Mobile Development Lessons from Artificial Life Simulations

Artificial life experts Soo Ling Lim and Peter Bentley have published a new study that used simulations to determine which mobile development strategies are the most successful over the long term. For the project, Lim and Bentley considered five types of developers: innovators (those who create brand new apps from scratch), milkers (those who offer lots of variations on a theme), optimizers (those who improve an existing app), copycats (those who copy the best apps) and flexible developers (those who employ a variety of strategies).

Somewhat depressingly, the strategy that performed the best in the simulations was the copycat strategy, but only if less than 10 percent of the apps in the app store were copycats. The “milkers” also did well. By contrast, innovators did the worst on average; however, individual innovators occasionally did exceptionally well.

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