Whale Trail creator may double effort with developing own IP games in 2012

Mills Ustwo: ‘I’d like to spend £1 million on our internal studio’

Ustwo has told Develop that it could see benefit in investing £1 million developing own IP apps – including games – in 2012.

The London design studio, which previously had no experience in game development, recently invested £150,000 and 4,500 man hours in making iOS hit Whale Trail, in a bid to attract the attention of potential customers interested in Ustwo’s prime function as a provider of client-focused apps and other interactive products.

The game, created by Ustwo’s internal studio CWA, has proved a huge success on the App Store critically and commercially.

In the past year, the ten members of the CWA took a £650,000 budget and invested in three titles; apps Nursery Rhymes and Papercut, and game Whale Trail. The money was written off as an investment in increasing the company’s profile, meaning that if the titles flopped commercially, there would be no need for worry at Ustwo.

“If Whale Trail doesn’t do well financially, that’s OK. We’re fine with that," Ustwo co-founder Mills told Develop in a feature published online today looking at the story behind Whale Trail. "But if it does do well financially, next year we’ll spend even more money.

"I’d like to spend a million on the CWA next year, which would mean doubling its size and maybe having 20 people on it. That’s where the innovation lies. Whale Trail might just do pretty well, but if it does ‘millions well’, then potentially I guess we could break that out. I’d love it to blossom into something far more substantial than raising awareness.”

To read the full feature looking at why Ustwo invested £150,000 on a 69p app, click here.

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