Zopte, the company that launched its product at UnPluggd has pivoted (around a year back) to a totally new avatar called CrispyGam.es. Started a year ago, the company has launched 10 games on iOS platform, out of which two games became #1 and #2 in “Top Free Apps” category in Japan.
Founder, Harsh Jain has ambitious plans to scale up CrispyGames and below is a candid QnA with him.
Pi: What product attributes led to the apps being a hit in Japan?
Harsh: No secret sauce here. I have always been a big fan of localization and targeting global markets. Something I picked up from my time at Google. So when we launched our games, we did them simultaneously in English/Chinese/Japanese. And not just description/name, the entire game including graphics. All the translation was done by real humans and we did considerable research for the names. Consistent improvements lead us into top Charts. And it’s not just Japan, we have done well in China too, compared to US. While we are off top-charts, if you still search for “Air Hockey” in China/Japan we are in top 5 (out of 100s). Even in US we are in top 15. Also there is no big correlation between rankings in the countries. Apple does it independently. Reviews/Ratings for one country doesn’t get counted (even shown) in other countries.
Pi: Frankly, Zynga (and similar big gaming cos) have built a much deeper connect with casual gamers (and products are much deeper) than most of the other cos. What sort of games do you guys plan to get into?
Harsh: We are getting deeper. We have already made big push into Casino Games. A category we want to dominate over next few years. We are also in early stages of building strategy based MMORPGs. Instead of doing niche games, we believe in taking on the popular titles and do better than the 99% of the existing games. This has worked well for us, as people search for popular titles more and we become discoverable. We are also innovating the whole process of building games and have internal frameworks/libraries that help us move significantly faster.
Pi: Future plans?
Harsh: Keep scaling and move really fast. It took us 3-4 months to launch our first physics game, where we launched 3 multiplayer games (Poker, Slots, Blackjack) and many updates to existing games over last 2 months. We also hired 2 people to help us quickly port our games to Android/Flash and we hope to start launching in a month.
We are going to keep doing this and don’t plan to get into anything else. We love what we are doing and there is instant gratification. Over 2 Million games downloaded over last year. We are profitable, and have cash for one year runway. It’s going to be a slow company and I am confident the tipping point will come.