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Hey folks! I'm Roj!
Started by roj Nov 30 2015 07:30 AM

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perk.com perk
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#1

roj

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Hey folks - just wanted to introduce myself.  I'm Roj - President/founder of Perk.com.  We're using Corona to build a next generation of mobile apps/games at Perk.com and got so excited about what is possible with Corona that we are acquiring the company.  

 

We're excited about the future of Corona and I'm looking forward to sharing with you the vision of how we see things in an upcoming Corona Labs blog post but thought I would post here first to introduce myself.

 

Apart from starting Perk, I consider myself first-and-foremost a developer (mostly web, LAMP stack) and have been coding since the late 90s.  From before the days of AJAX and when netscape plugins and VBScript were around, I've been evolving with the changing state of what "digital" means and truly believe the Corona represents the future of where game/app development should (and will) be.  In addition to developing web apps, I ran a web hosting company (in the very niche PostgreSQL space) and served a community of developer-first customers - as many of you know forums are the heart of hosting communities and so I appreciate/value that the Corona developer community is supported by such a thriving one right here in the Corona Labs forums.

 

The short version of what a blog post will eventually share with you is the following:

 

- Perk.com is profitable and thriving

- Perk.com is a public company (TSX:PER)

- Perk.com has always published apps as an "owned-and-operated" app company - we aren't your typical "ad tech" company though we both realize and depend that advertising is an essential component of what makes a mobile app ecosystem thrive.

- Perk.com is very *very* excited about the Corona SDK!

 

If you're interested in learning more about Perk.com, you can visit our website at http://www.perk.com but stay tuned more more information coming your way via a blog post shortly!



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#2

tonygod

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I just started working with the Fuse plugin last week for an app I am releasing in January.  Could you provide some insights on the future of ad plugins in Corona, such as Fuse, Vungle and others?



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#3

roj

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Great question - ad plugins as they are offered today will continue to be available to developers (including the Fuse plugin).  



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#4

JBean

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So the fuse plug-in will always be available as it is now? We did a lot of work integrating Fuse into several apps, so we hope this continues to be supported.



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#5

roj

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Indeed - the Fuse plugin will be available as it is now as we understand that many developers have spent a lot of time integrating the plugin into their apps already (as you have).



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#6

PXL artificer

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What about other ad platforms like admob (I'm using it in many of my apps and I'm quite satisfied)?

I presume they'll also be available to developers as they're offered today, but what about future updates? Will other ads platform be available/maintained through third-party plugins, or slowly phased out and being replaced by SuperRewards/Appsaholic?
 

I've tried googling for some developers experience on Perk points/SuperRewards/Appsaholic (if someone has already implemented them, how they work, a list of app using those platforms, fillrate, ecpm, if payments are on time and so on), unfortunately couldn't find anything... so I guess I'll wait for future blog posts.

 

Anyway, hope to see Corona grow with this acquisition.



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#7

Glitch Games

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We are tentatively excited and nervous at the news, however, can I make a suggestion? Start charging for the SDK again. 



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#8

thomas6

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I can only respond to Glitch Games by agreeing - although I have to say I'm lacking the revenue stream info that you guys have. But I for one am still a bit uneasy with the current state of Corona being free, and still wondering (since the change to free) how Corona would generate its income, especially since I personally would like to continue creating apps that are not app-supported.



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#9

Glitch Games

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I can only respond to Glitch Games by agreeing - although I have to say I'm lacking the revenue stream info that you guys have. But I for one am still a bit uneasy with the current state of Corona being free, and still wondering (since the change to free) how Corona would generate its income, especially since I personally would like to continue creating apps that are not app-supported.

 

I wouldn't say we have a particularly big revenue stream :-) We have a relatively consistent one, but by no means big :-)

 

I would say though that based on our experience, free-to-develop ( I just made that term up, not sure if there is a real term ) engines will only work if, like their free-to-play app equivalents, there are LOTS of developers/players using it.

