INTERVIEW: Video game collector app developer

Pieterjan Vandegaer is a young app developer who owns a software studio called Pure Gaming. Vandegaer develops apps on fitness and nutrition as well as reference guides for video gamers.

Through Pure Gaming, Vandegaer has release a dozen apps on a dozen different consoles including Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Atari 2600, Playstation, and Sega Genesis. Each app currently costs $4 on Apple’s App Store and contains a database of information on every title, including the games’ box art, rarity level, pricing information and condition.

Much to Vandegaer’s surprise, the apps have received over 20,000 downloads and counting. The young software developer was kind enough to talk to me about his inspirations, methods and advice for potential app developers:

 

What inspired you to develop this collection of apps?

A couple of years ago I needed a way to keep track of my own collection when going out game hunting, couldn’t find an existing app with the features I needed so that’s why I decided to build my own. Initially I did not expect to make any sales since it was catering to a very specific audience, but I was pleasantly surprised by the feedback the apps received.

 

How long did it take you to create each app? What kind of work goes into creating them?

The apps all use the same coding, so besides some minor graphics design work, I can just focus on building up the database behind the application. That is however a very time intensive task, for each game you have to check if it was actually released, was it a prototype, were there any variants of the game and so on.

The actual time needed to create an app depends on the console/handheld’s library of games, for example compiling the Playstation 1 database took allot longer than getting the Game & Watch app ready.

For each new app release, I do like to add some new features as well, which then get backported to the already existing apps later on. Even after the release of an app you have to take into account the time needed to do some fine-tuning.

 

How many downloads has the series of apps received total?

Much more than I ever could have imagined! Over 20,000 right now. I’m very happy knowing that there are so many people out there who use the apps to maintain their collection.

 

What does your personal video game collection consist of?

Actually a little bit of everything. My library consists mostly out of a NES and Sega Game Gear collection, but I also have some SNES, N64, Master System and Genesis games. Around 150 games in total, but that’s relatively small compared to our users. I know that some even have a nearly complete NES set cataloged using the apps.

 

The video game line is missing various older consoles such as the Playstation 2, XBOX, Sega Saturn, Sega Dreamcast and Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. Do you have plans to develop apps for these (or other consoles) soon? 

Currently a Game Boy / Game Boy Color app is on it’s way, there’s still allot of work to be done but I do hope to get this one ready soon. The aim is to get every console included, the ones you mentioned are among the most frequently requested so those are all definitely on the big to-do list!

 

How should users of your video game apps expect the apps to change over the next few years?

There will be more interactivity between users: discussing games, rating them and a platform for trading/selling games. Besides that,  the database behind the apps will be expanded to include more information such as accessories, region information, release dates and so on.

 

What advice would you give to someone who has an idea for an app but doesn’t know where to begin?

If you have any programming experience, give it a shot building it yourself. Apple has released some great tools that can assist in building an app. Write down all the things you want your app to do, start with the easy ones and work your way up to the more challenging parts.

 

This interview was conducted for an article that was later published with Yahoo! Voices.