Inode Entertainment, based in Chihuahua, Mexico, was one of the first publishers in the Nokia Store and has been developing games since 2006. The company is led by Jaime Enriquez and has an employee count of just ten folks.
The company’s most successful apps is a game called Ming Zhu, a puzzle game that has been called the “Sudoku killer” and has players challenging their brain power and other users in the free game. Asked about what other apps have been the most successful, Jaime brings up Monster Truck Challenge and Mayan Raiders as top sellers.
The Inode team produces games on four platforms including S40, S60, Symbian^3 and now Windows Phone. Jaime says he gets great support by Nokia’s developer relations teams, especially the local Nokia team in Mexico.
Nokia has the best developer program in the industry, and we know we can achieve above and beyond the status quo with their help. With a portfolio that spans gaming, productivity, tools and personalization, we are proud of our success and partnership with Nokia that has enabled my hard working team to achieve this milestone.
We had a chat with Jaime Enriquez about the development world and being successful in 2012:
Conversations: What’s the average sale cost for Inode’s games, and what advice would you give a developer on pricing their app?
Jaime: Most of our apps are free, but if we feel we need to price them, we aim for the 99-cent mark.
For developers, it depends on what you want to do with your application. We, as a company, like to put out free apps because it allows us to see what the market desires. It’s kind of like doing real-time QA on your apps.
With regards to pricing – use in-app advertising. We also employ a freemium model and use in-app purchasing at times.
As a developer, if you know your app is going to be used for a substantial amount of time (like a productivity app) – you can easily use in-app advertising. However, if you are building a medical app or something that the user won’t want to see ads – do a paid application and feel free to price it accordingly.
Conversations: What infrastructure does Inode use at Nokia to help ensure success?
Jaime: For us, it’s been extremely useful to attend the Developer Days events put on by Nokia. Recently, Nokia has invited us to attend and present as well. Overall, the developer-focused team from Nokia has been excellent – they stay close to us and attend to our needs.
We also enjoy developing for Nokia because you can aim at a certain family of products, say S60 5th Edition, and develop one app that will be usable in multiple devices and models. We’ve found porting apps to be pretty easy amongst the related phone models.
The online tools that Nokia maintains for developers are good as well – they let us know what devices are coming and clue us in on the facets so we can be ahead of the curve with our apps.
Conversations: How do you stay effective when developing for four different platforms?
Jaime: We try to have fun every day. Our office has a very casual environment and we’re very family friendly. For Inode, managing four platforms is quite easy because Nokia makes it easy for us.
For our developers, transitioning from Java to C# as a Windows Phone developers has been pretty smooth. Comparing Java to C#, the languages have been very similar and our developers have done pretty well. The quality of Microsoft tools makes it easy for us.
Conversations: Going further – how has the transition gone over to Windows Phone?
Jaime: We’re *really* excited about Windows Phone. In order to evaluate the platform, we took a couple of developers with no experience on Windows Phone, and in two weeks, they created a game from scratch. The game was developed, tested and market ready in a period of two weeks.
You can’t really do this on any of the competing platforms – It was fantastic. It speaks a lot to the success of the Windows Phone and Nokia partnership and to the strength of the Nokia developer program.
Conversations: Jaime, the only reason I know about Chihuahua is because of the little dog, how is the industry there? Why Chihuahua?
Jaime: Yes, we are popular internationally thanks to the cute little dog. Well, there are many reasons why Chihuahua. First: Chihuahua is the largest state in México, we have a lot of land to develop and secondly, the IT industry here is growing very rapidly, there are many technology startups being built here lately.
I myself many years ago told I friend that I wanted to contribute into developing Chihuahua as a technology and creative Hub, and believe that by reaching this milestone we are making Chihuahua and the people of Mexico very proud, if you think about it, we are one of only three companies with those numbers of downloads, we are the first in the American continent to reach those numbers, I mean, to just mention that we have more downloads than Google or Facebook on a platform for me is just surreal and it makes me very, very proud.
Second, the support from government both municipal, state and federal has been great, looks like our politicians realized that technology is a good way for developing Mexico and we are very grateful for that.
Third, we are strategically positioned as a state, we are close to the US, only about 4 hours from the border, we are only a couple of hours away from Mexico City by airplane, so we can move east, west, north and south very quickly, our weather makes us attractive for visiting visiting clients, organizing events. I believe we are just in the right spot.
Conversations: Any closing words?
Jaime: I want to say thanks to my fellow country men, the support we have had from the people is just great, I want to take the time to thank them dearly and mention that this is not only an Inode achievement, this is a country achievement, things in Mexico are improving a lot, I mean we have the richest man in the world Carlos Slim living here, we have the best boxers in the world, if you think about it, I like to see it as we have one of the smartest populations in the world who are very very competitive.
This is the beginning, we have set very high goals for us, and we have just began, you will be hearing a lot from Inode in the very near future.
Thanks a lot, I always like to say “Challenge everything you know” it is a phrase I came up with a few years back and it has helped me a lot into creating Inode, when you challenge the things you know, you open up the possibilities for new inventions, for new markets, for new opportunities, we are at the beginning of the century and millennium, there is a lot of great stuff we will be seeing as inventions soon, by challenging everything you know, you might just be the one who invents them, helps them or invests in them.