 

If the generally accepted conversion rate is something like 1-2% on apps, I can only assume that the same can be said for engines. That's fine if you're the Clash of Clans of engines ( i.e. Unity ) but Corona is fairly niche and, again back to our own experience, so are our ( as in Glitchs', not the community as a whole ) games. We are only able to make money because of the small market that are willing to pay for our games, if we went free-to-play we wouldn't have the numbers to make any money off that 1%.

 

Having to pay for access to Corona will still hurt our bottom line, just like it will with any developer, however it's a price we're more than willing to pay to ensure the engine stays around and gets stronger.

 

Maybe go back to an Indie / Pro licence split like before so the price change doesn't hit everyone.


Edited by Glitch Games, 01 December 2015 - 03:38 AM.


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#10

thomas6

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Hi Glitch. Fully agreed. For the record, I was referring the Corona's revenue stream. :)

 

When I was still paying, I felt confident that Corona would (likely) survive because they had steady income. Now that it's free, I can't help but shake the feeling that either Corona might go belly up, or I that will one day be forced to incorporate ads into my games, so Corona can get a share of this ad revenue.



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#11

Glitch Games

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Hi Glitch. Fully agreed. For the record, I was referring the Corona's revenue stream. :)

 

When I was still paying, I felt confident that Corona would (likely) survive because they had steady income. Now that it's free, I can't help but shake the feeling that either Corona might go belly up, or I that will one day be forced to incorporate ads into my games, so Corona can get a share of this ad revenue.

 

Ah right, oops. Please ignore me on that part then :-)

 

Yup, completely share those same fears. We're probably fretting over nothing, but all those fears would be removed if we started paying for Corona again.



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#12

PXL artificer

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I can't justify a Enterprise license (not for its cost but because I would only use a very small part of it...) but would also gladly pay for a Pro license... basically as it was before the free for all model.
Probably giving away Corona for free was a last resort to acquire more users as possible in the shortest amount of time. But if they are going to keep Corona free it means they are planning to monetize in other ways (forcing ads platform or worse)...
A free starter edition, a moderately priced indie pro and a more expensive full pro (and then the enterprise) would be perfect... but at the same time it's also true that they have already tried this model and it looks like it wasn't working.
Let's see how the situations is going to evolve... And I would also like to see my questions about admob and other ad platforms answered by Perk...

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#13

sirmania

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I´m extremly worried  :unsure:

I have huge upcoming contracts and I can´t risk not to be able to update these apps in the future.

 

Why is Corona pro free?  

If 6.000 developers (only 2% of the reported 300.000 developers!?) would pay $500 for a pro license, that would make $3 million a year. I bet that would help. Enterprise is not needed for most developers so there is a missed income making the pro version free.

My guess is that there were few paying pro subscribers, thats why they didn´t have any choice but to make it free to try to get more developers to use Corona. That seems to have failed since Corona is rapidly acquired between companies like a hot potato. And the low $1.5 million value kind of confirms it.

 

If there is enough pro subscribers, Corona should do as Unity. The free version is slightly limited and you get a splashscreen "made with Corona SDK, make apps 10x faster". Free marketing ;)

 

But as one of the articles stated "Perk expects Corona to be EBITDA positive by Q4 2016". That gives me hope  :rolleyes:



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#14

thomas6

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For the record, the transaction entails 1.5 million dollars right now, and 1.0 million dollar more over the course of the next 12 months. Although there might potentially be some conditions to the extra million, this does bring the purchase price to 2.5 million dollar.

 

Whether that is a low or high price, I could not say because I don't have the necessary business or accounting skills to make such a call.



