J-Lo promotes 'finger break-dance' app game
Time to get your rhinestone glove on and let your fingers do the walking -- or dancing in this case.
The Hollywood-backed app Dance Pad makes its debut Thursday on the iPad, with pop icon Jennifer Lopez as its cheerleader.
The title, a rhythm dance game for smartphones, involves hitting the right beats with your fingers, much like the popular dance game Dance Dance Revolution (where you actually dance with your feet).
The app, originally the brainchild of several USC students who were inspired by finger break-dancing videos on YouTube, has the benefit of star power. Besides J-Lo's massive fame, the app's promo video features break-dancing crew Jabbawockeez of America's Best Dance Crew fame.
Dance Pad is the first app to come from Moonshark, a Hollywood-backed app publisher that wants to usher Hollywood into the new era of gaming with original content created with celebrities.
Moonshark CEO Matt Kozlov said he sees Dance Pad as an app that can garner the same kind of cult following that DDR has inspired. DDR fans run tournaments and hold exhibitions of their skill on the arcade machine.
"We want to create a community where people dress up (their hands) and film themselves dancing and post it to YouTube, post to Facebook," he said, adding that the company plans to do promotions to encourage the sharing of videos. App users who participate would be able to win a meeting with some of the artists featured on the app, which doesn't include Lopez, yet.
Kozlov said the company is still working on including her songs in the future, but for now, he's happy to have her as a partner for DancePad.
"Jennifer loved the game, we love Jennifer -- she's an icon in music, dance, and popular culture," Kozlov said.
The app will include 30 different bands and artists, including The Bangerz, retro soul singer Mayer Hawthorne, throw-back rock band Vintage Trouble, and DJ-singer Blaqstarr.
Started in 2011, Moonshark came from the Creative Artists Agency's incubator program (the same program produced comedy video site Funny or Die), and seems to be a reflection of Hollywood's readiness to get into the mobile entertainment business. The company is also backed by Qualcomm.
Kozlov said mobile apps are a ripe medium for content creators because they take less time to develop and produce and there's a large audience thanks to the rise of smartphones.
"You can develop a great game in six months and you can reach a lot of people," he said.
He pointed to successful franchises like Rovio's Angry Birds -- which has merchandise and has long-form content in the making -- and Draw Something, which is about to be a TV show.
"We think there are lots of different types of content that would work in mobile," Kozlov said. "We're really excited about the potential for creativity in this space for all genres."
Other projects Moonshark is embarking on include stars of all kinds -- comedians, comic book creators, and directors.
Moonshark is working with John Woo, who has directed films like "Face/Off" and "Mission: Impossible 2" to create an action adventure game, and with YouTube star Philip DeFranco to create a "charming photo app that is really funny."