UK firm is opening new London development studio to ramp up its iOS and Android roadmap to capitalise on early success.
UK games publisher NaturalMotion is opening a new development studio in London, to capitalise on its recent success with iOS games Backbreaker 2 and Jenga.
It was some success, too. "Backbreaker 2 and Jenga grossed $1m in their first month alone," CEO Torsten Reil tells ME. "We’re also seeing great long term sales with Backbreaker 1, which bodes very well."
NaturalMotion released the original Backbreaker Football game for iPhone in September 2009, and its success led to the launch of the dedicated digital division NaturalMotion Games in November 2010.
Jenga and Backbreaker 2: Vengeance were both released in December, developed in-house by NaturalMotion's Oxfordshire studio. That team is now at "full capacity", hence the decision to open up in London.
"London is home to some amazing creative talent, whether it’s design, art or development. We’ve been extremely happy with the quality of our first key hires, which we will reveal soon," says Reil.
NaturalMotion is weighing up the merits of own-IP games with branded titles for iOS and Android, and Reil says for now it is keeping an open mind.
"Our main focus will be on original IP rather than licensed brands, with a particular focus on socially connected games," he says. "Having said that, we’re having great success with Jenga on iOS, so we’ll always carefully look at similar opportunities in the future if there’s a good fit."
Reil stresses that NaturalMotion is trying to build its own-IP titles into longer term franchises, which includes a strong commitment to updates and new content.
"The release of a game is only the first step; each team is set up to support the title post-release for months and years," he says. "In fact, I expect to see many of the major innovations for each game to be released post-launch."
NaturalMotion also plans to continue experimenting with in-game advertising and sponsorship, following a successful partnership with KFC in the Backbreaker games. "We’re on our second campaign, and it's turning out to be a very effective way to reach and engage a huge audience," says Reil.
"It’s important to us that the sponsorship feels like a natural extension of the game, not an intrusion. We believe there are huge opportunities ahead in this area."