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#15

schroederapps

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Just chiming in with my two cents here. Obviously any time there is a change in ownership and/or leadership (and that's certainly what this is, moreso than with the Fuse acquisition, as Walter is stepping down as CEO), there's a risk factor. I get it. Like many of us, I've put most of my proverbial eggs in the Corona basket - if the platform were to disappear overnight, it would take significant time, energy, and possibly money to retain my ability to quickly produce apps. So I share concerns about the future of the SDK. But I'm remaining optimistic about this change, and here's why:

1.) I've been using Corona for just about 5 years now, and there have been lots of potentially game-ending changes in that time: Carlos (Walter's co-founder) leaving, the addition of Enterprise (which many worried signaled the end of SDK support), the Fuse acquisition, going free, etc. Any guess what? The platform has only gotten better and better. Pick any 12-month period in the platform's history and you'll only see forward progress. No serious dips in quality or service to the community, even during the events mentioned above. To put it bluntly, they've got a good track record of not only surviving these changes, but growing through them. Could that record get screwed up here? Sure, but looking at the history, the safe bet is on survival.

2.) Charles McKeever (aka Corona Geek), who is an insider but also a genuine community member, is on-board with it. He's optimistic about what this change means for the platform, and I trust him. You should too.

3.) Before you get worked up over the (potentially) low selling price of 2.3 million, keep in mind that (unless I missed something) the financial terms of the Fuse acquisition were never disclosed - probably because Fuse is privately-held and VC-funded. Which brings me to...

4.) Perk is publicly-traded, and profitable. Roj is Perk's founder, but he's not its owner. He has to answer to shareholders, who expect him to be a good shepherd of their investment. And given that the company is in the black, it seems like he's doing a good job. He's got real skin in the game to make sure that Corona thrives. And speaking of skin in the game...

5.) Perk actually USES the platform. So it's not just a cold investment for them. So in the same way that Unreal Engine is not just a revenue stream for Epic, Corona is part of Perk's toolchain. Do you think Perk devs have items on the feature request list? How much you wanna bet those features get implemented? So long as Perk's in-house requirements push the SDK to grow, it's good for everybody.

6.) New blood can be a good thing. I'm sorry to see Walter go, and while it's a risk for him to depart, it's also an opportunity for a new figurehead to make bold changes. @Roj: can you give any details for Perk's executive search plan?

If it sounds like I drank the Kool-Aid, rest assured that I haven't. I'm just optimistic, and I think there's genuine reasons to be so. There's a real possibility the whole thing could go belly up. But guess what? In today's "app store economy," that was already a real risk.

Sorry for the long post. TL;DR: Welcome Roj! You just bought a company with an active, helpful and friendly internet community (THAT's a rarity). We're happy you're here but understandably skittish when our favorite platform changes. Please chime in often. We'd love to hear what you've got planned. :)

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#16

Vince_

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+1 for paying for a Corona license. If it means I won't lose two years of development -- after quitting my job to produce apps in Corona full time -- then I will gladly pay.

Also, it is reassuring to hear that ad plugins will still be supported. Ads are core to my monetization model, and I am going to be relying on rewarded video interstitials. But please consider expanding support for other ad networks (such as Chartboost). It's really disconcerting to see the choices for ad networks dwindle.

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#17

thomas6

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Very good points, SchroederApps! You've reassured me! Thanks!



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#18

bgmadclown

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I have just one question on my mind: Why does Fuse sell the company to Perk, if all is well and getting better?



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#19

sirmania

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schroederapps!

You made me feel a little better. I feel bad about spreading fear and worries and jumping to conclutions :(

 

When I think about it, we should have been more worried about Fuse acquiring Corona.

Perk uses Corona and loves Corona.

This post also made me feel a little better: https://coronalabs.com/.../with-perk-com-corona-labs.../

 

Happy coding :D



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#20

roj

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Thanks everybody for sharing thoughts here, much appreciated.  And thank you @schroederapps for your very appropriate words as well.   

 

While charging for Corona may seem like the appropriate thing to do, our belief is that making Corona SDK accessible to more developers by making it free is the right overall strategy.  

