How to succeed without listening to anyone around, or the secrets of Simogo

Today, two of the only employees and founders of the Swedish indie gaming studio Simogo distinguished themselves at the GDC Europe held in Cologne. The guys shared their opinions on how to succeed by doing what you like and not listening to anyone around.

Simon Flesser and Magnus ‘Gordon’ Gardeback, known in the App Store as Simogo, made a presentation in Cologne today on “How to succeed without listening to anyone around” (“Success through not doing what everyone tells you to do”).

Of course, you can talk about what success is for a long time. “From our point of view, success, first of all, means a long life of the product, while a large profit can be part of it, but this is an optional criterion,” Flesser said.

Anyway, Simogo can be considered successful in terms of downloads and sales: Bumpy Road was bought 170,000 times, and Beat Sneak Bandit – 80,000 times (both games were released on iOS).

“Be careful not to become hostages of your own success,” Flesser said. “Our achievements can be considered average, and this gives us creative freedom.”

Be different from the restKosmo Spin, the company’s first game, can be called a typical casual game.

It was sold at a price of 99 cents, weighed less than 20 MB, had a simple gameplay and was constantly updated. But, according to Flesser, this project did not give any exhaust (for connoisseurs of the English language: in the original he expressed himself “A fart in space” – approx. editorial offices).

Creating Beat Sneak Bandit, Simogo trusted their own instincts and chose a different approach. As a result, the game turned out to have a “musical” gameplay, i.e. it is basically impossible to play it without sound, and even with it, it is impossible to call a simple game for sure.

Like all Simogo projects, Beat Sneak Bandit was made on Unity, despite the fact that it created certain problems. “There was no FMOD API support in the engine, which did not allow for automatic control of music and sounds, so we had to work with the code,” commented Gardebeck.

Unrestrained freedom
Speaking about the “monetary” side of success, Flesser said that making a profit was not their main goal.

“We didn’t make Bumpy Road 2, although she would have made a lot of money with ease.”

Gardeback confirmed his words: “We don’t use analytics, we don’t even think about what needs to be changed in order to earn more – we’d rather spend time creating new games than studying charts.”

Another important decision was the pricing policy – Beat Sneak Bandit was sold at a price of $2.99. “I think it was necessary to make the price higher, because the product turned out to be more niche than we expected,” Flesser commented.

“We don’t use cross-promos. It’s a cheap trick. And we don’t like the use of advertising in games. We have not made a single update – we have nothing to add to the product that we have created. We have never planned and are not going to plan sales. Because we respect those who play our games.”

Multiplatform – no!

And the last point, all Simogo games are only available on iOS.

“We’ve been asked to port everything to Android, but we’d rather spend time on new projects,” Gardeback explained.

The position of the developers is interesting and deserves respect, what can I say here. But I just want to ask what they don’t talk about: if money doesn’t matter so much to them, then why not distribute their games for free?

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