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Alex Malek and Will Bradley are living the iPhone fairy tale life. The co-founders of the two-person game development studio Springy have garnered more than 15 million downloads and 200 million unique sessions for their releases without spending any money on marketing or raising money from investors.
And now, Seattle-based Springy is taking on Zynga’s Words with Friends with Wordplay, a “faster, sexier, and more strategic social word game with a Tetris-style gravity twist,” said Springy’s press release. The game makes the standard Scrabble formula feel “agonizingly slow,” it explained further. As you can tell from Malek’s and Bradley’s marketing words, these guys have chutzpah.
If only out of the curiosity, whether a two-person team can continue to churn out multimillion-download hits over time is worth paying attention to. According to mobile analytics firm Flurry, indie developers account for 56 percent of game sessions on iOS and Android, compared with 44 percent for established companies.
In Wordplay, the twist is that players aren’t limited to connecting existing words on the board. Rather, they can play multiple words in any free spaces. Letters fall Tetris-like, putting a priority on speed.
“Wordplay is more dynamic and more engaging than traditional Scrabble and other crossword puzzle games currently on the market,” said Malek, co-founder of Spring. “We wanted to create a game that appeals to people who enjoy word games but strive for faster gameplay and deeper strategy.”
Malek and Bradley were seasoned engineers at Microsoft who created a game called FaceGoo in their spare time. The app was so successful that they quit their day jobs. The duo formed their company in 2009 with the goal of creating handcrafted games and toys. They followed FaceGoo with FatGoo, and they say they are “very profitable.” Competing games include Words With Friends, Scrabble, W.E.L.D.E.R., SpellTower, and Tetris.