 

In tandem to this is our plan to release Corona Ads as a best-in-class ad monetization product that makes it easy and painless for developers to earn from their apps.  We believe that Corona Ads will attract developers like you to support Corona not by paying out of pocket but by paying us only when you pay yourself based on the success of your apps.  

 

Fuse had a similar strategy but with key weaknesses.  Firstly, their focus was narrow (only rewarded video) while Corona Ads will be broad-based offering display banner, display interstitial, video, and rewarded video.  Secondly, the FusePowered SDK is heavy.  As developers ourselves, we've worked with so many SDKs that "SDK bloat" is something we actively avoid and expect to deliver with the Corona Ads product as well.  Third, we can afford making Corona free in a way that others...can't.  We're proud of this ability and what it can do to carry Corona SDK into the future.  

 

For those of you who are curious about the support of other monetization plugins: these will continue to be made available and supported into the future.  

 

-roj



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#21

Vince_

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@roj, thanks for the reassuring words. Do you have an ETA for Corona Ads? I'd like to ship my game in the next couple months but like I said above, the current ad network plugins are slim pickings. I do have a couple questions about how Corona Ads will work.

Firstly, will it support ad mediation so we can get the highest paying ad possible at any given time?

Secondly, can rewarded ads work with our own rewards (eg, in game coins, extra lives, etc) or will we be forced to use Perk points?

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#22

walter

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Hi all, mind if I make a few comments? :)

 

I can totally understand change creates a feeling of uncertainty, but I'm very confident that Corona is in great shape.

 

I can't help but think of Corona as my baby — what founder wouldn't? So it's an understatement to say that taking a step back was a difficult decision. That said, I wouldn't have done it unless I felt Corona's future was secure. 

 

The Perk folks really understand the value of Corona, especially as Corona users themselves. And as I said in my blog post, the Corona team is just incredible — look at everything they delivered this year. It's time to let them stretch their wings!

 

I've also talked at length with Roj about Fuse, and what the key learnings were. Everything Roj mentioned above, and also executing on a strategy that works for the entire community, not just a small subset (as was the case with Fuse).

 

And as you can see from Roj's recent blog post, the planning and strategy under Perk is coming together in a much more natural way.

 

I'm particularly looking forward to CoronaCon (*) — I hope I'm invited!

 

---

 

(*) Fun fact: Jay Jennings and I independently thought up the name "CoronaCon" back in 2012. He beat me to registering the .com domain, so we claimed the .org one.



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#23

J. A. Whye

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(*) Fun fact: Jay Jennings and I independently thought up the name "CoronaCon" back in 2012. He beat me to registering the .com domain, so we claimed the .org one.

 

If someone goes to the .com version they'll see a "for sale" page -- that's not me. I offered it to CL but they had the .org name by that time so I just let it go and someone else grabbed it.

 

And yes, an official "CoronaCon" sounds awesome. :)

 

 Jay



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#24

roj

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@Vince_ We're launching a beta of Corona Ads before the end of the year and will be publishing a sign-up page by December 9th (link to be provided shortly) for interested developers.  Stay tuned for this.

 

Corona Ads as a product will evolve over time but the general principles will always be oriented around yield optimization and attaining maximum fill with the ad networks that will be connected on the demand side.  More information on Corona Ads as a product will be available soon.  

 

Re: rewarded ads, you will most definitely be able to integrate in a way that does not require implementation of Perk Points.  

 

@walter, yo!  I will deliver your badge to CoronaCon myself.  

 

@jay @walter I just bought the coronacon.com domain.  Snap!



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#25

sirmania

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This is to the community (and myself)!

 

Lets not paint the devil on the wall and abandon ship because there is a new captain onboard. This captain has infact more invested in the ship so he will be even more determined to keep it afloat.

 

If we, the community, panic and flee, we are making sure the ship sinks.

I think we owe it to Corona and the rest of the community to stick around and give the new captain a fair chance to prove himself.

 

Leaving Corona and the community for getting a new captain is like leaving your family because your wife got a new necklace :)




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