“This is a game where developers level up,” Nokia says in a promo video for the program.
The whole system sounds very meta, since it’s a gamification of the development process itself. Is there a badge for building a badge into an app?
DVLUP is currently in a private beta for developers in the US and Canada. Interested developers can submit their email address to apply for a registration code.
Developers will win badges, earn experience points and level up as they build apps and complete challenges. Points can then be redeemed for rewards like a Lumia 920 or a gift card. Oddly enough, DVLUP arrives as Nokia is phasing out its free developer programs and focusing on its premium offering, which costs $99 per year.
With Android and iOS attracting most of the attention from developers, smaller ecosystems are getting creative in their efforts to attract app makers. In fact, Research In Motion launched a similar program last week with a prize structure including money, devices and tickets to the Game Developers Conference next year.
Nokia is fighting to recover its once dominant position in the mobile market. It sold just 6.3 million smartphones last quarter, down 63 percent year over year. Of those, just 2.9 million were Lumia devices.
Lumia designs and hardware get a fair amount of praise, but the most common obstacle for consumers seems to be the lack of apps in comparison to other platforms. DVLUP could help pick up developer momentum, but I’m skeptical. As far as prizes go, money’s a pretty powerful motivator, and right now, the money is elsewhere.
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