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Dubai-Based Gaming Studio Piranha Byte Launches Its Brainchild: Peek!
Piranha Byte, a game development studio based in Dubai, just released its first title Peek!, inspired by the most successful photo sharing mobile applications such as Draw Something, Hangman, and Instagram.
Piranha Byte is a self-funded startup, launched around a year ago, and co-founded by a group of five young enthusiastic game lovers from different backgrounds and countries (Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, India, and London) who are all based in Dubai.
"We are here to learn from the best", says Waleed Kharma one of the co-founders, explaining how the team was inspired by other successful games adding a new twist in execution and design, especially by using the Game Minion platform to develop Peek!. The team will be releasing another word-play game next month.
Peek! is a multiplayer turn-based game where the gamer challenges his friends (or strangers) to guess a secret word based on a photo that he shares with them. The photo is initially hidden by tiles with one tile removed to allow them to peek at the photo. The players take turns and can peek by revealing tiles with each turn.
Free apps today are considered an easy way to raise awareness and become known on the market and the Piranha Byte team has embraced the freemium model, by putting the game on the Apple store for free, monetizing through the in-app purchases model. The model encourages players to spend while in the game to buy consumables and further levels. For example if a player is struggling to guess a word he can use "peeks" from his account to gradually reveal a tile of his choice or use coins to buy more peeks. This model was also adopted by Lebanese game developers GameCooks and in the extremely popular "Words With Friends" game.
Another way that the Piranha Byte team is monetizing is through advertisements that appear in the app, and disappear once the player spends money.
During his discussion with Wamda, Kharma mentioned the game is "targeting casual gamers, mainly females". It is true that the look and feel of the app appears a little feminine, with a pink and purple motif, but can a regular game be categorized "for females" without bearing any gender-based connotation?
The game is available to download for free in the iTunes store here and will be coming soon to Google Play on Android.
You can also check Piranha Byte's Facebook Fanpage, and the Peek! Facebook Fanpage, or follow Piranha Byte on Twitter @Piranha_Byte.
Maya works as the managing editor at Wamda. She is also founder of Jaridtak.com and a big believer in the power of citizen journalism. She is a multimedia journalist and a digital media trainer and instructor. She holds a masters degree in digital media production from the University of Toulon, France. You can reach her at maya[AT] wamda.com, find her on Twitter @RahalMaya or connect with her onLinkedIn.
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