The 100 million download club is a prestigious and rare group in mobile gaming. JoyBits, the London-based game company with studios in St. Petersburg, Russia, is joining it today. The company is announcing that it has accumulated more than 100 million downloads for three Doodle series titles since 2010. The universe creation/puzzle games include Doodle God, Doodle Devil, and Doodle Farm, and they’re available in more than 150 countries.
JoyBits chief executive Paul Baldwin, who has an office in San Francisco, said in an interview with GamesBeat that just about all of the 100 million downloads have been organic, with very little formal marketing. That puts JoyBits in a very special group of companies — Electronic Arts, Supercell, Rovio, Gameloft — that have been able to garner a huge worldwide audience for their apps. Fans have played about 38,500 years of game play in the last three years, and the title has more than 150,000 new players a day. If it were a religion, the Doodle series would be the sixth-largest in the world.
Baldwin said the developers scaled up the upcoming Doodle God title’s big sequel with beautiful graphics. In the new game (pictured at top), you play God, like in Doodle God, creating new things in the world using your fingers to mash together hundreds of different elements. But now you can create a variety of things in a world on a global map and then drill down into each location. In effect, Doodle God’s sequel lets players create their own fantasy world with a variety of locations that you can completely customize. Baldwin is hoping that the next installment of Doodle God will set the company on a path for hyper growth in the coming year.
The free-to-play mobile series is aimed at gamers of all ages, but it has a casual slant. It combines fun game play, puzzles, and offbeat humor. It’s not a hardcore simulation game, but it belongs to the genre of creation games. Doodle Devil puts a devilish spin on what you can create, while Doodle Farm is for animal lovers.
“Today marks an awesome achievement by the JoyBits team and is a testament to the quality and global popularity of the Doodle series,” said Anton Rybakov, co-founder and chairman of JoyBits. “We would like to thank our fans worldwide for their support and let them know that more great Doodle games are coming soon.”
The company is working on an update for Doodle Devil and a new title dubbed Doodle Kingdom. Meanwhile, Doodle God has now been published on 20 different platforms.
“As a result of the excellent quality of game play, the Doodle series of apps is experiencing a period of hyper growth,” said Baldwin. “We anticipate tremendous revenue growth and profit growth over the next 18 months, capped by the launch of highly anticipated and completely re-imagined” The Doodle God sequel is coming in 2014.
JoyBits started informally in 2002 as an indie studio in St. Petersburg, Russia. By 2007, it was releasing mobile titles like Cassandra’s Journey. In 2010, growth took off with the debut of Doodle God on iOS. Then it shifted its headquarters to the United Kingdom in an effort to become better known in the U.S. Baldwin, a former console game executive who spent nine years at Eidos, joined the company last fall and became its CEO. Before that, he worked at Outfit7 and Gazillion.
“I wasn’t aware of the company, but the more I learned, the more attractive it became,” he said. “It has a lot of organic downloads because it can cross-sell users to different games.”
The company has about 25 employees now and it has built a multiplatform game publishing engine. For the last three years, the company has been rapidly growing its earnings. Doodle Kingdom will soon debut as a hidden-object game, but the big deal will be Doodle God’s sequel.
“In this game, you’ll build out a full living world,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin said the company isn’t raising money now, but it will have to decide at some point whether it wants to grow organically or bring on more teams to accelerate its production.