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The success of hypercasual games is being measured in hundreds of millions or billions of downloads. And that’s why we’re focusing on Freeplay, a Belarus-based game studio in Minsk, Belarus.
Since December 2019, Freeplay has had over 420 million downloads of its hyperacusual games, including Join Clash (developed by Freeplay and published by Supersonic Games), Count Masters and Fidget Toys Trading 3D.
Freeplay is growing rapidly and supports a team of dozens of developers who are testing new hypercasual game ideas every few weeks, CEO AVJ Sidorov said in an interview with Gamesbeat.
Join Clash, which debuted in December 2019, and this year it has 135 million downloads and 280 million. Count Masters has had over 100 million downloads since March, and Fidget Trader has just crossed the 40 million mark. Those numbers are good enough to put games in the top 10 most downloaded titles during the last few months of last year. In August, Fidget Trading was the most downloaded game, according to AppMagic. Games often fly themselves into viral fashion, and they earn revenue through advertising.
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Other companies that have found success in hyperacusual games include Voodoo, Homa Games, Ducky, Rolic (owned by Zinga), Segams, Azure Games and Supersonic Games. It is not surprising that some of these companies, such as Freeplay, are located in Eastern Europe. The Games Fund estimates that there are more than 5,000 game studios in Eastern Europe, and the fund is concentrating its investments in that area. Minsk itself owns many successful game companies such as Wargaming and Playrix. There is political turmoil in Belarus, but Sidorov said it did not disrupt the company at all.
And companies like Nexters, which have just gone public, are also focusing on buying companies in Eastern Europe.
Sidorov and his game developer friends started the studio a few years ago. He worked in mobile apps for years and switched to Game Studio in 2016. The early studios were not successful. They experimented with different approaches, different games and different genres. Then, in August 2019, he started focusing on hyperacusual sports and raised some angel funds. They experimented for a while and formed teams in both Belarus and Moscow. Sidorov enjoyed keeping the team small.
Launched in December 2019, their first project was Connection Clash. Supersonic games released it and helped it grow. Join Clash has 280 million downloads so far. Freeplay self-published his second hit, Count Masters.
“This was the first step in understanding how we can make something bigger,” Sidorov said. “We realized we could make some great mobile games. We made a lot of mistakes, figured out how to promote games, and learned how to make games. ”
The company now has more than 52 in-house workers, a combination of developers and marketers. A team of three people comes up with the prototype, and then it goes through the test. The duration of the test lasts about three weeks. If that doesn’t happen, the team moves on to a new idea. If it works, the freeplay can add up to 10 people to a team.
“We focus on the quality of the experience,” Sidorov said. “We are constantly watching the trends and trying to stick to the top position in the market.”
To come up with three big games, the company brainstormed through something like 15 to 20 ideas.
Over time, the company hopes to expand its presence in genres such as midcore games, which have hardcore themes but can be played in shorter sessions. The company hopes to acquire another studio and hire more people to work on its own projects.
“We put all our souls into making games, and that’s the key to our success,” Sidorov said. “We really love what we do.”
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