Over the past month a simple yet addictive app named Anipang has become a household name among many. Launched on the new “Game Center” of Korea’s most popular chatting platform Kakao Talk, the app started taking off instantly and managed to rack up 2 million downloads in just two weeks as well as make the “Top Grossing” list in the same period. “We never expected this many users.” says Angus Lau, Global Business Development VP at SundayToz, the developer of Anipang.
Angus says that with around 8 million daily active users, developers at the company have been working hard for the past month and a half to keep things running smoothly. The app has now received over 15 million downloads since Anipang’s mobile launch on July 30 and this continues to grow each day as word spreads.
One of the reasons for the game’s success can be attributed to the wide range of ages it caters to. The simple puzzle only lasts one minute and is easy enough for anyone to pick up and play anytime.
“Other games require users to invest a lot of time in them to achieve something. Anipang requires concentration but since it is only one minute long, people are willing to invest that time into the game.”
Angus also said that recently launched Kakao’s Game Center was the perfect platform for the game. Users not only try to beat their high scores, but the user’s score is ranked with the scores of other Kakao friends, making the game more competitive than if playing alone or against strangers. Scoreboards are reset every week so all users get a fair go at trying to get the top score.
The platform has also allowed the company to reach a wider audience as the majority of Korean smartphone users make use of the service on a daily basis. This means that not only young people, but older generations which don’t usually take part in social gaming are also picking it up to compete with their families.
Another interesting aspect to Anipang is that there is a limit to how many times users can play it. Every time a round of the game is played, one “heart” is used. Once all hearts have been used up, users need to wait eight minutes, ask or wait for more from friends, or purchase more using the in-game currency “Topaz” to gain more.
The game has met some controversy as users send out messages to obtain hearts or share their scores with friends. Angus says that SundayToz is working together with Kakao to address the issue and have added an option within the game itself to opt out of receiving messages.
The developer of Anipang, SundayToz was founded in 2009 by Kevin Junwoong Lee, Hyunsoo Im and Chan-seok Park and the first version of the game was originally released the same year on Cyworld’s web-based social gaming platform. The company had six games on the Cyworld platform before pivoting to mobile, including Aqua Story which was also widely popular. The company has no immediate plans to take the game global but when it does will most likely target the Asian market.