The creator of Apollo for Reddit has moved onto smaller and weirder things

A screenshot of widgets from Pixel Pals.

Christian Selig may not be working on Apollo for Reddit anymore, but it seems he’s doing just fine. Since shutting down Apollo because of the potential costs of Reddit’s usage-based API pricing, Selig has poured his energy into Pixel Pals, a widget-focused app that takes advantage of many iOS features in some surprising and delightful ways. According to Selig, the app is proving to be lucrative, too.

Selig launched Pixel Pals in September 2022 as a feature in Apollo to have some fun with the then-new Dynamic Island feature let little pixelated animals hang out on your Dynamic Island while you were browsing Reddit in the app. He quickly built more Pixel Pals features and broke Pixel Pals out into its own app in October 2022. He released a big 2.0 update on September 21st that added things like a widget spinner and full-fledged games.

As an example of what Pixel Pals is now capable of, look no further than Language Pal, a language-learning widget that just launched for free. With Language Pal, you can practice vocabulary across 10 different languages (including, hilariously, “Canadian”) through a guessing game widget right on your homescreen.

Language Pal is just one of many widgets you can pick from. There are more traditional widgets like calendars, clocks, and battery percentages. You can care for the cute pixel animals as part of a Tamagotchi-like virtual pet game. I’ve been impressed by the other games — you can play a full version of 2048 as a widget, though it is a little finicky. And there are more widgets in the works, too; Selig tells The Verge he hopes to release a trivia widget (“Trivia Pal”) by October 27th.

Pixel Pals is free, and you don’t have to pay a dime to be able to use the vast majority of what the app offers. However, there are a few ways Selig makes money from it, including an an option to pay real money for virtual food for your pixel friends and a premium subscription ($1.99 per month or $14.99 per year) that gives you access to things like more pixel animals.

Pixel Pals has been a big success for Selig, and he says it was even before Apollo shut down. “Pixel Pals does weirdly well,” Selig tells The Verge. “Even when Apollo was in its heyday, Pixel Pals was about 40 percent of my overall revenue, and it’s only gone up from there now that I’ve had more time to focus on it.” He says he could see Pixel Pals approaching $1 million in annual recurring revenue by the end of the year, “which would definitely exceed Apollo.”

You can download Pixel Pals from the App Store right now.


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