Here's something you may not have known - AppCampus is a global mobile application acceleration program funded by Nokia and Microsoft and managed by Aalto University, which in turn is located in Helsinki, Finland. The release of Haunted is the first of what Microsoft, Nokia and Aalto hope will be many more high quality apps to be funded by AppCampus. It is now available at the Windows Phone store for download.
Haunted itself is a chain physics puzzle game with a fantasy theme that targets casual gamers. Players find themselves deep in a dungeon they need to escape from and find treasures by creating chain links between objects on a map. The game's development was funded by AppCampus and developed by Tuliotus. The app is now available for both Windows Phone 7 and 8. A free trial and a full version of the game are available, with pricing set at two Euros (today that would be $2.65).
“High quality user experience and use of logic is what sets us apart from many games in a similar genre,” according to Kimo Boissonier, CEO of Tuliotus. “This is not a traditional dungeon game, where you solve conflict with weapons. Instead, the player makes creative use of chains, torches, iron balls and anything else he finds to complete the puzzle. Light keeps you safe from some monsters, others are drawn to the blazing fires of your torch. A rich game play emerges from these simple elements.”
Image via www.windowsphone.com
It certainly sounds like a game we'd very much like to give a whirl…but…but…it's not available for iOS or Android! Now that is an interesting turn. We're currently waiting on a Nokia Lumia 920 to show up for testing - it will now feel like a longer wait. It should certainly be interesting to see what a game developed in Finland will feel like to those of us in the United States. We recently downloaded the only ESPN app available for Symbian for the Nokia PureView 808 we have in hand for testing - imagine our surprise when the damnable app only provided us with European soccer (we mean, football) scores! Haunted does remind us of "Reveal Maze," an iOS maze game created by Clover Game Studio, to some degree.
The release of the game app sets the stage for what AppCampus and its funders hope will become a steady stream of Windows Phone mobile apps that will cover a diverse landscape ranging across both business and consumer fronts. The program started its operations in May 2012 and has already attracted more than 1,500 applications from 85 different countries. More are arriving on a daily basis. To date, AppCampus has accepted 60 submissions - 25 percent of them are in the games category, 15 percent are in education and 10 percent are in entertainment. The rest are business apps.
“Games represent more than 50 percent of global app revenues, which is why we are very pleased to address this part of the playing field first”, notes Pekka Sivonen, head of AppCampus. “Haunted is a great example of innovation and creativity combined with the quality that AppCampus propagates. This is only the beginning. Once we get the pipeline going, we’ll be publishing exciting new apps on Windows Phone on an almost weekly basis.”
As we noted earlier, AppCampus was created in collaboration with Aalto University, Microsoft and Nokia. Both companies have pledged to invest up to 18 million euros ($23.8 million) between them over the next three years to fund what everyone involved hopes will be unique, innovative and high impact mobile apps that specifically utilize Windows Phone and possibly other Nokia platforms.
Aalto University contributes its expertise in managing the program and plays a critical role in coaching the start-ups the group invests in. During the next three years, the program will release an estimated 700 apps with a strong emphasis on high quality and innovation of services. The program does not take equity or commission from its investments.
Beyond investing 20,000 to 70,000 euros ($26,500 to $92,500) per project, AppCampus also provides accepted applicants with world-class training and coaching, as well as with marketing and a marketplace qualification process. Tuliotus was one of the teams that participated in the four week pilot training and coaching camp, AppCademy, where the teams received extensive training in development, design excellence, pitching, among other workshops.
It is a very interesting scenario. There appears to be no hint anywhere that these are apps that are likely to also be developed for iOS or Android. It's not clear to us - and we did not hear back as of this writing - on whether or not there is a specific prohibition against doing so, or if there is at least some time limit for doing so, for the accepted applicants that receive funding and training. Obviously, Windows Phone exclusivity plays a huge role here up front. It will be interesting to see how it all develops through 2013.
Edited by Brooke Neuman