Getting Started. Seriously
As we begin 2015, it feels like a good time to reflect on the past year, as well as to share some exciting news about additions to our team.
It’s been a little over a year since we started Seriously, and, with audiences spending more and more time consuming content on mobile devices, our strategy is to combine a world class creative team with a mobile first experience to develop brands that can make a difference.
I’m proud of what we have accomplished in a short period of time.
We were lucky to bring together an insanely talented team with experience at companies such as Natural Motion, Rovio, Disney and Remedy.
And we launched our first property — the puzzle adventure ‘Best Fiends’ — which has been critically acclaimed, including being described as ‘the addictive result of a one-night stand between Angry Birds and Candy Crush’, which we liked!
‘Best Fiends’ launched on iOS in October 2014, hotly followed by the Android version of the game for Google Play in December. It’s approachable, and a visually dazzling mix of frustration, fun, strategy and skill. We set out to take the puzzle game genre to a new creative level and challenged ourselves to create a product that had some of the storytelling and audiovisual qualities of a Pixar movie, albeit starting its life as a mobile game.
To do this, led by co-founder and Chief Creative Officer Petri Jarvilehto, we focused on attracting the world’s best creative talent. For instance, we worked with Heitor Pereira (the world class composer of ‘Despicable Me’) to create an anthemic score for the game, and recorded his music with a 68 piece live orchestra.
While our game stands out, we also wanted the marketing to do the same; we have a terrific head of marketing in Philip Hickey who has worked on some amazing campaigns in former roles. And this holiday he pulled together a competitive race between YouTube’s biggest star PewDiePie and some of his friends.
It was a great way to promote ‘Best Fiends’ in an organic way to a mobile audience, and helped us, as part of a wider marketing push, storm past 5,000,000 downloads (trending on the App Store in the process). We are a startup in the early stages of building our company culture, and this also allowed us to do something very positive for some fantastic charitable causes.
As a company we want to do the right thing, and were thrilled with the organic partnership we built with non-profit organziation Malaria No More. Our mosquito character Edward, ashamed of his blood sucking ways, gave up blood (for coconut water), and has become a mascot for Malaria No More who are trying to raise awareness for this preventable disease and eradicate it through mobile.
Doing the right thing extends to our game design principles too. We want to create a free-to-play experience that values players whether they spend in the game or not, as we work to develop our brand over the long-term. We believe we can build a big business on the back of fun, so we prioritized retention and engagement over short-term dollars, and we’ve been pleased with the results.
Retention, retention, retention.
On retention, for players who log into Facebook (enabling people to see how they are faring against friends on our gorgeous 3D map), we’ve been seeing over 70% Day One and over 45% Day Seven retention, which are incredibly high metrics by industry standards.
And as a small company looking to compete for entertainment time, we’ve been thrilled to see that people have been playing ‘Best Fiends’ approximately 300,000 hours every day, with a reach that has quickly grown to more than 900,000 DAUs (daily players). We believe that leaning forward, using the power of touch to play a game on a mobile device, is a personal and powerful way to connect with an audience and build a brand.
It’s early days for us, but we are also excited about the revenue opportunity over the long term too; within 10 weeks of our launch we began generating $50,000 per day, which is an encouraging sign of our potential.
And we were honored that ‘Best Fiends’ was named by the Guardian as one of their top 10 iPhone & iPad apps of 2014.
In all, a great start for a small but talented team of just 13 people!
It’s All About the Team.
We’ve got some incredibly exciting plans for 2015. I would love to share them, but for now I’ll simply say that we are working hard to build on the fun people are having with ‘Best Fiends’ and take the experience to a whole new level!
And to do that, we are excited to be starting the new year by adding some incredibly talented people to our superstar team, who between them have experience from companies including 20th Century Fox, Rovio and Supercell.
- Matt McMahon has joined us as Vice President of Business Development. In his previous role at Fox he worked on top grossing mobile hits from brands such as ‘Family Guy’, ‘Avatar’ and ‘The Simpsons’.
- Mikko Häkkinen joins us as Head of Product from Rovio where he was Head of Studio and producer of ‘Angry Birds Space’ and ‘Angry Birds Star Wars’.
- Mikko Sivulainen has joined as Senior Game Programmer; in his previous role at Rovio he was Lead Programmer on ‘Retry’, an ‘Editor’s Choice’ on the Apple App Store.
- We are also welcoming Senior Game Designer Simo Rajamäki, Operations Manager Hannu Halonen who joins from a smilar role at Supercell, Video Producer Ville Lepistö, Senior QA Coordinator David Häggqvist, and Game Programmers Jonas Nyman and Eero Harmaala.
It’s validating when some of the worlds most talented developers, producers and designers have a shared vision of building the next generation of entertainment brands on mobile first. And we’re looking forward to sharing some of our plans and progress in the coming months, as we’re only just getting started.