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Inside Dev Story: MyBookie – Psydian Interactive

March 16, 2011 No Comments

The MyBookie game is one of the most creative and addicting apps on the Windows Phone 7.  Jeff Jones and Josh Johnson from Psydian Interactive created MyBookie which is geared toward all sports fans. Today we have our virtual sitdown with Terry Murdock who is in charge of promotion among many other tasks.  

 

Terry, What exactly is MyBookie?

MyBookie is a game that allows you to compete with your friends to find out who can consistently pick a winner! MyBookie is a fantasy sports betting game, designed to combine the on-the-go fun of a mobile device application with the social networking aspects of Facebook.  We are the first application of the type to correlate information between your mobile device and Facebook. Currently, MyBookie is available on Windows Phone 7 and Facebook with iPhone and Android versions currently in development

 

How does it work?

The core concept is rather simple. When you launch the application you get to meet MyBookie (the character). He will take you on a brief tour and explain the features of the game and provide you with some start up fantasy cash. He introduces you to his Sportsbook which has the schedules for upcoming games (currently Football, Hockey, Baseball, Basketball, as well as College Football and Basketball)  Also, on that page is the real time Vegas lines, so you can determine if you are betting with or against the odds.  When you place a bet, you are giving the option of posting it to your Facebook wall to garner friendly competition with your friends and receive a payout bonus.  There are many different ways to bet and to earn reputation chips (which can be traded in for favors from MyBookie). The most important element of the game is the ability to compete with your friends to see who place the best bets.

 

What are Office Pools?

Office Pools are a new and exciting way to play MyBookie! As of March 10th, MyBookie will give players the option of entering into an office pool with your Facebook friends. With this feature MyBookie acts as a mediator between personal bets between you and your friends bet directly against your friends.  The winner gets the “pot” of virtual money contributed by everyone in the poll. The parameters of the game are designed by your friends. There will be multiple games of varying rules. 

Currently, Office Pools are exclusive to Facebook. This will be the case with the launch most of our new features. The lack of a certification process on Facebook allows for unfettered development of new features and the opportunity to get instant and direct feedback from our players. After the Facebook launch, we will listen to our user’s feedback, make the necessary tweaks and then launch the feature onto the mobile platforms.

So, if there are players out there who love the Windows Phone 7 version, we encourage them to play the Facebook game so that they can be a part of the development process.

 

What challenges have you faced so far? What do you think are the greatest challenges ahead of you?

Other than the normal de-bugging and beta testing that is SOP with any program, the launch has followed the plan exactly. Our biggest challenge is to stay focused on what comes next and not deviate too much from our plan.  Psydian Interactive consists of some of the hardest-working, prepared, and focused programmers around, so we are in good hands.

Summertime will be our greatest challenge. Once the NFL and NHL wrap up, some seasonal sports enthusiasts will be tempted to put the product on the back burner until next season.  They will be missing out if they do, though. We have been aware of this issue throughout the entire development process, which is why some of our biggest and best features will launch during the summer season.  MyBookie is about to become much bigger than just fantasy sports betting. But, I can’t give too much away just yet. Let me just say that I think our users are going to be blown away by the surprises that are just around the corner.

 

Was the MyBookie character model molded from someone in particular?

 The character of MyBookie isn’t based on any one individual, but there are certainly parts of his personality that come from the game designers: we are all competitive and we are all a little cocky. We wanted him to have a unique personality that would be consistent with a real life Bookie. For example, he has been in the business for a while and he is usually right. He is also a bit of a jerk.  But, if any one of us at Psydian was as messy and disorganized as he is, nothing would get done.

 

What are the next steps?

I have mentioned the upcoming iPhone and Android versions – we are very excited about that. But, the next big change to gameplay is “Office Polls”. MyBookie will soon be giving you the option of entering into an office pool with your Facebook friends. With this feature MyBookie acts as a mediator between personal bets between you and your friends bet directly against your friends.  The winner gets the “pot” of virtual money contributed by everyone in the poll. The parameters of the game are designed by your friends. There will be multiple games of varying rules. 

After the launch of office polls, we have some major new features coming in the summertime. These changes are going to be so awesome that I can’t quite talk about them yet, but our users are going to be blown away.

 

Not even a little clue as to what new features are coming soon?

 Currently we are working on polishing the Facebook version of the game. We have just launched Office Pools and the response has been great. But, as soon as you put a new feature out there and see it in action, it lets you take a step back and say: “I wish I would have done this a little different” or “I wish I could simplify that”, etc. In addition, we pay very close attention to our user feedback. For example, as soon as Office Pools were launched people started asking us for an easy way to see which invited friends had joined their pools. Such a simple concept, but it wasn’t in our game design, so we are putting it in.

It’s a lot easier to make changes to the Facebook version of the game than it is to the mobile version, so we encourage our mobile users to check it out and let us know what they think. That way they can participate in the development of the mobile features.

 Coming up soon, players are going to meet a new character in the MyBookie universe and see a significant expansion of the virtual world.  That is all I can say about that right now.

 Without getting into any specifics, I can say that we are hard at work on a development plan that will see new features and game aspects rolled out over the next year. Some are minor tweaks and some are huge, just huge new features. We are very excited about where MyBookie is going.

 

 I am sure there are many more users using the ad-supported  version than the paid one (just like all the other apps on the marketplace).  What’s the ratio of paid vs. free for MyBookie?

At the original launch only one version of the game existed: the trial-into-paid.  Over the first three months we saw a conversion rate of just over 60% – which is great! Since that launch we have put a Lite version on the marketplace; the users for this now number in the thousands. So it’s a little difficult to give a single statistic that tells the whole story. But I can say that the trial-into-free conversion rate combined with the Lite adoption rate have both surpassed our expectations. Not to mention the growing Facebook community!

 

I find it that the more casual users of your app would like to place bets on the team they cheer for or home teams. It might be a good idea to be able to follow a certain team to be able to place bets faster…

Thanks for the idea. We love to hear stuff like this! I can tell you that we already are planning a feature that will do something like this, but we will definitely put it on the discussion list.

 

Thanks Terry for the sit-down. We really enjoy MyBookie and it’s exciting to know that new features are right around the corner.

There you have it folks! If you havent tried MyBookie yet head over to the Marketplace and download the Free Lite Version and give it a try.

 

Hyde13

Addicted to WP7, 360 and tech in general...

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