No longer shall cubicle dwellers have to steal away precious minutes of Jetpack Joyride in the bathroom. Developer Halfbrick has released the hit iPhone and iPad game on Facebook, which we like quite a bit. There isn't much of a difference between it and the mobile version of the game, but executive producer Duncan Curtis might have successfully justified that for you.
You see, now you can finally play Jetpack Joyride in a browser tab that you can hide away when the big boss strolls beside your desk. We sat down with Curtis recently to learn more about Jetpack Joyride's transition to Facebook and even helped him start to work out a catch phrase for the would-be Facebook hit.
Why did Halfbrick decide to bring Jetpack Joyride to Facebook?
We believe there's a significant audience that can be reached there. This title is a phenomenally easy to use game--it's a one-button game. You jump around with your jet pack, you press the button to go up, you let go to go down. And it really fits with the casual gaming that lives on Facebook.
We've seen some more of the hardcore titles come out over the last year or so that kind of lead us to think that this is a good fit for the platform and the audience. Our release coincides with the recent release of Jetpack Joyride 1.3.1. So, we're just going across multiple platforms and promoting to our own applications.
How is Jetpack Joyride different from the original iPhone and iPad versions?
It's actually the same version of the game. We have a set of technologies that allows us to put it on multiple platforms. So, with some small exceptions, and more exceptions to come as develop out the Facebook version later.
At the moment, the things that you can do on Facebook that you can't do on the iPhone is share your photos. At the end of the level, you've got that cool screen cap of Barry shooting scientists or dodging lasers and missiles--you can post that to your Wall. [Jetpack Joyride] actually brings your Facebook friends into the game with leader boards.
[The game] also allows you to post achievements and high scores to Facebook. So, you can actually get that "where are my friends up to, how am I doing versus my friends" in a really connected fashion that doesn't necessarily come through as strongly on Game Center and OpenFeint on iOS.
How does Jetpack Joyride differentiate itself from the already-established games in that sub genre on the web?
Well, we're a known product. I mean, Jetpack Joyride is a phenomenal runner. There's more available on the web already, but not necessarily games that people are familiar with and played on their iPhone as well.
This is going to be a game that you can sneakily get in while you're at work with an Alt+Tabbed browser or something. And you'll know the type of game that you're playing because you've played it on iPhone. Sitting at your desk with your iPhone out is a little more obvious.
Is there anything different about how you're handling real money transactions in Jetpack Joyride on Facebook from how it works on iPhone?
We've directly replaced in-app purchases with Facebook Credits. For the moment, we want it to be a seamless experience between "If this is what you've done on your iPhone, then this is what you're going to do on Facebook." There are future plans to make Jetpack Joyride Facebook into its own branding, but for its initial launch, we wanted people to have a familiar experience to what they've had with Jetpack Joyride.
Do you have any plans for cross-platform play between the two versions, and what do you think about that ongoing trend in gaming?
Yes, we are definitely looking at that for Jetpack Joyride and other future titles. I think we'll keep seeing [this trend] for top ten developers, if that makes sense. If you've got titles that are phenomenally successful, like Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride, then it makes sense to be releasing Facebook titles.
It's hard to get traction on Facebook for a lot of different titles--Fruit Ninja Frenzy is already around 7 million monthly users and it peaked at about 8 million. And we've seen many millions of users through that title, which shows that the brand holds up well across platforms.
I think that will be hard for potentially smaller developers because of the costs and technical challenges to going onto Facebook compared to iPhone. As games become their own brand, Facebook is a logical next step for games in terms of increasing their audience size and reach.
Are you targeting a different audience on Facebook with Jetpack Joyride than you are on iPhone, given it's a different platform?
We see a lot more younger people using iPhone and [on Facebook,] sort of the demographics that you see playing FarmVille and those sorts of titles. I believe certain terms are used, like "soccer moms" or those sorts of things, that play FarmVille or Bejeweled Blitz and they're looking for another title to play. So yeah, we are seeing another portion of the market engaging with our brand in a way that didn't necessarily happen on iPhone.
Is there anything else you'd like to get out there about Jetpack Joyride on Facebook?
I'm just trying to think of a cool catch line. [Laughs.] You know, "Take the joyride over to Facebook?" I dunno, "Strap on a jet pack and join us on Facebook?" Something like that? I'll have to think about that.
Click here to play Jetpack Joyride on Facebook Now >
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