Digital Chocolate founder and CEO 'Trip' Hawkins recently appeared on CNBC in a CNBC Exclusive interview "Tech: It's All About Apps."

In the piece, Hawkins discusses the unique, social nature of mobile gaming today and echoes his earlier sentiments that the iPhone is a "breakthrough platform" that is leading the new wave of connected mobile devices that are being heavily embraced by today's "omni consumers," a new sort of user interested in interacting with digital media of many forms and on many different levels.

Hawkins expresses great satisfaction with the performance of his studio's games on the iPhone platform (four of the studio's games have hit #1 in the App Store) and calls Digital Chocolate "the #1 game company on the iPhone," based on 20 million downloads of their games, or 2% of all App Store downloads.

According to Hawkins, Sony and Nintendo should be very concerned by the iPhone's success and the degree to which today's omni consumers are embracing this new type of device.

They're using all kinds of platforms, many of them are brand new. And they've got a very different expectation [from gamers 10 years ago]. They're really looking more for social value than for escapism. They want to find new ways to check in and be in contact with people than just checking out and doing something by themselves.

Trip Hawkins left Apple in 1982 to form Electronic Arts. He was the man behind 3DO and formed mobile development studio Digital Chocolate in 2003.

  • MrDark

    who is number 1 again? I don't believe it....

  • MrDark

    who is number 1 again? I don't believe it....

  • lcwz

    What? Digital Chocolate is rubbish.

  • lcwz

    What? Digital Chocolate is rubbish.

  • mrbass

    One thing he said which I didn't think about was one of the next big things is giving away app then selling microtransactions when they keep pressing him to comment about app piracy.

    I was always thinking they sell app for $5 then sell $1 here and $2 here microtransactions. But if they give away a quality top game which gets millions of users and offer $1 transactions that might be a feasible economic approach. It may even combat piracy...depending on how apple implements it.

    • nizy

      Apple stated that free app are free - no paid DLC, so this won't be possible even in 3.0. Of course you could just sell at $0.99

      • mrbass

        Yea your right. Well he said it at 3:30....guess he goofed. But yea $1 would be fine then.

  • mrbass

    One thing he said which I didn't think about was one of the next big things is giving away app then selling microtransactions when they keep pressing him to comment about app piracy.

    I was always thinking they sell app for $5 then sell $1 here and $2 here microtransactions. But if they give away a quality top game which gets millions of users and offer $1 transactions that might be a feasible economic approach. It may even combat piracy...depending on how apple implements it.

    • nizy

      Apple stated that free app are free - no paid DLC, so this won't be possible even in 3.0. Of course you could just sell at $0.99

      • mrbass

        Yea your right. Well he said it at 3:30....guess he goofed. But yea $1 would be fine then.

  • http://www.bytecellar.com blakespot

    According to Apple, no free app can contain microtransactions...

  • http://www.bytecellar.com blakespot

    According to Apple, no free app can contain microtransactions...

  • Chad

    Which I firmly agree with. If you're in the business to make money, just sell your app for .99c. I wonder if 99c or free has really made a big impact on someone getting an app assuming the app wasn't pure garbage at first sight.

  • Chad

    Which I firmly agree with. If you're in the business to make money, just sell your app for .99c. I wonder if 99c or free has really made a big impact on someone getting an app assuming the app wasn't pure garbage at first sight.

  • Booch138

    I don't know. I may be completely wrong, but I think the iDevices' games aren't going to be the next earth shattering thing for Big Wigs such as Sony, and Nintendo (as far as Portable Devices go, I wont even justify the iDevices contending with Consoles) Generally the bigger guys will always outshine this stuff, and yeah maybe a few developers will amass a huge following, but I will never choose the iPod touch over like... say a DSi for specifically gaming. Yeah the iDevices have a ton of games and fun entertaining apps, but when it comes down to it, its not a gaming platform. Its a platform designed for everything, that gaming can take part of. I use my iPod touch for music mainly, because... well thats what I wanted it for. But I also wanted a device that does well with media, internet, and useful apps. And though I have a ton of games for it, only about 5% of them can contend with Hand Held Gaming device games for the DSi and PSP. I don't know, thats just how I feel.

    Bottom line is, for gaming platform, I am going to buy a system build around gaming. I do like some of the games that the iDevices have like I stated before, but I think it will never really get over the top.

