Disco Bees Mobile App Launches for Android After One Million iOS Downloads

A motivated team, unique concept, and passion for puzzle games makes Disco Bees a quiet standout.

Apr 5, 2014 at 12:01PM
Disco Bees Flowers Logo With Bee White Hex

What do you get when you combine a Princeton-educated architect, a Grammy-winning guitarist, and a criminal lawyer? Why, the team behind indie game company Space Inch, of course, who just saw the release of the Android version of their hexagonal puzzle game, Disco Bees. The Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS version was released last year and has done well, hitting one million installs just last week. And in the 24 hours after the game showed up on the Google Play store, it received over 80,000 installs. 

I recently talked with the principles at Space Inch -- Josh Segall in charge of product management, user acquisition, and business operations; Ari Kardasis, architect and primary front-end developer; and Andy Ross, who tackled most of the backend development and produced the music for Disco Bees. They all met in college and started working together a few years ago.

"We ended up making a game called Say the Same Thing, says Segall, a conceptual word game that they all played at parties and weddings long before bringing it to the mobile app space. "It was popular on iOS and the runner-up for game of the year in three countries," Segall says. 

The transition to creating a puzzle game was a no-brainer. "We're little and most companies who make puzzle games are big," Segall says, but the team was confident they brought something unique to the table that would produce a game that's more fun and of higher quality than a lot of the games currently topping the iOS and Google Play charts. 

But why bees? And why disco?

It's a convergence of the individual talents and interests the team members bring to the table that's behind the game's look and feel.

"Ari is an architect and mathematician," Segall says. "He did a thesis on hexagon piling in architecture, which led us to creating a hexagonal version of a puzzle game that would be more fun than a lot of the puzzle games out there." Then you add in Andy, "who's a Grammy winning rock guitarist, and we knew we could make a great soundtrack that would sound a lot better than other games out there." 


The Waggle Dance

The inclusion of a bee theme was practically compulsory. "Once you're doing hexagons, bees made a lot of sense and we really got into bee science."

When you complete a level in the game, all the bees on the board do a "waggle dance," which is something real bees actually do to relay information to one another. And there's a part of the game dedicated to "zombees," or zombie bees, which are bees taken over by parasites.

I played the game before speaking with the team and it is loaded with bee puns, too. Create several matches in a row and you're greeted with encouraging messages like, "Un-bee-lievable" and "Hive Five!" 

In terms financing, Space Inch is entirely self-funded. And while the team is quick to point out you can't rely on "going viral" as a monetization method, they feel having a polished game has certainly contributed to the word-of-mouth traction they've received.

Disco Bees is also "well differentiated," within the puzzle gaming community. "The players know what they like," says Segall. Game play is simple yet surprisingly challenging. Since the board is a hexagon shape, pieces can move in six directions rather than just four. Yet another way the team is confident their game is separated from the puzzle game pack.

And one thing they like in particular is the music. Ross—who you might recognize as the lead guitarist from OK Go—spent a lot of time listening to disco music to, "find a nice arc that could repeat over and over," throughout the levels of the game. Some players have even made requests to "buy the soundtrack." 


In-app purchases drive monetization.

The monetization model isn't groundbreaking but works. Disco Bees follows the in-app purchase model, and while the vast majority of players don't spend money in the game, some do to get more lives, make faster progress, and so forth, at $0.99 a pop.

As the team pours their hearts into Disco Bees, I had to ask what their long-terms goals were for Space Inch. "We're 130 among all games on iOS," says Segall. "We started coding in late July, early August of last year and went the first six months with four people [at the company]—now we have 13." 

While the team is expanding, and they definitely want to create more games in the future, players can expect, "a lot of development of Disco Bees over the next several months with new levels--and thanks to Ari--they're really unique and fun," Segall says. 

And what is the recipe for success in mobile gaming? Kardasis believes it is "...a relentless desire for perfection."

"You can't ever say something is good enough because you'll always be the second best," Kardasis says. 

A nugget of wisdom that applies across all industries, to be certain.

Brenda Barron has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information

Compare Brokers