Developer Spotlight: Kiloo Games, October 2012


November 2, 2012


min read

If you follow the mobile game industry, you?ve heard of Kiloo Games before. It?s the talented studio that brought us Frisbee Forever, Frisbee Forever 2, Bullet Time and a little-known title called Subway Surfers made in co-production with SYBO Games. The small, Denmark-based shop of 40 has apparently cracked the free-to-play code with Subway Surfers, which has amassed more than 35 million downloads, recorded over 2 billion play sessions and is responsible for sucking up 100 million minutes of play time each and every day. Yes, you read that number correctly.

Not only has Kiloo found success on iOS and Android, but it?s also partnered with Chartboost to discover new (and quite large) revenue streams for its titles. We sat down for a chat with Simon Moller, Chief Creative Officer at Kiloo, to discuss their games, the industry and what?s coming next for the studio in the first installment of our monthly Developer Spotlight series.

Chartboost: What do you LOVE about making games?

Simon Moller, CCO, Kiloo: To be able to create experiences for people with real value in their daily lives is incredible. Occasionally, we manage to come up with concepts so compelling that players want to share them with their friends. Fan art is an extension of that. When something is loved to the extent that people add their own creations and help “build” the community around the game, that?s really special.

Making games is a huge challenge. There?s no way to trick consumers. Whether you make a great or a crap product is something you can tell right away. People vote with their wallets, and with their time spent. If no one cares - you’ve made a bad game. That challenge is a huge driver for me personally, and for the team at Kiloo.

Subway Surfers
Finally, I like to be able to work with people that are some of the best in the world and helping them reach their full potential. Having talented team members who care enough about the games to work on incredibly tiny details is just a daily joy. We have millions of daily active users and they appreciate those kinds of small details. We recently spent tons of hours cutting a few seconds off the load time in Subway Surfers and it resonated immediately with the users. It’s very rewarding.

What is the biggest thing you have learned about your users since you started?

They?re not stupid. They won?t just buy anything. It?s sort of obvious, really. When you look at Apple and the way they do stuff. Users care about the little things. They can tell when a game has been made with love and care. When you really try hard and nail the execution, they really appreciate that. They appreciate little quirky animations and details. It?s something we?ve worked on with Subway Surfers, the Frisbee Forever series and Bullet Time.

Like no other time in history, users are also very, very good at spreading the message of the brand themselves. Especially with games. The device is in their hands and it?s incredible how much people talk to each other without knowing each other when they see something that?s cool. The devices connect users - I’m sure there’s a great scientific explanation about tribes, and this is what we see every day.

Bullet Time
What would you say is the one thing that makes your company great?

We?re a small company with just 40 staffers so I wouldn’t call us great - but what gives our company potential is that we care about the product and each other. We try to build a community of communication. When something doesn?t feel right to a team member, there’s an issue for debate. And then we spend hours discussing the color of a button. It’s sort of “Kiloo Law” to care about execution and make sure every issue is addressed.

Why are you working with Chartboost? What is your favorite thing about us?

Chartboost cares. You care about your product and you care about your partners. We originally picked you guys because you used our font in your pitch deck. It?s the little things that really matter and you guys understand that, just as we do.

Of all the companies we?ve seen, you?re the ones who understand what a great user experience is and what quality is. Great user experiences and great products will last, it?s like what Apple has proven. The pureness of Chartboost, it?s just the culture. You can have a great promotion that will do well and you can have a crappy promotion that will do poorly. It?s all about the quality and Chartboost understands this.

Frisbee Forever 2
Can we get a little tease of one of your upcoming products? Something to get people excited.

I can tell you that we are working with world class talent under the Co-Production idea. Subway Surfers was the first to use this model and it was very successful. This model allows us to work with ex-Lionhead people, ex-Radical people and very talented folks from other companies who are just sick and tired of the triple-A style of doing things. To be able to work with these amazing people just blows my mind.

We?re working on six new products right now, but we don’t have any release plans currently. Some of it will launch in 2013 for sure. There?s a lot of crap out there right now that we?ve been able to learn from - especially what not to do. People are going to get fed up with the card and slot games like they did with Zynga?s stuff. We don?t squeeze people for in-app purchases and that increases our retention quite a lot, we don?t want to churn people. We have huge retention rates on Subway Surfers because we treat them nicely.

Next year we?re going to launch games that will look like what you can expect from a console - but fit to the experience of mobile and tablet. Graphical quality is something I feel strongly about, and with the new generation of devices, we’ll have console-power soon. We are positive we can harness that power to create next-gen touchdevice experiences. Hopefully that gives people a small taste of what to expect.

For more, be sure to follow @simonmoeller and @Chartboost on Twitter.