  • Booch138

    I don't know. I may be completely wrong, but I think the iDevices' games aren't going to be the next earth shattering thing for Big Wigs such as Sony, and Nintendo (as far as Portable Devices go, I wont even justify the iDevices contending with Consoles) Generally the bigger guys will always outshine this stuff, and yeah maybe a few developers will amass a huge following, but I will never choose the iPod touch over like... say a DSi for specifically gaming. Yeah the iDevices have a ton of games and fun entertaining apps, but when it comes down to it, its not a gaming platform. Its a platform designed for everything, that gaming can take part of. I use my iPod touch for music mainly, because... well thats what I wanted it for. But I also wanted a device that does well with media, internet, and useful apps. And though I have a ton of games for it, only about 5% of them can contend with Hand Held Gaming device games for the DSi and PSP. I don't know, thats just how I feel.

    Bottom line is, for gaming platform, I am going to buy a system build around gaming. I do like some of the games that the iDevices have like I stated before, but I think it will never really get over the top.

  • Chad

    The mobile market is only just now evolving into something serious with some actual hardware to support it that is finally rivalling the dedicated portable gaming hardware. The iPhone/iTouches still need some hardware improvements, and even then, there may continue to be a touch vs "button-feel" (i can't remember the correct term) war to keep other handhelds alive. The DSi is actually a shoddy attempt to mimic what things like the iPhone have. DSi isn't even a dedicated gaming device anymore, just like the PSP. Browser, music player, DSi having a camera?! If anything "dedicated" portable gaming consoles are trying to catch up with the diversity of the mobile gaming hardware market.

    The key will be getting comparable hardware for the same price into the mainstream, and into the same hands as the majority of their current casual and hardcore gaming audience.

  • Chad

    The mobile market is only just now evolving into something serious with some actual hardware to support it that is finally rivalling the dedicated portable gaming hardware. The iPhone/iTouches still need some hardware improvements, and even then, there may continue to be a touch vs "button-feel" (i can't remember the correct term) war to keep other handhelds alive. The DSi is actually a shoddy attempt to mimic what things like the iPhone have. DSi isn't even a dedicated gaming device anymore, just like the PSP. Browser, music player, DSi having a camera?! If anything "dedicated" portable gaming consoles are trying to catch up with the diversity of the mobile gaming hardware market.

    The key will be getting comparable hardware for the same price into the mainstream, and into the same hands as the majority of their current casual and hardcore gaming audience.

  • http://www.taptoplay.de Lakeshore

    Only Tower Bloxx is a good game. ALL other games of them suck. I even stopped reviewing them. And they get worse with every new game. Just compare Tower Bloxx, Diamond Islands, 24 and then this new Pyramid Bloxx and you see the quality falling VERY fast. The new games are just cheap ports, bad framerate, lousy controls, music and sound effects suck. If they would stay with the quality they achieved with Tower Bloxx, everything would be fine.

    I can only laugh at the "we are number one" statement. Gameloft is number one. Period. Gameloft is the company which adds value to the games on the AppStore and tries to achieve new and better stuff with every new game. Digital Chocolate's achievement is on the other side: Start with a good game, then lower the quality and the gaming experience to reach a lousy J2ME-level on the iPhone.

    Shame on you, Digital Chocolate!

    • dlau

      Agreed. But I like their Crazy Penguin and Chocolate Frenzy too. 24 is just okay, way too short and doesn't worth $5. All the rest are craps and run slow on iPhone 3G (locked and no jailbreak).

    • SalsaMD

      They are #1 based on game downloads b/c all their games have lite versions. If Gameloft did the same, they would likely eclipse Digital Chocolate.

    • Jimbo

      Agreed, DC's games are rubbish ye olde Java mobile phone games quick-ported over to our high-tech handheld computers.
      Compared to stuff from Capcom, EA, GameLoft and even the indies, they are an absolute disgrace.

  • http://www.taptoplay.de Lakeshore

    Only Tower Bloxx is a good game. ALL other games of them suck. I even stopped reviewing them. And they get worse with every new game. Just compare Tower Bloxx, Diamond Islands, 24 and then this new Pyramid Bloxx and you see the quality falling VERY fast. The new games are just cheap ports, bad framerate, lousy controls, music and sound effects suck. If they would stay with the quality they achieved with Tower Bloxx, everything would be fine.

    I can only laugh at the "we are number one" statement. Gameloft is number one. Period. Gameloft is the company which adds value to the games on the AppStore and tries to achieve new and better stuff with every new game. Digital Chocolate's achievement is on the other side: Start with a good game, then lower the quality and the gaming experience to reach a lousy J2ME-level on the iPhone.

    Shame on you, Digital Chocolate!

    • dlau

      Agreed. But I like their Crazy Penguin and Chocolate Frenzy too. 24 is just okay, way too short and doesn't worth $5. All the rest are craps and run slow on iPhone 3G (locked and no jailbreak).

