Short and Long Term App Plans

Short and Long Term App Plans

Forteller has always been committed to players, accessibility, and fostering lasting memories with friends and family.

A very positive metric in light of the current feedback:

In the last month, we've had 13,831 games played over the new app and the current feedback of complaints represent less than 1% of that userbase.

We still value that 1% and will do everything we can to accommodate. Thank you for everyone’s continued support.

Why is the current Mobile app going away?

  • We’ve had numerous issues trying to innovate and being struck down by Google and Apple approval policies
  • Growing concerns on regulations and legal ramifications - which trickle down into new policies to adhere to and shorter deadlines to implement, which puts our product development on hold
  • App Store presence doesn’t help our niche audience - while ASO is important in most industries, we have qualitative data that shows overwhelmingly our installs come from direct installs from links, QRs, conventions
  • Several under-the-hood open-source bits leveraged in it were abandoned and started to cause many issues where this tech debt got compounded as both Android and iOS released new versions that forced version bumps (read: planned obsolescence tactics)

Why is our new app important strategically?

  • Backend is now fully distributed on edge CDN processing - massive global speed improvements and caching solutions
  • Full embrace of continuous development and delivery - we frequently make updates and roll new features out throughout the week; something we would be bottlenecked on waiting for store approvals and their random rejections
  • Not Proprietary. Our new app can run on a TV, Xbox Browser, Mac, Linux, PC, etc.  Options are good, and even better when its a unified effort with feature parity across the platforms

What’s next?

  • Campaign and history support
    • Currently this is in place for a “default” campaign (think save game slot)
    • Updates to search and list views (more below) will marry the campaign history to match what the old app delivered in terms of “what has my group done vs haven’t done yet”
  • Performance optimizations across the board
  • UX improvements (actively look for a UX resource for this)
  • New “narration game” game type for card driven games - very exciting and very unannounced titles / partnership still :)
  • Video support to extend beyond our new image support for relevant game sections
  • Once we flesh out the core feature set and work through those - the team is not opposed to launching a revamped app for Google Play and App Store - we believe in choice and agency and certainly won’t close the door to this

New app running on an LG TV browser through a Dolby Atmos home theater

A note about our company and its operations

Something that bothered me and lost a substantial amount of sleep over processing was a few comments made... paraphrased as:

Garbage app, suits ruining things, outsource comments

I can take and accept criticism as the owner, but I'm not ok with things that impact the morale of the hardworking people on our very small team that work far more than asked to create things for our community.

Facts (not excuses or complaints):

  • We do not outsource development
  • Our one traditional "offshore" resource is treated and paid like a salaried team member... he is a human being and deserves to be treated as a valued member unlike every other company I've worked at where offshore is treated like a grunt
  • I've personally invested half a million dollars of my own capital from a career in technology since the dot com boom.  The accusation that I'd make decisions to tank the company and lose my entire invest is very confusing to me.
  • I pay myself a stipend that covers groceries and allocate the rest to paying my team members the best I can.
  • We are SIX people and do not have an 8-person dev team; that would equate to over 1M in fixed salary expenses which would have to come from massive price hikes... which goes against our principle of making this as accessible to as many people as possible

For the last several months we've been asking for feedback to improve this new app.  It's clear we did a poor job communicating this and where to join the conversation.

Please feel free to discuss things with all of the team on Discord.  We are always active, responsive, and happy to engage/help/listen/adapt.

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