If you own an Apple (AAPL) iPhone or iPod touch, there’s a good chance you’ve downloaded or have heard of ‘Tap Tap Revenge’, a music game that’s not too different than ‘Guitar Hero’, ‘Dance Dance Revolution’, or other console games. People have downloaded ‘Tap Tap Revenge’ some 12 million times, which means it’s on about 30% of the 40 million iPhones and iPod touches that Apple has sold so far. Very impressive.
So what’s next for ‘Tap Tap Revenge’ and its parent company, Tapulous? We sat down with Tapulous CEO Bart Decrem this morning for an update. Here’s the highlights:
‘Tap Tap Revenge 2’ will support the iPhone’s push notifications system next Wednesday when the iPhone 3.0 OS rolls out, Decrem hopes. (There’s always the risk of something going wrong in the app approval process.) This will mostly be used to communicate updates, such as the high score “challenge” competition.
‘Tap Tap Revenge 3’ will launch in July. The big picture here is in-app purchasing and more social features. Tapulous will offer 2-for-$1 song downloads, which you can play in the game, and other in-app items. And it will have more social and network gaming features. Selling in-app items will require Tapulous to offer a free and paid ($0.99) version of the app. You are able to import paid ‘Tap Tap’ songs — even from Tapulous’s featured apps like ‘Tap Tap Coldplay’ — into its free apps.
Users will get to design parts of the game soon. Tapulous will start by letting users design background art and themes, and compete to get them included in the game. Eventually, they’ll open up more of the platform to designers and developers, too. And indie bands might get a pipeline into the game, too.
More premium apps are on the way. Tapulous has a new deal with Universal Music to build several new music games. The first, featuring pop artist Lady Gaga, went on sale yesterday for $4.99. It’s currently the no. 60 paid app in the App Store. Artists like these apps because they bring them closer to fans, who might buy concert tickets or other music. Labels and publishers like these apps because they bring in new revenue from new streams besides iTunes MP3 downloads.
Tapulous is financially healthy. The company has sold 300,000 of its paid games, and via revenue splits from those sales and in-app advertising, has made about $1.5 million in revenue since launching last summer. The company plans to break even this summer, and could do a couple million in sales this year.