Pocket Gems is known for being a leader in the mobile games space (well-known games include Tap Paradise Cove, Animal Voyage: Island Adventure and Campus Holiday), but today the company is officially launching an interactive mobile story platform called Episode, on the Apple App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon Appstore. Users can interact with animated stories that were built specifically for mobile devices, making decisions that shape the plot.
According to a press release, Episode soft-launched in December and has already played more than 10 million chapters, at about 300 chapters per minute. The app is free to download and will have free content daily for users, as well as offer fans additional chapters to download.
“Historically the mass entertainment audience enjoys story-based content like movies, TV, and books,” Daniel Terry, co-founder and chief creative officer of Pocket Gems, said in the press release. “Episode brings the same kind of rich story-based content to the modern mobile audience. It fits mobile user habits by offering stories that can be enjoyed in short or long sessions with engaging graphics and interactive plot progression.”
“While gaming will always be at our core, we’re very excited to release a product that falls into an entirely new genre of mobile entertainment,” Terry said in the press release. “This platform combines aspects from TV, novels, and games to give its audience an experience that they haven’t seen before.”
Along with the launch of Episode is the writer’s portal, “where anyone, regardless of their animation or development experience, can easily turn their screenplay into a story with rich animation and a complex story tree,” according to the press release.
Daniel Terry was kind enough to answer my questions on how the writer’s portal will work, so see below for more details, including guidelines and promotion details.
S.R.: Since the stories in Episode are meant to be shaped by the users decisions in the plot and with short chapters, are writers given guidelines to work with?
D.T.: Yes, the writer’s portal features guidelines that explain how they can use the portal to create interactive story experiences. We also provide sample scripts from existing stories so they can follow along and learn through example. We’ve seen that it takes about an hour to learn the ins and outs of the portal.
S.R.: Is it free to sign up for the writer’s portal?
D.T.: Yes, there will be no charge to join the writer’s portal and it will be open to everyone. Pocket Gems will work directly with the select writers whose stories they will feature on the platform. All stories will be sharable by their creators on social media.
S.R.: Are writers compensated for their work?
D.T.: At launch, we’re only working with hand-selected group of pro writers. As we begin to add content from the general audience, we’ll build out a compensation process.
S.R.: Will Episode be promoting these stories? If so, how? And how can writers best promote their work on Episode?
D.T.: Selected stories will be promoted and featured on the player-facing side of the app, exposing the content to millions of potential new fans. All writers will be able to promote their stories through social media channels.
S.R.: The press release says Episode will feature works from established writers. Can you share any names?
D.T.: Yes, we’re working with about 30 pro writers at launch. Notable authors include Andy Schmidt who was creative spearhead and oversaw the Annihilation storyline at Marvel Comics, a major event that set the direction for this cast of characters that will soon be featured in the film Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. We’re also working with Rachel Maude, author of the Poseur series.
Download your copy of Episode for iPhone and iPad here.