It was exactly 1 year ago that we got our first taste of Intel's AppUp Center when they launched the beta store at CES 2010. It was received with mixed reviews and nobody really knew what to expect from it.
What a difference a year makes.
Today you look at the AppUp Center and right up front is what must be the biggest runaway hit game of 2010 -- Angry Birds. What a huge coup! What a great "I told you so" moment. Congratulations to Intel -- Peter, you called it man.
We've had the pleasure of walking with Intel and AppUp this last year and really got a chance to see the good, bad, and ugly in all of this. Somewhere it seems we were just able to make friends with certain people and then got caught up in the adventure. From GDC to Computex to IDF/Elements. We've been able to celebrate what we really admired about AppUp and also to dig at the things we thought were wrong. But I'll tell you - what got our attention was a real sense that there was a genuine vision for something grand going on here. What kept our attention was the tenacity with which Intel moved through the last year, not really swinging left or right with the opinions and blogs but staying their course -- while at the same time inviting and accepting feedback from the developer community. Make no mistake, this was going to be a slog, but look where they've come in a space where they have repeatedly been told they weren't wanted or needed.
The folks who are now on AppUp say it all.
Angry Birds, Mashable, Nook, Ancient Frog, Cogs, Slingo, Soma Games (ahem), and several other projects with big recognizable names also in the works that we happen to know about.
The store is now built into tons of new hardware from Best Buy to Asus, Dell to Samsung. It's pretty fantastic really.
But as cool as that is, I think the biggest news isn't really about AppUp -- that's just one part. I'm fascinated that Angry Birds first invaded my home on the iPad but my wife has no interest in that device. Then it could be shared on the Android opening the experience up to millions more but still omitted the biggest single market for computers -- the desktop. Today, basically regardless of my platform preference, there is total integration inside the whole app ecosystem where we can ALL enjoy crushing those dastardly little pigs and I think that's one of the most fantastic developments of the last half-dozen years.
Seeing our game featured and played as a launch title at Intel's CES pavilion last year was a huge rush. It felt like a giant affirmation of what we'd been working on for the previous year. To see it up there now, mingling with the apps and companies that we love and admire so much is just like a waft of heaven. We started building these little games for stores like iTunes and AppUp because we sensed there was one of those genuine ground-floor things about to happen. Looking back I think it's obvious we were correct (along with a lot of other people) but looking FORWARD... what a crazy ride we have before us.
I will be at CES all week. If you have a question send me a message on twitter at @somagames. I'd like to know what gadgets you are most interested in this year. Also, in that whole "full disclosure" thing - Soma Games is currently working with Intel on AppUp and other projects. This post was co-authored with Chris Skaggs of Soma Games.