LOCAL video game developer Anino Games tries its hand at the local market with the release of Manila Rush, an app that lets you run through the streets of Manila, while avoiding cars and buses, swerving jeepneys and lane-cutting taxis. The app looks like a cartoon rendition of EDSA, complete with road repairs and blockages, colorful motels and even an MRT running at the side. It is the first independently published game by the homegrown developer since their debut game in 2003 with ANITO: Defend a Land Enraged.
“For the past 10 years, we’ve been doing games for others. Now we would like to go back to our roots as an independent developer,” says Niel Dagondon, CEO of Anino Games. Since 2003, Anino has supplied games to various game publishers around the world such as Electronic Arts, Namco, Gamehouse and Big Fish Games, with hits such as Cake Mania 4, Littlest Pet Shop and Turbo Subs among others.
“What we’ve noted among many internationally popular games is the large community of Filipino gamers. In many English language games, we are usually ranked 4th or 5th in terms of population of gamers.
However, the very low percentage of Philippine gamers willing or even able to pay for an app means that it is not a sustainable business model for anyone wishing to make games purely for the Philippine gaming community,” says Mr. Dagondon.
For Manila Rush, Anino Games partnered Globe Labs, the development portal of Globe Telecom, to use operator billing for the purchase of in-game items. It is the first mobile game to use this form of payment method.
Dagondon adds, “We are trying to crack the local market by offering alternative ways to purchase items, such as through their prepaid credits or postpaid bill. We are also appealing to the inherently social nature of Filipinos so that they share this fun little game with their friends. Our goal with this game is not really to strike it rich (just yet), but to prove that there is a vibrant local gaming community willing to support locally developed games. Should we get our target number of downloads, then we will be confident enough to continue improving the game and adding more content, and develop other locally themed games.” Sabong anyone?
Manila Rush is now available for FREE for Android phones on Google play: http://taps.io/manilarush-android-p. An iOS version is scheduled for release by mid-February.