Mobile chameleons: Splitforce expands to Unity to help game developers A/B test their wares

By Nathaniel Mott , written on November 26, 2013

From The News Desk

Companies can learn a lot by testing their products before releasing them to the general public, like Google did when it experimented with 41 shades of blue to determine which led to the most clicks on its search results page.

Hold on, let me try that again.

Publications can better game their traffic by experimenting with a variety of headlines and publishing them to different sections of their homepage, social media accounts, or directories. That's what BuzzFeed did in its headline-less post asking "What exactly are headlines for, on the Internet?"

Which lede is more likely to make you read the rest of this post? If it's the first one, I'll tell you that Splitforce is today announcing that it has brought its A/B testing service to the Unity game development platform. If it's the second, I'll tell you that Splitforce is using its A/B testing service to help game developers change and test different aspects of their games to create an ever-changing app with features that vary from person to person. (If it's neither, I'll just link you to the /r/dadjokes subreddit and let you find your jollies somewhere else.)

The news is the same either way: Splitforce has built official support for the Unity game engine into its A/B testing service, allowing it to help developers test different versions of their games on mobile devices. It's an expansion of the service, founded in June, that might allow Splitforce to differentiate itself in the growing mobile A/B testing market.

“I think that iOS and Android as platforms obviously have consumer — and to some degree investor and supplier — mindshare," says Splitforce co-founder Zac Aghion. "But the Unity community is to some degree being overlooked, which is significant because there are over 2 million developers registered on Unity and using this platform to build games.”

Splitforce previously supported Unity with its service only through a modified version of its iOS tool that allowed Unity developers to communicate with the tool and update on the fly. The expansion being announced today is instead completely native to Unity, removing what Aghion calls an unnecessary step from game developers' attempts to test different versions of their games.

The service itself is relatively simple in theory, if not in practice. Developers build the service into their apps or games; they identify aspects of the apps, which can be anything from a game's level design to the message displayed when someone wishes to buy an in-app purchase; then they use Splitforce to change those aspects of the app based on users' language, location, or other identifiers.

Put another way: Splitforce turns mobile games and apps into technological chameleons that change in response to external stimuli. Much like a chameleon -- and the BuzzFeed post with a dizzying number of headlines -- developers are able to establish a foundation that allows an app to function when it can't reach that stimulus.

Focusing on Unity developers is meant to help Splitforce reach one of the app industry's most lucrative segments. Aghion says that the company is actively pursuing a partnership with Unity China, which could supplement the natural growth it's experienced since its founding in June. (The company's service is said to be built into over 100 apps used by people in more than 150 countries.) It will continue to develop its iOS and Android solutions, but much of its hope lies in its focus on game developers, and many of them are using Unity.

[Featured image courtesy "lezumbalaberenjena"