How ustwo made the world's first non-searchable App Store game

Have you seen .(TM)?

How ustwo made the world's first non-searchable App Store game
In the third of a series of guest columns from studio ustwo(TM), creative director mills reveals the history behind its 48hour coolectable series of games.

In this article we look at .™ and ..™. These are the first and second instalments in our notorious 48hour coolectable™ series - games created in a 48 hour time period, each focused on stunning design and simple addictive gameplay.

Their inspiration was that apps were taking too long to create and develop, which lead to mounting frustration because we weren't able to talk about fresh apps.

So we set ourselves a simple task. To create something cool, something addictive, and something that showcases quick thinking. The goal was for ustwo™ to produce an app and send it to Apple in a two day period.

Onto marketing - a simple concept required a simple, yet creative marketing strategy. We wanted to spread the word virally through social media only. Therefore a month before launch we asked the question 'Have you seen the .™?' via a Flickr group.

Over 200 photos of what people thought the dot might be appeared. Although the campaign engagement was on a small scale, it began to build interest, giving us an open forum into which to drip feed news.

Whilst growing the community of .™ and ..™ fans, we released three high-end teaser videos to further wet their appetites. The videos were about mood, setting the story, and building a brand around the lonely .™ character.

We also opened up our approach and involved our press contacts to generate further engagement. It was all about hinting, capturing interest, then engaging with our contacts on the day of launch.

On D-Day we made sure we made a big impact. We spread the word through our press contacts with a press release, had loads of fresh images of the app in action and drove everyone to our viral vids.

We tweeted, blogged and attempted to hit as many touch points as possible. We also ran a number of banner ads on various iPhone review sites - allowing readers to play an online Flash version of the game on the banner ad itself.

But - and this is a big but - we hadn't factored in one small detail - as a search term on the App Store .™ was impossible to find. We had in fact created the world's first non-searchable app. Even with this major stumbling block we still managed to drive downloads.

.™ became exclusively elusive - a unique selling point that we still shout about today.

…™ is due out soon. You can see the latest viral ad here.

ustwo(TM) is a multi platform development studio based in London, UK and Malmo, Sweden - 50 strong and growing rapidly in notoriety. During 2009, the studio developed and released 16 apps including the infamous MouthOff(TM), .(TM) (48hour series), Steppin(TM), and Reebok's iSprint. ustwo's apps have sold globally and have become brands in their own right.

millsTM is well known within the industry with his refreshingly honest and open approach being well received by developers, gamers and fans alike.

PocketGamer.biz regularly posts content from a variety of guest writers across the games industry. These encompass a wide range of topics and people from different backgrounds and diversities, sharing their opinion on the hottest trending topics, undiscovered gems and what the future of the business holds.