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Last week, Playyoo took part at the first, but hopefully not last, Techcrunch Zurich meeting. It was a very interesting evening, meeting various other Swiss startups, as well as a host of bloggers, journalists, investors and other luminaries.

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You can read a nice roundup by Corsin Camichel, and even see how we coped with the challenge of describing Playyoo to a large audience in 20 seconds.

Our thanks to the organisers for a great evening!

A few weeks ago, we launched the Playyoo Developer Program, initially with a limited invitation to the group of Flash Lite developers who’ve been with us since the beginning. Now it is open to all Flash developers.

The idea is to try to kick start a market between Flash Lite developers and game buyers. At some point in the fairly near future, we expect 3rd parties to be entering the picture, but to get started, we’re sponsoring games ourselves. The basic idea is that every week, we set a theme, and invite proposals to build a game which responds to it. Once the game is delivered, Playyoo pays a fee to the developer.

[UPDATE: A Clarification: please note, Playyoo is not buying these games. They remain the property of the developer. Playyoo is 100% about user generated content.]

In the first week, the theme was the Euro 2008 soccer championship, and the winning proposal came from Mariam Dholkawala, with Headers Euro 2008. If your team didn’t win, Mariam’s game gives you the chance to rewrite history!

For week 2 (and week 3), we set a more oblique challenge, “global warming”. The first game on that theme was the very creative “Drought” created by Dave Sapien, where you need to help the fish escape the evaporating ponds.

Week 3’s game is in production, and we’re looking forward to it!

This sequence will continue throughout the summer, and maybe longer. Other initiatives are also in the pipeline.

The fact that mobile games like these can be built from scratch and put online in less than 1 week says a lot about the talents of our developers, but also about the power of Flash Lite.

The Playyoo Developer Program has it’s own private area in the Playyoo forums, for members to exchange ideas, discuss concepts, and for us to post requests for games.

If you want to show the world what you can do with Flash Lite, and perhaps start making some money from your talents, why not sign up ?

To qualify for the PDP, Playyoo members need to:

  • upload at least 2 custom games (not Game Creator)
  • have at least one game favourited by at least 10 members
  • have accrued at least 20 verified downloads
  • be approved by the Playyoo PDP manager

To remain a member

  • maintain at least 2 games at all times
  • upload at least 1 game per year
  • agree to and keep to the terms and conditions of the PDP

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We’re pleased to announce the release of version 1.0.09 of Playyoo. There are some significant changes here, but they’re mostly under the surface. We’ve made some fixes, and some enhancements, to the algorithm driving the Game Stream, which is Playyoo’s way of getting games to you. The biggest change is that the “sushi belt model” is now working. After you play a game from your main Game Stream channel on your phone (the default view), it is removed. You can find it afterwards in the “Recently Played” channel, and if you really like it, you can add to your “Favourites” channel. The idea here is that every time you access Playyoo on your phone, you’ll be presented with a new game to try.

You may notice a few other changes. For example, if you have ticked “Auto-accept pick of the day” in your Game Stream settings, unless you’ve played it before, then the current pick of the day will show up at the top of your game stream.

The Game Stream viewer navigation has also been changed, as shown below:

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You can reset your Game Stream to recommended defaults by using the settings illustrated here.

We’ve got some good stuff in the pipeline, and we’re aiming to address a lot of the issues raised during the survey we carried out a while back. We’re always pleased to hear feedback, positive or negative (although we like positive even more!).

We’ve been a bit quiet recently on where we’re going with Playyoo, so here’s quick update.

Although on the face of it Playyoo has many similarities with other user generated content sites, we need to do quite a lot of heavy lifting behind the scenes to make sure we deliver correctly configured games to each phone model we support. Web developers get frustrated having to deal with browser incompatibilities across a handful of browser / operating system combinations, but mobile software developers have to deal with literally hundreds of devices on many, many networks. This was one of the initial challenges we set out to solve with Playyoo, and we’ve spent a lot of time on it.

For the first version, we had a lot of support from an external partner, who I can’t name for various reasons, but who I’d like to express our thanks to! However, now we’re on our own, with a relatively small in-house software development team working on enhancements and new features.

The first thing we’re tackling is to greatly improve the game selection process, which powers the Game Stream, to give users more control over it, and to provide better results out of the box. We’ve got a whole stack of other things lined up, many taking into account user feedback from the last few months.

You should see some changes starting to appear in the next few weeks or so, as we get back up to speed with development and releases.

We always appreciate and listen to feedback, good or bad, either here, by , or on the forum. We’re pretty excited about the directions we’re going in with Playyoo, and I hope you will be too!

Animation magazine has reported on Cartoon Network’s successful launch of its Ben 10 Alien Force Game Creator which has seen more than 20 million game plays in its first week. Molly Chase, VP and executive producer of Cartoon Network New Media says “Our online fans are building and sharing this game and enjoying an unprecedented level of interaction with both a favorite show and their fellow fans. We see this type of game as a wave of the future for the online gaming market and have already begun work on expanding the experience to feature another popular network franchise.”

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