Kabam releases first Apple Newsstand magazine app in support for its Hobbit game
Free digital magazine promotes its popular game The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth with a simple native digital edition
The San Francisco game company Kabam, which has 16 games inside the Apple App Store (17 inside Google Play) has released its first Apple Newsstand magazine app.
The Hobbit Kingdoms of Middle-earth Magazine is a universal app offering Newsstand customers a simple digital magazine that serves as a companion marketing piece for its popular game of the same name.
Because of this promotion nature, the app and the one digital issue inside are free of charge to access.
“Kabam is proud to be a part of the utterly unique culture that has evolved from the Middle-earth universe,” the digital magazine’s opening column states. “As the anticipation builds for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies this winter, we’re grateful to the millions of players around the world who have made The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth the vibrant, challenging experience it is today.”
When the app opens it immediately hits the reader with a subscription dialog box. Because of this, the reader probably infers that they have to sign up for a subscription to read the digital magazine, but closing out the dialog box takes you to a screen that, while appearing grayed out, actually does allow you in to download the premiere issue.
As you would expect, there are house ads inside the digital issue promoting the company’s games.
As for the games themselves, the company uses a freemium strategy that, while a bit controversial with gamers, appears to work for the developers.
Companies have been producing their own digital magazines as marketing tools almost from the beginning of the launch of the original iPad. The first to do so aggressively were the auto companies who had agencies build them pretty slick interactive magazines.
The first such digital magazine apps was Das, created by Amsterdam-based Readershouse Brand Media for Volkswagen (see June 2010 post here from the original TNM blogspot website). That original app is now long gone, but VW has several customer magazines inside the Apple App Store now – the US version is a native, stand-along app, while the app for Croatia market is a replica.