Ben Dodson

Freelance iOS, macOS, Apple Watch, and Apple TV Developer

Three years of WallaBee

Today I’m celebrating three years since WallaBee was released into the world. Originally conceived as an extension to the item collecting side of Gowalla, it launched in February 2012 as a completely standalone game with beautiful artwork and a very dedicated group of players. Since then it has won awards and grown far beyond what I originally anticipated.

It hasn’t been an easy (or cheap1) journey, but today we have a large player base and we’ve stuck to the principles I laid out when I first launched the game:

We are focussed on a single thing; items. We have a location database and we allow players and developers to add to this database but it’s not our key focus. We are fundamentally not a check-in service.

We don’t just want to build a community of players, we also want to build a community of developers. If you build something on our platform, we’ll promote it.

The most important thing, the item that is at the core of who we are, is that we are dedicated to the player. We promise to listen, adapt, and make changes that the community wants rather than just blazing our own trail. We will never fundamentally change our product on a whim when we know that it’s not what our community wants. We built this app because it’s the app we wanted to use. We will never deviate from that course or that core belief.

If there is just one thing I could choose about WallaBee that I’m proud of, it would be that we stuck to those initial promises. We haven’t taken any external funding nor done things simply to boost user numbers or revenue. Every decision we make is based on a simple philosophy: do we like it?

Over the coming months, we’re going to be launching a lot of new things which will grow WallaBee from one game to a global brand. Even so, we won’t change from those core beliefs.

  1. For anybody wondering about the financials of such a game, you need at least $30000 to get started and you will lose a lot of money for the first 18 months (great artists and servers are both expensive and necessary). I started WallaBee on the basis that if it wasn’t break even by year 2 then we’d shut it down. Happily, we’ve been turning a profit since September 2013. ↩︎

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