I Spy a Winner: Childhood Games Just a Hop, Skip and Jump Away with PhoneGap
If there’s one thing social media has brought to light, it’s that people love connecting with others through social games and photo sharing online. Hopskoch fuses both those trends in an application that turns photo sharing and familiar childhood pastimes into fun little challenges that can be played solo or with friends and family online or on a mobile phone.
Developed by New York-based Sifr, Hopskoch builds on fond childhood memories with simple games like I Spy, bringing them into digital platforms and imbuing them with today’s penchant for sharing, tagging and accruing rewards. “We realized that childhood game dynamics would appeal to a mainstream audience since practically everyone has played games like I Spy or Tag growing up,” said Hopskoch developer Sunil Madhu. “We gave these games a new social twist, so the childhood I Spy experience of looking out the car window to spot something that was yellow became a social game where you'd have to share a photo of something yellow.”
Built to harness the power of social media, rewards and real-time analytics, Hopskoch also enables users across multiple platforms to create their own games and share them with their social media networks. “That allows marketers and publishers to stay ahead of the demand for fun, fresh, topical and relevant content,” Madhu said.
Sifr sought a simple way to develop a cross-platform social media solution that would span the web, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, and mobile platforms like iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry and Microsoft Windows Phone 7. It chose PhoneGap for its speed and simplicity. “PhoneGap allowed us to take our web app across iOS and Android platforms in three weeks flat. That was amazing,” Madhu said.
The company wanted to be able to configure content and distribute it across multiple platforms without having to rewrite code for every platform. “Most app developers go the route of creating bespoke or vanity applications native to iOS or Android. That has advantages such as the ability to monetize apps over iTunes or the Android Market. However it has the big disadvantage that the apps become difficult to port to other platforms. Maintaining a consistent feature set across multiple mobile platforms and the web becomes difficult, time-consuming and expensive,” Madhu said. “Since Hopskoch was built with the need to configure social game content one time and have that content distributed everywhere, it made sense to go the route of HTML5 middleware, and PhoneGap was the ideal choice because it is relatively mature, well documented, supported and, best of all, free to use.
Madhu added that PhoneGap made the process of integrating native device features such as the camera, accelerometer, GPS, etc., smooth. Plus, using an API that was common across six different mobile platforms, “aligned perfectly with our product management strategy. That's an unbeatable value proposition for us.”
You can check out the Android version at https://market.android.com/details?id=com.sifr.hopskoch.android and the iOS version at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hopskoch/id423509583?mt=8 .