Drive Ahead! Behind The Wheel

Last week, we reported on DoDreams’ Drive Ahead! reaching 2 million downloads, and now we take it a step further. NordicGameBits got hold of DoDreams CEO Erik Pöntiskoski, and juicy tidbits were shared.

The popular game Drive Ahead! does exactly what it says, it drives one ahead, and if another car is in front of yours, too bad for him. The drive-and-hit game has received high praise for its simplistic, yet captivating style and gameplay, justifying its over 2 million downloads.

The simple, but hard to hit concept is popular for a number of reasons. One that comes to mind is the fact that you play with your buddies, but are simultaneously pitted against each other. The game is highly competitive, and that leads to a whole lot of bragging rights gained once and if you win.

DoDreams Eric Pöntiskoski

Dodreams CEO, Erik Pöntiskoski

“This is directly linked to why the game became so successful. It has a ridiculously simple premise – hit your friend in the head with a car to score points. These racing battles lead to such ridiculous outcomes. They make players laugh and feel proud, even when they lose. So they want to share that moment with friends. Everyplay has been an important partner for us in both organic user acquisition and retention. “ says Eric Pöntiskoski

 

“Drive Ahead! is our biggest hit so far in terms of downloads and user engagement. Its really great to have over two million installations for the game, but what really makes us proud is the commitment of our fans. We are humbled by the number of replay clips people have shared online.“, Erik Pöntiskoski says.

 

According to Pöntiskoski, most of their success with Drive Ahead! is on account of their previous releases. By pinpointing the do’s and don’ts from their early work, they could create something that they knew would be an instant success. Old expressions from old men with old beards, can ponder a lot about how players play nowadays. How they want more realism, immersion, or 300+ hours of leveling up on PC and console, but at DoDreams, they just took the time to listen to their audience. A move that (quite understated) went right.

“Drive Ahead! is the next step in our roadmap for building better mobile games. We have learned from previous releases and drive_ahead_banner2this time we really focused on retention. We kept asking ourselves, once a person downloads the game, how do we make sure they want to return often and have their friends join the experience? That is why you can play single-player missions and unlock new content for two-player battles every day.”, says Eric Pöntiskoski

 

Another developer’s dilemma is whether to go premium or freemium. Both  options serve their respective purpose and have their target fan base, and it is therefore not merely a matter of just picking one of the options randomly.

Developers have to consider their audience, and what they want in a game. The premium content is bought and owned by the player, making their experience very different from the other end of the spectrum. The freemium concept being that other end, here players get a free game and can play until they hit a glass ceiling, prompting them to make a micro transaction payment to move on in the game. Thus, the player never really owns the game, but rather buys it on down payment. A crude, but fairly accurate, assessment of the freemium model.

At DoDreams however, they have a particular ritual when dealing with the premium/freemium conundrum. And when we asked Pöntiskoski asked about one of Dodreams’ previous games, Battle Slime, which was a premium game, he had this to say:

“We are open to all revenue models. When developing games, we first focus on the core game mechanics. If that is fun, then we start thinking which revenue model would work for that genre. Battle Slimes was targeted to a clear niche that doesn’t like freemium games. To them, premium apps are a sign of quality. Premium games are great because you know how much you make for every install. I would argue that developers who are working on first releases or changing the way they work as we did, should release premium games. You can use that to build a fan base and learn from your users. The virtual economy of free-to-play games, even when simple, adds a new level of complexity. “, Eric Pöntiskoski replied

 

“Dodreams was founded in 2008. We have been doing mobile games since 2013. We focus on local multiplayer games. You know how parents hate it when their kids fight over whose turn it is to play. Or how there aren’t that many games you can play when actually hanging out with buddies. That is why we want to bring family and friends to play together on the same device. “, Eric Pöntiskoski says.

 

screen520x924If you’re one of the 2 million fans of Drive Ahead!, you can expect an early holliday gift this year. Eric Pöntiskoski reveals that they are working on a multiplayer feature to the popular game. Eric revealed that particular bit of information when talking about how he he thinks mobile games these days can be to isolating.

“In the worst case, mobile gaming can be an isolating experience. Instead of connecting with others, we shut ourselves out from what’s going on around us. We plan to introduce an online multiplayer feature to Drive Ahead! in the fall. “, Eric Pöntiskoski concludes.

Authors
Rachid Zarrouk

An up-and-coming author, and videogame enthusiast, who writes fiction and short films in his sparetime, and can multi-task by typing while reading a book, just not at the same time.

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