Crazy App Ideas that Actually Worked

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The internet had sprouted crazy ideas over the years and it seems that the mobile app industry had inherited this penchant to sprout the craziest of app ideas. The curious thing is that a lot of these app ideas actually work!  But how did these apps became mainstream? Is there some faulty wiring in our brains that make us addicted to nonsensical apps or is it just our nature to be attracted to this sort of entertainment? No matter what the real reason is, these apps are successful and we as reskinners could learn a lesson or two from these apps.

 

Pou

Average revenue: $356k/month

How it works:

Pou is a digital pet with a concept is similar to the Japanese digital pet Tamagotchi. Pou is a triangular alien pet (some say it’s a rock or a pou-tato) that players can raise like a regular pet. The art is simplistic but has a certain charm that engages users.   

 

The science behind the success:

Simulation games are addictive, especially those that simulate real-life interactions where one can develop an emotional attachment, a sense of control of circumstances, personal user experience and engagement.

 

But not all simulation games are successful.  Paul Salameh (Pou’s developer)  especially put a lot  of work  on details and the smooth flow of the gameplay.  In-app monetization in Pou isn’t also as prevalent compared to similar apps. Pou also presented an eccentric air of novelty. It isn’t the typical pet you keep at home, giving a sense of exclusiveness.

 

The beauty of apps like Pou is that you can virtually reskin it as many times with as many themes as possible without looking like a blatant clone. The concept in itself is very generic and you can replace Pou with any character you can think of.

 

Other simulation apps that surprisingly made it to the top:

  • Fake Smoker: The Digital Smoke
  • Pimple Popper
  • iBeer

 

iFart

Average revenue: $10,000 (at its peak)

How it works:

iFart is a fart simulator (one of many).  It is one of the many prank apps that litter the app stores. The fart machine novelty is passed on to this app with the added bonus of technological sophistication.

 

The science behind the success:

The gratification received from pranks is a natural part of human behavior that aims to conform and relate to other’s situational behavior. It’s either we’re on the prankster’s or the victim’s side. With these prank apps, we feel a certain sense of superiority, the more ridiculous the results, the better we feel about ourselves. Fart apps are vulgar and offensive but some of these prank app ideas actually come from recent trends that circulate around the internet. These trends seem to influence people’s opinion of acceptable social behavior.

 

Other prank apps that surprisingly made it to the top:

  • Dog Poop!
  • Dude, Your Car!
  • PRANKDIAL

 

Hold On!

Average revenue: Unknown

How it works:

Hold On! is an app with only one function: you just press the “Hold On” button for as long as you can, competing with your friends through Bluetooth and checking out where you place on the online leaderboards.

 

The science behind the success:

Less is more. App stores are crowded with  apps that offer the same functionality. The advantage of having a lot of options to choose from can also become a disadvantage. It’s the same with the option between a multiple and a single function app. Hick’s Law describes how the number of choices affects the length of time one arrives at a decision. More choices mean more time and  lesser satisfaction on the user experience design. Hold On!’s direct approach, with no gameplay at all, removes any need for a certain degree of intellect and real skill, making it in a sense, an app for everyone.

 

Other single function apps that surprisingly made it to the top:

  • Yo
  • Push for Pizza
  • Rubby Bird

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