"iPhone AppStore is not an easy business." said Hareo Shiiya, the CEO of Appliya, a Tokyo-based iPhone app publisher who dressed as one of the characters from popular Sci-Fi anime "Evangelion."
"Sometime, the application you devoted yourself into can be easily ruined by the rivals or copy-cats.".
APPLIYA made a Japanese sword application called "Katana" last fall. Before that there was a light savor app., so they thought it will get approved easily. Wrong. They had to wait five months before the app get approved. And after it was finally released, another Japanese sword application called "iKatana" was also released. Because the latter was free, it almost destroyed the sales of APPLIYA's application.
But Hareo said, he knew this would happen looking at how other iPhone app developers are doing. And the solution he came up with was using copyrighted characters and contents. Because they are copyrighted, people can't just copy them; if they just copy the idea, it would only be half the value of what it is. Plus, if the buyer value that character/contents, they wouldn't mind paying the premium.
In my previous post, I wrote about a series of 'Evangelion' apps but that was the thought behind how Appliya came to produce them.
After my article, there was an official press announcement event on March 4 deep in the heart of Akihabara, in a eight-story building full of Otaku stuff. And even though it was an announcement of a few $1-$2 applications, about two dozen press from IT publications, game publications and anime publications showed up to cover the event.
Yohei Takada, the producer and Taisuke Odajima, the director of APPLIYA said iPhone is a "嗜好品 (Shiko-hin)" and so are the iPhone apps.
"Shiko-hin" in Japanese means some non-essential staff that shows someone's taste.
Some collectible items or tobacco are a good example of "shiko-hin" although non-essential, those who love tobacco shows distinctive taste and shows strong attachment to certain brands; sometime, it is to show that "I am a manly Marbolo type guy" or some would go deeper into explaining the different flavors.
Anyway, because Appliya think both iPhone and iPhone apps are "Shiko-hin", they made it as collectible items.
They have already release three apps I mentioned before:
But there soon will be two more apps, one is to make your own customizable Evangelion calendar which can also be used as your iPhone wall-paper.
Another one if a Evangelion 16 puzzle which if you solved will give you a new official Evangelion iPhone wallpaper.
Because they unified the look of each application, if you are Evangelion fan and buy one of the apps, you would want to collect all five of them.
I don't know if I would do it, but as a big Lost fan, I understand that if abc would make a Lost application with the official characters, I might collect them ;-)
BTW. at the moment, Appliya doesn't have any free versions of the apps, but along with the five iPhone apps, Appliya has silently announced a new 'free' hardware and I was more impressed with that.
The iPhone stand is made of paper and if you access the web site of Appliya and download a PDF, you can make one for yourself, too.
French-Japanese Appliya director, Taisuke Odajima believes to enjoy the Evangelion clock app and calendar app, you would need an iPhone stand. But asking people to buy a stand just for their apps would be asking too much. So he asked his wife to make an iPhone stand using Japanese tradition of Origami.
For those of you not as Origami expert as Taisuke's wife, Appliya is sharing a PDF file with instructions over here: