How to Turn an App Into a Franchise

Want to build an entertainment franchise? Some game developers are discovering all you really need is an app for that.

It only took Dave Castelnuovo one week to develop Pocket God, a 99-cent iPhone game that lets users pretend to be God and control an island full of little cartoon pygmies. In less than two years since the app was released, it has become one of the most popular items in Apple's Appstore, selling more than 3.2 million copies.

Pocket God is undoubtedly one of the major success stories of the app marketplace, which now includes more than 200,000 apps on the iPhone alone, not including the thousands of apps available on Blackberry and Android phones.

However, earlier this year, Castelnuovo and his company, Bolt Creative, made a bold decision to take their success and expand beyond the mobile market. Later this year, the company is releasing the first comic book in a series based on the Pocket God app. And they may not stop there, either.

"A television show is definitely in the back of our minds," Castelnuovo says. "We have played around with animation in the past. But we can't really talk about it in too much detail now."

As it turns out, Pocket God may not be the only smartphone app to try and build a real world franchise.

Late last month, rumors began to surface that the creators of Angry Birds, another popular game on the iPhone and iPad, is looking to make toys and perhaps a television show of their own based on the game. With two heavyweights of the app world paving the way, more developers may explore the iea of turning their apps into franchises down the road.

We spoke with Castelnuovo about Bolt Creative's plans to move beyond the world of smartphones, whether this is a trend we'll continue to see, and what he did to make Pocket God such a popular app in the first place.

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