If you’re a gamer from the Philippines, you might remember the game Anito from 2003. It was the first video game developed and published by Anino Games, the first game development studio in the Philippines. In later years, Anino Games transitioned into a third party developer and made games for companies like EA, Activision, Disney, Playdom, Namco, Bigfish, and Gamehouse.
But once a game dev, always a game dev. Anino Games has returned with a new, original game, Manila Rush.
But not that original: it’s another endless runner
Manila Rush is an endless runner game which puts you in the magical flip flops of Miguel as he runs against the traffic flow in one of the most notorious highways of Manila — the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, better known as EDSA. The game obviously targets a Filipino audience, especially those who know what it’s like travelling along EDSA. You will recognize establishments along the road, and even experience swerving cars and road construction, though at some point you will be thankful that there is at least no traffic jam.
If you were wondering, Anino Games know that their game is a clone. CEO Neil Dagondon said that the team wanted to “create a game with an already established game mechanic and add a Filipino twist to it.” He added:
We had a limited budget [and development time] and already had an existing runner engine available, and we felt we could make it funny enough to appeal to the Filipino gamer and get them talking about it.
Dagondon also mentioned the studio’s desire to make a game that they can proudly call their own. The Philippine market has made it difficult to make a living from original IPs and self-published, or indie, games. It was only last year that they felt the market was maturing and decided to test the waters to see if the local gaming community would support locally-made games. If Manila Rush does well, Dagondon says Anino Games will make bolder and bigger locally-themed projects.
Partnering with Globe Labs for operator billing
One of the greatest challenges for game developers is monetizing their game. After all, at the end of the day, game development is still a business. And a business is not a business when you can’t earn from it.
According to Dagondon, the Philippines is ranked fourth or fifth in terms of gamer population. However, in-app purchases are particularly difficult to make in the Philippines because the credit card penetration in the country is low.
That is why Anino Games has partnered with Globe Labs to allow in-app purchases using prepaid or postpaid credits via Globe’s charging API (Application Programming Interface) tool, which allows developers to integrate an operator billing feature in their apps. This means players no longer have to use credit cards when making in-app purchases. All they have to do is authorize the app so that the amount will be deducted from their existing prepaid credit or be charged to their postpaid bill. Anino Games will receive 68% of the revenue made from purchases with the app.
At the time of this article’s publication, Manila Rush is the first mobile game to use this kind of payment method, though not exclusively. Globe’s charging API is open to all developers.
UPDATE 13-02-14: This article has been updated to add the iOS download link.