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Top 5 Free Apps

Release Date: August 05, 2009
Genre: Games
Release Date: May 22, 2009
Genre: Games
Release Date: August 29, 2009
Genre: Games
Release Date: March 27, 2009
Release Date: August 07, 2009

iTunes New Music Releases

Release Date: September 29, 2009
Genre: Rock
Release Date: September 20, 2009
Release Date: September 15, 2009
Release Date: August 25, 2009
Genre: Rock
Release Date: August 25, 2009

Top 5 Paid Apps

Release Date: April 22, 2009
StickWars $0.99
Release Date: March 31, 2009
Genre: Games
Bloons $0.99
Release Date: April 05, 2009
Genre: Games

Discover New Music

  • Hello

    • 8 out of 10
    • Poe
    • Poe rocked my world with "Angry Johnny" (I want to kill you/I want to blow you/Away) and "Trigger Happy Jack" (Trigger Happy Jack/ You're gonna blow/But I'm gonna get off/Before you go), as powe

  • Is This It

    • 10 out of 10
    • The Strokes
    • The Strokes set the music world on fire with this 2001 album, with headlines declaring that the New York band was here to save Rock and Roll. While the band hasn't made as much of a splash since t

  • Trouble

    • 8 out of 10
    • Ray LaMontagne
    • At first, Ray LaMontagne might strike you as just another breathy-voiced knockoff of folk/rock guitarists like John Mayer and Jack Johnson. But he's actually got a better voice than either, he tell

  • Rift

    • 8 out of 10
    • Phish
    • This quasi-concept album (the only of its kind) from these Vermonters finally showcased their ability to convey a message with a studio album, whereas previously they only succeeded in doing so live.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Once More, with Feeling

    • 10 out of 10
    • Various Artists
    • Most musical episodes of TV shows frankly stink. They are usually little more than ill-conceived vehicles intended to let the stars show off what musical talent they have. Once More, With Feeling,

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Oh the Games You'll Play

Q&A With Digital Chocolate Founder Trip Hawkins

If you're a gamer, Trip Hawkins likely needs no introduction: He founded venerable third party publisher Electronic Arts and was instrumental in convincing John Madden that the ex-Oakland Raiders coach should lend his name to a brand new football game.

Mr. Hawkins later founded the ill-fated 3DO Company, which produced a powerful videogame console that was unfortunately too costly for the market. After 3DO went out of business in 2003, he started Digital Chocolate, which develops games for mobile devices and has become a star player at the App Store. It's a circular turn of events, given the fact that Mr. Hawkins served as Apple's Director of Strategy and Marketing until 1982.

Digital Chocolate says it has racked up more than 30 million downloads at the App Store between the free and paid versions of its games. Because it's private, the company doesn't get more specific than that.

Q: Sony recently made an announcement that they'll make it easier for developers to create PSP games that will sell for low prices. Clearly that's a response to the success of the App Store.  What kind of game-changer is the App Store in the world of portable gaming?

A: It's huge, but let's start with the devices. The iPod touch is the ultimate kid's toy and most of the owners are under 20. It has a bigger supply of software and is far more convenient to use than a conventional handheld system -- especially when it comes to checking out and downloading new games. Plus it has a browser and plays music and movies. 

Q: When it launched, did you think the App Store could become the mobile gaming powerhouse it is today?

A: Before it launched I was nervous about the clutter of apps and the challenges of getting customers to spend money. But Apple insists on their customers setting up a billing arrangement up front. That is a huge advantage. And while most apps are stillborn, we have found our great original games get a lot of word of mouth and viral spread. This has helped Crazy Penguin Catapult, Brick Breaker Revolution, Tower Bloxx and Rollercoaster Rush all get to number one on the App Store.

Q: You've been involved in some of the most important developments in technology, including the early days of Apple and founding EA. How does the App Store compare to those milestones?

