Dots: more than a game

40 million players later, we’re building a company.

Paul Murphy
Oct 23, 2014 · 4 min read

We had little idea what would come of Dots when we launched it 18 months ago. We certainly didn’t think of Dots as a company. It was a game Patrick Moberg built after an inspirational trip he took to Yayoi Kusama’s hometown in Matsumoto, Japan. Four short months later, everyone at betaworks, friends, and families couldn’t put the prototype down.

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A few months and several million players after we launched the game to the public, we started to ask ourselves what Dots could become. An experimental art project? A marketing tool to capture and send people to other products? My conclusion at the time was that Patrick’s creation opened our eyes to a new phenomenon, and that there was an opportunity to use the principles of building a unique, well-designed game to create more games. After a long chat and four or five whiskeys, we knew we had to go for it. We approached John Borthwick the next morning, and the beauty of the betaworks model came to life. We had the capital and resources we needed to start building out our team in less than a day. Our first full time hire gave notice to his current employer that week.

While there is no shortage of amazing games and game studios, our view has been that there was, and still is, a pretty big gap. Core and mid-core game studios are bringing their experiences to mobile, delighting users. Casual games capture a portion of the market on mobile, but leave many feeling left out, cheated into spending money, or tricked into clicking on a mobile ad. Everyone we talk to wants something more from them.

This gap exists at such an incredible moment, with billions more people set to join the smartphone population in the coming years and looking to be entertained with games. Just like in the1940's with the Television industry, we believe the coming years will yield some of the world’s largest entertainment companies — rooted in gaming.

Our mission as a company is pretty simple: build unique games with thoughtful design.

To us, that mission means we want to build original games that feel new and different, prompting curious interactions and behaviors. We want them to have a visual and audio aesthetic that satisfies and attracts spectators. When you put our games down, we hope you’ll have a sense of longing that keeps you coming back. We believe this mission enables us to build an entertainment brand that endures, and of course, one that is financially very successful. When you buy something, large or small, it feels fair, and you do so without any remorse.

As of today, we’ve had over 40 million people play our games around the world, and our adoption is growing faster than ever. We reached more new players in the first month of our second game, TwoDots, than in the entire first year of Dots. Many of our players are in the Americas and Western Europe, but TwoDots reached number one in over 70 countries worldwide when it launched, and we have some updates in the coming months which will give us a much stronger presence across Eastern Europe and Asia.

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More impressive than our player stats is our team. Over the past year we’ve hand-selected 20 of the most talented people we’ve met and asked them to join us. Several packed their bags in days and flew to NY. Others are waiting patiently outside the US for their visas, working harder than ever.

As we approached the 40-million-players mark a few months ago, we decided it was time to differentiate our company from our games. We believe Dots is more than our first game, and wanted to create a brand that reflects that. Our designer Jak Horner created an identity that we feel perfectly captures our mission, and today we’re rebranding our studio accordingly. Jak wanted the logo to both represent the core idea of the brand — unique and thoughtfully designed gaming — as well as a company that connects people, ideas and skills.

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The letterforms are inspired by Charles Eames shapes and a nod toward a mid-century-modern look. The colors are playful yet current, giving the brand a distinctive look that is reminiscent of the first ‘Dots’ game.

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The logo was designed to be flexible enough to take on the identity of each game.

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Our company logo incorporating elements from each of our games.

To learn more about what we’re building, head over to our new website at www.weplaydots.com, or, better yet, play one of our games.

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