    • SalsaMD

      They are #1 based on game downloads b/c all their games have lite versions. If Gameloft did the same, they would likely eclipse Digital Chocolate.

    • Jimbo

      Agreed, DC's games are rubbish ye olde Java mobile phone games quick-ported over to our high-tech handheld computers.
      Compared to stuff from Capcom, EA, GameLoft and even the indies, they are an absolute disgrace.

  • http://www.ttursas.com Ville Helin

    Trip Hawkings has big ego.

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      Whatever you think of Digital Chocolate and their games, Trip has a right to have a bit of an ego. He's considered by many to be an industry visionary and is the man who created Electronic Arts. 3DO didn't work so well for him (Sony saw to that), but still - an impressive resume.

      • Booch138

        Yeah, but either way you spit it, an enlarged ego still makes you look like an arrogant fool. Yeah he might considered a visionary, but in terms of Digital Chocolate's Titles, he is kind of lame to me. rofl *shrugs*

    • Dan

      Trip Hawkins needs to find investors and raise capital. To do these things and more he needs to present himself and his company as huge successes.

      When you see CEO bluster like this it's P.R., not just because the guy's full of himself and needs a place to brag. I'm not saying he's NOT full of himself in real life, I have no idea either way, but these appearances are all business.

      • Booch138

        I see your point, and thats a good one. Wasn't thinking about that, but I am also not an investor, and neither is the majority of us vs. them ahhahaah. I just think little appearances like these are just lame. But then again I guess if I was being interviewed, I wouldnt talk anything but highly of my company and it's work. It's a double edged sward ;)

      • Booch138

        Errr, sword. Not sward. Man I really hate that you can't edit these comments.

  • http://www.ttursas.com Ville Helin

    Trip Hawkings has big ego.

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      Whatever you think of Digital Chocolate and their games, Trip has a right to have a bit of an ego. He's considered by many to be an industry visionary and is the man who created Electronic Arts. 3DO didn't work so well for him (Sony saw to that), but still - an impressive resume.

      • Booch138

        Yeah, but either way you spit it, an enlarged ego still makes you look like an arrogant fool. Yeah he might considered a visionary, but in terms of Digital Chocolate's Titles, he is kind of lame to me. rofl *shrugs*

    • Dan

      Trip Hawkins needs to find investors and raise capital. To do these things and more he needs to present himself and his company as huge successes.

      When you see CEO bluster like this it's P.R., not just because the guy's full of himself and needs a place to brag. I'm not saying he's NOT full of himself in real life, I have no idea either way, but these appearances are all business.

      • Booch138

        I see your point, and thats a good one. Wasn't thinking about that, but I am also not an investor, and neither is the majority of us vs. them ahhahaah. I just think little appearances like these are just lame. But then again I guess if I was being interviewed, I wouldnt talk anything but highly of my company and it's work. It's a double edged sward ;)

      • Booch138

        Errr, sword. Not sward. Man I really hate that you can't edit these comments.

  • mek

    not a fan of microtransactions
    i understand its potential, and how it could work very well in various situations, to add expansion packs, extra content and whatnot...but this whole for an extra $1, you can buy an RPG to enhance your gameplay....not my thing, I wont be playing it...Im not a fan of buying avatars and customizing my characters..I just want a functional fun game...

  • mek

    not a fan of microtransactions
    i understand its potential, and how it could work very well in various situations, to add expansion packs, extra content and whatnot...but this whole for an extra $1, you can buy an RPG to enhance your gameplay....not my thing, I wont be playing it...Im not a fan of buying avatars and customizing my characters..I just want a functional fun game...

  • jeffyg3

    Kind of a lame ass attempt by Hawkins to get out of that piracy question. Yeah, no **** there are lite versions, it's the full games that are being pirated and downloaded...he should have just said "we're not doing jack **** to combat the piracy situation on the iPhone"...that would have been a more respectable answer.

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      I think piracy of iPhone apps is not that big a problem. The correspondent was set on that one concern, but it's not a concern Hawkins shares, I think. Such a small % of users actually pirating games on the iPhone.

  • jeffyg3

    Kind of a lame ass attempt by Hawkins to get out of that piracy question. Yeah, no **** there are lite versions, it's the full games that are being pirated and downloaded...he should have just said "we're not doing jack **** to combat the piracy situation on the iPhone"...that would have been a more respectable answer.

    • http://www.blakespot.com Blake Patterson

      I think piracy of iPhone apps is not that big a problem. The correspondent was set on that one concern, but it's not a concern Hawkins shares, I think. Such a small % of users actually pirating games on the iPhone.