Studio Spotlight: Treasure Hunt

CEO Kyle Smiths tells Develop about the future of the Boomie Blast developer and the secrets hidden in the server room. 

Tell us about your company, for those not familiar with you.

TreasureHunt is a games studio in Berlin. Our mission is to be the leader in mobile multiplayer games for all audiences. Think of the kind of experience someone who likes a Pixar movie or Nintendo game would enjoy.

What experience does the team have? How is this shaping the games you’re making?
Our team is stacked with experience and talent. At just under 20 people, we have leadership from EA, Zynga, Rovio, Kabam, King and way more. With that said we recruit quality talent over experience, but it’s great if you can get both.

You launched the game quietly without much marketing. