In this last episode of the Boomzap Interview Series, it is now time to get to know more about Boomzap. Boomzap is a fast-growing casual game development company which started in 2005. Boomzap is one of those few companies who has virtual office spread across many countries around the world. This interview is being answered by Chris Natsuume and Allan Simonsen; the two founders of Boomzap.
How Boomzap is founded? How did the company started at the beginning?
In 2000 or so, Allan and I used to work for a big game developer in Scotland. We would go to the pub every night after work, drink heavily, and discuss how we would run a company better if we had one. After that, we worked at different jobs for a while, but kept in contact. While I was getting my MBA at the Foster Business school at UW Seattle, a speaker came to talk about how he built and sold a small casual game company. As I listened to the lecture, I thought “Hey, Allan and I could do something like that!” I called up Allan - who was working in Singapore at the time, and within a few months, we were already started working on our first game... and it’s just grown from there.
The biggest advantage is that we can hire the best talent from anywhere - and they don’t have to leave their homes to work for us. We have staff in places as remote as Borneo, Sumatra, Far Eastern Siberia, and the Ukraine. A lot of our staff live in small towns like Solo, Medan, Ipoh, or Kuching - where there are not many (if any) game companies. For them to make games for someone else, they would have to leave their lives, families, and responsibilities behind and move to a larger city. Boomzap makes it possible for them to live their dreams of making games, while still remaining in their homes.
Additionally, the flexible schedule and lack of commute is extremely efficient for people. Many of our staff live in big, congested cities in the developing world - like Manila, Jakarta, and Kuala Lumpur. For many of them, commuting to work would be 2, 3, even 4 hours a day. Often in the back of anunairconditioned bus or jeepney. We give the team all of that time back - that’s 20+ hours a week for some people. And because they are at home, working on a flexible schedule, they have more time to raise children, help their parents, or otherwise deal with family responsibilities. All of this has huge, huge value to the staff, meaning we have incredible staff retention. We can count the number of people who have voluntarily left the company in the last 8 years on one hand - and that means we retain a lot of great experience and talent, and can really invest in training our staff.
Boomzap is one of the most successful developers in the casual games market; what do you think makes you successful?
We’re a very straightforward, focused business. We know our customers very well, and spend a lot of time really trying to understand what they do and don’t like. We have a great relationship with our publishers, Big Fish Games, and they have really helped us learn more about our users. At the end of the day, if you are making what the customers want, and have a partner who can get it to them easily, you’re going to do well.
With the Free to Play and mobile games market growing rapidly. Do you have a plan on expand your company in those market in the future as well?
Absolutely - we have teams working on these initiatives now - and we should have more news about that in the near future!
Do you value gamers’ opinions? And how do you apply those comments into your projects?
Absolutely - they are critical to our success. We actually spend a lot of time in the user forums, looking at their responses not only to our games, but to our competitors games as well. In fact, we even hired a “Resident product Expert” from the forums - someone who was doing walkthroughs, being very active in the forums, and playing these games voraciously. She has been hugely helpful in funneling more and more user opinions to us, and filtering through them to help us make better decisions about what we’re making.
What do you want to say to the readers?
Honestly, Thank You. We’re so grateful that people enjoy our games, and keep buying them. For all of us, game development is a dream job - and we couldn’t do it unless people bought our games. Every time you buy another game, you're feeding developers like us., and enabling us to make more great games in the future. So thank you again, from the bottom of our hearts.
READ OTHER INTERVIEWS IN THE BOOMZAP'S INTERVIEW SERIES...Here!
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