Altitude Games taps nostalgia to create unique niche

  • Filipino studio infuses inspiration from classic Japanese TV show
  • Localisation and localised pricing helps popularise games

Altitude Games taps nostalgia to create unique niche 

A MOBILE game about Japanese superhero teams made in the Philippines. Now that is something you don’t hear about every day.
Manila-based Altitude Games may only be two years old but the team of 35 has already produced two games during that short span of time.
Run Run Super Five is the studio’s most successful game to date, having accumulated a claimed 1 million downloads.
In the game, players take control of a member of the Super Sentai team as they run from left to right with simple tap controls, fighting enemies and collecting power-ups along the way.
As Altitude Games chief executive officer Gabby Dizon (pic) explains, Run Run Super Five was a passion inspired project that tapped on his team’s nostalgia for classic Japanese Super Sentai shows.
For those not familiar with the term Super Sentai, it describes a genre of superhero team shows. Some of the most notable shows of the genre include the likes of the Power Rangers and Voltron.
Dizon explains the reason they focused on such a niche genre as Super Sentai was because they wanted to make their game distinct in both its theme and art style.
“There are so many similar endless runner types of games in the market, so we needed to settle on a unique theme.”
The second reason Altitude decided to take this unique approach was because many people in the Philippines and around the region grew up watching Super Sentai shows in their youth.
 As a result, he says the game has performed incredibly well in countries where these shows have been popular such as Vietnam, India and Brazil.
Though he notes that user acquisition via Facebook has been getting increasingly expensive, other social channels like YouTube actually help drive the visibility of the game.
“For example, the game was popularised in Vietnam after an influencer played our game and did a Let’s Play video on YouTube. That video alone got over 1.2 million views as of mid Oct,” he says.
Let’s Play videos are recorded videos of a game being played, usually with commentary from a gamer.
A veteran of the game industry, Dizon has 13 years of experience under his belt, having started out working on PC games but eventually made the shift to mobile games.
“When we started Altitude Games in 2014, we were really a mobile-only game company. We normally launch our games on Android first and then on other platforms,” he says, speaking to DNA during an interview at Google PlayTime in Singapore last month.
Dizon shares that the ability to soft launch their games on the Android platform is one of the key reasons they develop for the platform first.
“Being able to test different iterations of our games quickly allowed us to gather valuable feedback and data that makes for a more solid game when we launch it worldwide,” he adds.
The practice of localisation and localised pricing also helped popularise the game, he explains. For example in certain markets, the lowest in-app purchase starts at 99 cents while in other countries the price would be 39 cents.
However, Dizon says that the majority of Run Run Super Five’s earnings didn’t come from in-app purchases but from in-app advertising instead.
“In casual games, you don't see a lot of revenue per user but you see a lot of users and you see a lot of players playing the game. We made it such that when you die in the game, you can choose to continue to play by paying with in-game currency or by watching an advertisement,” he said.
“A lot of people opt to watch the advertisement and that has been a good revenue driver for us,
According to Dizon, Altitude Games will now focus its efforts on Zodiac Pop!, its second game that was released in July. A casual game appeals to those who like astrology and want to play a game while receiving their daily horoscope, it has seen close to 100,000 downloads. Altitude Games own the intellectual property to both Run Run Super Five and Zodiac Pop!
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