The iPhone 3G has sent a smorgasbord of developers scrambling to their keyboards to create programming gold—applications that will keep those iPhones glued to our hot little hands for hours upon hours. Shervin Pishevar is the CEO and co-founder of the Palo Alto, CA based Social Gaming Network or SGN as it’s known throughout the industry. They are the developers of iGolf, iBowl and the recently-released iBaseball. They might actually have struck branding gold too. The i-sports name is quickly becoming synonymous with the company. The idea for their first game emerged during a visit from Pishevar’s brother-in-law. He noticed him practicing his golf swing with an invisible club. The other two games have been a natural extension of that idea.
Early adopters of the application noticed the game’s play is very similar to the Nintendo Wii. Peshevar insists that the Nintendo Wii is not a competitor. He believes the only aspects that link them are the interactive playing features of the game. “SGN intends to work across as many platforms as possible, but our core charter is to leverage the "social graph" spearheaded by networking sites like Facebook.”
iBaseball is a game that allows users to play and practice as if they were part of real baseball game. Players can take batting practice and bat balls into any section of the playing field. The iPhone's accelerometer allows players to throw a variety of pitches like fastballs and curve balls. Users can even compete against one another to see who can throw the fastest pitch.
SGN has already had tremendous success with more than three million downloads of its popular applications to date. Pishevar didn’t expect this sort of popularity so quickly. “While I had an intuitive sense that our iPhone games would be popular, the speed and degree of their success was something of a pleasant surprise. It confirms my suspicion that vibrant gaming is truly platform-agnostic.” The social gaming network is building games across multi-platforms. In fact, the company already develops games for social networks like Facebook, Bebo and Hi-5.
The CEO also speaks candidly about their costs. At the moment, the application is free. However, the company has plans to introduce an iGolf Pro paid application. iGolf Pro would give players the opportunity to buy an 18 hole golf course. “Our best market intelligence suggests that this is the price that will optimize aggregate revenue—both from paid downloads and from in-game advertising and sponsorships. $0.99 is a reasonable price that should allow users to enjoy our products which, at the end of the day, is why we build them.”
At the moment, the company is an application juggernaut. Whether or not their multi-platform or “premium” application approach works will naturally be determined by consumer interest.
In our research of the iBaseball application we were generally happy, although it did crash a few times. For more information on SGN and their iPhone application games head over to www.sgn.com.