The Epic Tale Of How Phosphor Games Reclaimed 'Horn' From Zynga So It Could Publish The Game Properly
Horn came out on Android back in 2012, and it was a pretty big deal at the time. Phosphor Games Studio had previously seen success with Dark Meadow, and it was clear the studio could do great things. Unlike Dark Meadow, Horn was published by Zynga instead of the developer. The title made a splash when it was released, but the 1-star reviews piled up as updates failed to materialize. Phosphor Games now has control of Horn back in Google Play, but what went wrong?
According to the developers, they decided to seek a publishing partner for Horn to get wider exposure. Zynga seemed like a good fit with its huge network of users. However, many customers were under the misapprehension that Zynga was somehow involved in the development and design of the game – Phosphor might have underestimated the animosity some people in the community feel toward Zynga. As if that wasn't enough of an issue, Zynga's marketing of the game didn't have the desired results among its fans. The result was, apparently, a game that languished without updates and collected angry reviews like the NSA collects your emails. The update could have been published by Zynga, but Phosphor felt it wouldn't do much good until it had the game back under its control.
Phosphor originally thought it wouldn't be able to get the game listing transferred back to its own developer account. As an alternative, a second listing would be made, and users could transfer their saved games to a new installation. Of course, that meant buying it again or making the new game free. Phosphor Games actually posted the new version, but pulled it down once Zynga figured out it could transfer the game and give Phosphor full control to update as it saw fit. This arrangement worked out well for everyone – Zynga could cancel any future marketing efforts for a game that wasn't doing it any good, and Phosphor Games gets to push updates and support its players directly.
If you check out Horn in Google Play now, it has been updated to fix crashes and properly support Tegra 4. This is the first update it has gotten in quite a long time, but the early reviews from users are positive (and somewhat pointed when it comes to Zynga). The only downside is that Phosphor Games is now hobbled by a 2.7-star average rating. Phosphor Games tells us it has plans to add more content and support new devices, so maybe it's time to give this title another look.