A: I'll say it again: the on-device App Store experience is the most remarkable achievement in the history of human commerce. Seriously! For thousands of years we had no information media. Then for 500 years we have had books. For 100 years we have had electronic media that was passive. For a few decades we've had packaged media that is often high-priced and hard to use and you have to have a car to go get it.  We only invented the browser 15 years ago, and even that pales in comparison to the shopping experience of the App Store from the iPhone itself.

Q: How does the App Store fit into the concept you call "omni media"?

A: Omni means "all" so you have to ask if a media behavior is something for a niche or hardcore crowd, or something that eventually everyone is going to do. For example, everyone watches TV and everyone wants a mobile phone. There is no doubt in my mind that every human being wants an iPhone with an App Store after they see what it is like.

Q: How does your experience selling games through the App Store compare to your experience selling games on other mobile platforms?

A: There are web principles at work with the App Store, including viral spread, simple and convenient discovery, and free trial. With earlier technologies we just could not get consumers to embrace these web behaviors because it was not fast and convenient enough. And of course Apple is the best at user experience and the iPhone and App Store offer a transformative experience.  These are archetypes now that entire industries will follow, as the PC industry did with Apple's early computers.

Q: The iPhone and the App Store have succeeded in taking some (but not all) control away from the cellular carriers. Now that so many other companies are mimicking the App Store, what role do you see the cellular carriers playing going forward?

A: The carriers are great networking companies but Apple has helped them realize that they are not great technology companies. As a result they are more willing to partner with great third-party tech companies like Apple, RIM, Google, Palm and so on. But the carriers have another major advantage, which is their billions of billing relationships. Google will fail with Android unless carriers hook it up with their own billing systems.  Android does not monetize today because consumers are asked to pay through Google Checkout, and for impulse content they just won't bother to do so in any kind of volume.

Q: You make sure your games have free versions on the App Store. Why did you choose that strategy, and how successful has it been in converting the free downloads into paid ones?

A: We're not a famous brand, so we need to get our name out there and give people a chance to see what we are all about. Given that there are 65,000 apps and most of them are free, it says something very important that Digital Chocolate, with over 30 million downloads, is the most popular content in the App Store. And we've done this in only half the life of the App Store.

This is quite a referendum from Apple consumers, who are basically saying that we are their favorite thing to do with their iPhone. We also now have over 1 million consumer reviews posted in the App Store, far more than any other company. These are public figures you can find if you study the iTunes store.  We've ignited an amazing community that has given our apps more 5-star reviews than any other brand.

Q: There's been talk of a race to the bottom in the App Store, where a lot of publishers are cutting prices. What are your thoughts on that, in terms of your own pricing strategy? How do you see pricing settling out over the long term?

A: Personally, I would prefer that the paid rankings be listed by revenue, which is a truer indication of value to the consumer. Because the ranks are based only on unit volume it does encourage desperation and too many low prices. You have to believe in the value of what you are making.

Q: What does the future hold for the iPhone, the App Store, and mobile gaming in general?

A: Apple has innovated brilliantly and has a big lead but every competitor is doing everything they can to match up and catch up. The archetypes established by Apple will become an industry that reaches billions of consumers within just a few years. It will make Facebook's growth look slow.

Q: Do you think small publishers will be able to hold their own in the App Store, or do you think the big companies like EA will eventually dominate that marketplace the same way they dominate computer and console gaming, as well as other mobile platforms?

A: The advantage will actually go to the innovative and the agile. These are new media devices and consumers want new media experiences, not old brands. They are talking to friends about the innovative things that they like, not about old brands. This can be easily seen in how poorly famous brands are performing despite being regularly featured by Apple, who overrates their importance. How important were CBS, NBC, Disney and Sony to the Internet? They weren't; what mattered was what was done by Netscape, Yahoo! and Google in the early phase and now it's even newer companies like Facebook, YouTube and MySpace. Mobile will now follow that same course.

Q: What are Digital Chocolate's plans for future releases? 

A: The App Store is our biggest single channel today and is our number one priority. We have extensive plans for a variety of products.  Stay tuned!

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