GamesBeat

Fruit Ninja developer Halfbrick explains why it’s getting into publishing

Above: Halfbrick's Fruit Ninja was a major hit for the company.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

Gaming on smartphones and tablets is a huge market, but it’s also getting crowded with software. To compete, some developers are turning to publishing.

That’s what Fruit Ninja studio Halfbrick is doing. The company had one of the biggest early hits on iOS and Android with its arcade-style fruit-slicing game, and now it wants to share its expertise with other developers as part of a publishing deal. The company is already teaming up with developer Enfeel to release its match-three puzzler Birzzle Fever on Apple’s and Google’s mobile operating systems. This will enable Halfbrick to continue making money from mobile games without having to spend all of its resources developing the next big thing.

“The mobile market is more competitive by the day, and we are fortunate to be in a position where we can drive continued success for ourselves by investing in high quality original games and marketing in-house,” Halfbrick chief marketing officer Phil Larsen told GamesBeat. “That’s where we aim to drive the growth of our core business — but we have room for more.”

Larsen says that it doesn’t make sense for Halfbrick to bring on hundreds of people to make a new game. His team would rather use its reserves to help fund good ideas from smaller studios.

“That’s where we can work with other developers and publish their games under the Halfbrick brand,” he said.

To ensure the best for the games it publishes, Halfbrick will provide regular feedback to its partner studios. That includes analysis from its designers, artists, and programmers. The publisher will also help devise a global marketing campaign for its games.

While Halfbrick is getting into the third-party publishing space, that doesn’t mean it is looking for submissions from every studio on Earth.

“We will only publish as much as we can dedicate our time for, and pick the best projects for our culture,” said Larsen. “If that only means we publish two games per year, great. If it gets to the point where we are taking on too many games, we will either scale back or grow the publishing team to accommodate.”

Halfbrick isn’t the first mobile studio to move into publishing. Zynga, Pocket Gems, and Dragonplay have all made similar shifts.


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