of the year, staying in the US top 20 from its September release, and ending the year in the #1 position.

34. FDG Entertainment

Best known for its Bobby Carrot mobile series (which has also been released on iPhone), German developer FDG demonstrated its ability to hook up to the more casual App Store audience with the release of the 4 million downloaded Parachute Panic. This was the first title to fully integrate the technology from social gaming network Scoreloop. FDG's other games included Mr. Mahjong touch and Kryzer Prologue.

33. Critical Thought Games


As if running US MMOG developer and technology provider Simutronics wasn't enough, David Whatley somehow also finds time to make iPhone games. His first was geoDefense, a futuristic-style tower defence game that hit the US #10 position. He then released the sequel, geoDefense Swarm, which reviewed even better and hit the US #1 spot, and was #2 in another five countries. He finished off the year with geoSpark: a collaboration on the TD theme with Imangi Studios.

32. Semi Secret Software

Formed by Eric Johnson and Adam Saltsman, Semi Secret is one of those arty groups who make games across a range of different platforms and it was the iPhone version of its Flash game Canabalt that stood out in 2009. Simple in its execution but addictive in term of gameplay, and with well implemented social features and a steady $2.99 price point, it didn't top any charts but performed solidly reaching #21 on the US top grossing chart.

31. Godzilab

The French studio behind the critical smash iBlast Moki might not win any prizes for its game name or marketing nous, but when it comes to developing a wonderful debut that appealed to hardcore iPhone gamers, Godzilab was without rival in 2009. IBlast Moki sold reasonably in certain territories too - notably the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Germany - but failed to make much impact in the US. Still, all eyes will be on the team's next project.



Read on for the top 30 iPhone developers or check out the full PG.Biz 2009 iPhone developers list.
 

Reviewer photo
Jon Jordan 5 January 2010
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