Papukaya Brings the Joy of Gaming to New Audiences
Hello world, we are Papukaya. A new mobile games studio aspiring to make long-lasting and meaningful game experiences for new audiences. In this blog I, the CEO & Co-founder of Papukaya, dive into why Papukaya was founded in the first place, what challenges Papukaya aims to solve and what new perspectives it’s bringing to the industry.
Mobile games are driving tremendous growth in the gaming market by bringing in new audiences — a long-time trend that is hardly surprising for gaming professionals.
I moved to Finland from Brazil back in 2006 to join a leading mobile game company, Digital Chocolate, as a Game Designer. Back then, it was already easy (and exciting) to see how technological advancements rapidly boosted the quality of mobile games and how increasing access to mobile devices lowered the barrier for just about anyone to play games. And this was even before the first iPhone came out!
The triumph of mobile games attracting new audiences hasn’t stopped to this day. Currently, mobile gamers’ gender is now evenly split (53 % females) and gaming is not exclusive to youngsters (58 % are adults above 25 years). Just a few examples! The most important point is: many of them don’t identify as gamers. It’s more of a question of behavior than simple demographics.
Finally, only 10 % of time spent on mobile devices are on games. It’s clear that there’s a massive opportunity for the mobile games market to keep growing, and tapping into underserved audiences will continue to play a big role in that growth. It’s crucial to understand that these audiences are not niche. They are the new mainstream. Now we as the gaming industry need to step up our game, and recognize their value.
“It’s crucial to understand that these audiences are not niche. They are the new mainstream.”
There are many great games going unmade
While there has been a lot of progress in the variety of games on offer for broader audiences, it feels like we, as an industry, still have a lot to learn and room to explore.
Why so? We believe there’s a mismatch between the diversity of mobile gamers, and the ones who are actually making the games. That affects what kinds of ideas are born and get traction. As a result: we believe there are great games not being made! And that is why tapping into new audiences is a holistic but rewarding challenge — it requires us to rethink the definition of games, how they are made and who makes them.
With Papukaya we have both the opportunity and ambition to make games that reach and appeal to underserved audiences, as well as build a team, environment and culture that supports our mission from the ground up.
We are in business because everyone should have games they enjoy
The vision for Papukaya was born out of a combination of a passion for games and people.
I’ve been in the gaming industry for 17 years, mostly in mobile and casual game companies such as Digital Chocolate, Rovio, Wooga & most recently Supercell. My 8-year journey at Supercell started as the Game Lead for Hay Day, right after its launch, and included various new game projects. My last project, however, was leading the founding of a new kind of coding school, Hive Helsinki, where students of diverse backgrounds learn to code and innovate together. This recent experience, combined with my long-time passion for making everyone play games inspired me to start a company that focuses on untapped audiences by leveraging diverse talent and fostering fresh ideas.
I was looking for a co-founder with the same drive and values as well as a strong technical skill set. Luckily enough after a month, I came across my to-be-co-founder Johannes, a product-minded Lead Programmer who shares similar passions and who got excited about the idea of the company. Johannes is a brilliant programmer, who wrote his first lines of code around the same time he learned to read. He has since worked on 20+ indie games that reached millions of players as well as in bigger casual game companies: Rovio (Angry Birds, Angry Birds Friends, Fruit Nibblers) and Seriously (Best Fiends games).
So here we are now, on a joint mission to inspire new audiences to play by making novel game experiences that expand the current definition of gaming. We want to see a world where the definition of games has expanded, they serve everyone and they are consumed by everyone — just like social media, books, or movies.
Our mission is supported by Supercell
And fortunately we are not alone on this journey. We are backed by Supercell, which means we’ve got a longer runway that enables us to think long-term, take bigger risks, and make sure millions of people will see our games.
“We at Supercell are excited to support Papukaya’s mission to bring the joy of gaming to new audiences. Re-thinking what games can be to the larger population that don’t think of themselves as gamers is a massive opportunity. It will also be an interesting journey full of learnings that will require outside-the-box thinking and risk taking. I can’t imagine anyone better suited for the task than Drussila and Johannes, whose unique and extensive experience speaks for itself.”
Ilkka Paananen, CEO of Supercell
The future of gaming lies in the unknown, and that’s where we’re heading
Right now, our foremost goal is to build a diverse and ambitious team to help bring our ideas to life, and reach the hearts of new audiences. Joining us now means a chance to have a big impact on the direction and games we make. We’re currently looking for a Lead Game Artist and a Game Designer. If it’s you or you know the right person, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
But first, let’s celebrate the launch of Papukaya!
Drussila Hollanda is a gaming veteran who is passionate about building games that appeal to new audiences, as well as company cultures that foster creativity and empower people.