Moonshark is apparently not one to rest on its laurels. A week removed from its public launch and the release of its first app — J. Lo-endorsed iPad finger breakdancing game DancePad — the Creative Artists Agency (CAA)- and Qualcomm-backed mobile entertainment studio is announcing its second celebrity-branded mobile app.
Today Moonshark released photo manipulation app Caveface for iOS in partnership with YouTube star Philip DeFranco and app developer Mention Mobile. With the app, users can morph photos of themselves, their friends, their pets – anything with a face – into ridiculous and prehistoric mugs. (Insert quote from “Meet the Parents” — “I have nipples. Can you milk me, Greg?”)
Caveface won’t win any awards for class or intellectual value. What it will do is keep people entertained for hours while offering a clever and smooth UI, and resulting images that can only be described as seriously freakin’ funny. “CaveFace is the definitive party trick,” says Moonshark CEO Matt Kozlov.
“I’ve been using the app myself for weeks to walk up to strangers, take their picture, then turn it back around and say, ‘Haha, you look stupid!’” says DeFranco. (Sounds like the kind of guy you bring home to mother, doesn’t he?) The funny part is, he isn’t joking. The app is just the kind of widely appealing, lowbrow humor that he and the team at Moonshark expect to resonate with his two million plus online fans.
DeFranco looked at a number of game concepts before joining up with Moonshark and finally finding one that he thought his audience would like. Dont be surprised if this audience, which consist of three quarters 13- to 27-year-old males and one quarter 17- to 27-year-old females, jumps right on the Caveface bandwagon.
“Moonshark gets me, my audience, and our sense of humor, which can be a little out there,” he says. “It is great to be able to offer fun, cool things to the people who watch my show, and think it’ll be hilarious to have them submit their ‘cave-faced’ photos and see how they look.”
Unlike DancePad, which was available for free with paid upgrade options, the fun and irreverent Caveface app costs $0.99 in the App Store (available for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch).
Caveface is built with social sharing in mind, incorporating Facebook, Twitter, and email sharing. More amusingly, users can choose to send their cavefaces directly to DeFranco who will in turn feature the most “DeFranco-licious” images on his four times weekly YouTube broadcast and on his website.
Moonshark is a unique type of studio, designed to produce celebrity driven mobile gaming content. Nonetheless, it does not have an internal development team at this stage and instead contracts with independent developers on a project by project basis. For Caveface, it chose Mark Cuban-backed Mention Mobile.
In some cases Moonshark originates an idea, in others the idea comes from the celebrity talent, and in others still it comes from the mobile developer community. In the case of Caveface, the concept was already in the oven at Mention Mobile. Moonshark’s addition of DeFranco and a few design tweaks were the final elements to make this fun idea a likely viral hit.
“Caveface gets a laugh every time you use it,” says Kozlov. “We partnered with Phil on it because he’s brilliant, funny, and perfect for the irreverent nature of Caveface. Combined with Mention Mobile’s smooth, fun Caveman interface, we think the app will be a smash.”
Other apps in the market offer face manipulation. FaceCraze, for example, which I covered previously, allows users to change gender or ethnicity by putting their face on one of 36 stock models within the app. What this and other competitors lack is a built in community, such as the one offered by DeFranco. Therein lays Moonshark’s key competitive advantage.
“The is the biggest challenge with mobile games is typically discoverability,” Kozlov told me previously. “We think we’ll have a huge advantage in that regard.”
In the first 36 hours after launching DancePad, the app was downloaded more than 100,000 times. As of this Monday, less than a week later, it was the No. 2 free game and No. 3 free app overall in the App Store — one spot ahead of Angry Birds.
Kozlov and DeFranco are hoping for similar early success for Caveface. If the app catches on, there are a dozen derivatives that can be launched — Catface or Snakeface anyone?