HandyGames About PR, QA, Brands, iPhone and Fishlabs

August 27th, 2009 by Arjan Olsder Posted in Analysis & Editorial, Platforms: iOS, Platforms: J2me | No Comments »

Handygames When we think about Germany, us Dutch think about the war. Though it's probably not for that reason, HandyGames is the first developer we visited that is located in former army barracks.

Needless to say, it's a pretty cool location to be and they even made use of the bomb shelters to house their server farm far from radio interference and to keep their servers cool without paying too much on air conditioning.

After a small tour around the studio, we sat down with one of the HandyGames CEO's; Christopher Kassulke and discussed the state of the market as well as their vision on past and future projects.

One of the things HandyGames is known for, is their Townsmen series that has become a brand on itself. Christopher explained that building a brand in mobile is much more expensive than just acquiring a license on one that has already been created. Yet, it also allows a lot more freedom as you are not stuck to rules set by others on how to use the brand. This means you get a lot of freedom in return. It's also possible to take the Townsmen brand to any other platform out there.

With the Townsmen games, HandyGames received a lot of awards over the past. They are not only effective for convincing consumers, but even more for marketing the games toward the channels. In the end it is the consumer however who shows which game is the real winner.

Christopher also sees that consumers are getting aware who develops the mobile game. This means that hardcore mobile gamers are turning into a fanbase. Check out for example the comments our YouTube video's of Devils & Demons are receiving.

“We still have consumers that try to get information on Townsmen 2. We stopped actively selling the title years ago. The consumer is really showing dedication to the series.” said Christopher Kassulke.

One thing HandyGames is known for, is their marketing. The company mainly launches small but successful marketing attempts toward channels who respond really well to it. For Sturmtrupp Mars, the company had sent out a number of lollies with fried scorpion's inside. Those that sent back a photo of them eating it made even chance to win something. For  Townsmen 2, the company sent out little Townsmen bags filled with yeast seeds and don't forget the famous Poopsy stuffed animals that even landed in stores and where wanted throughout the whole industry.

Another important aspect in mobile gaming is QA or Quality Assurance. The company has a very extensive process in place where they even test various software versions on old handsets to make sure their titles are stable and handle incoming events well.

“All HG titles are tested with hundreds of test cases including the stress test. This means for example hammering on the handset on all keys or the call in test, etc. Close to all our titles are still on Version 1.0 cause we don’t have the chance to offer updates on our normal mobile games like its normal on PC or even on the iPhone. Consumers want quality for their money also if its just some Euros."

With games like Flitzer, Porn Manager and The Great Bible Game out there and the PR in mind, we can safely say that HandyGames is also a controversial player in the industry. The Bible Game was even so successful that a publisher made a deal to take it to the PC. It even has it's own successful community of Fans.

Another great example was Flitzer. The game was released around the time of the World Cup and offered football lovers and haters something different. In a lot of the press, the games where mentioned together with Fifa from EA because they don't compete at any level. Who wants to compete with Fifa anyway? It is a niche market of course, but it offers enough room for creativity to be rewarded.

“Porn Manager 2 is just the name of a great game. Those who play it will see no nudity but still have a great experience and fun. Porn Manager 2 is unique for that. We really develop for the consumer, not the gatekeeper. Cause they pay our bills at the end of the day.”

The Great Bible Game is not the only title that HandyGames licensed out to other developers. They do the same for some of their iPhone titles. The company has a lot of assets and concepts that are available to developers who like to do this for them. They offer them all the help developers might need as well as they want their products to be successful. HG does keep a close tap on the development as they don't want any consumers to be disappointed by the end product. So if there are any iPhone developers (or for other platforms as well) that read this and want to do a game based on what HG has already, they are very welcome.

The reason for HandyGames to stick to mobile for now is because the platform leaves a lot of room to experiment as well. Even if a game is doing less then expected, it will not blow a multi million dollar budget.

“Mobile Games are the bread and butter business

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    Arjan Olsder is the Vice President of Pixalon Studios. Opinions expressed on this publication do not have to represent those of Pixalon Studios.


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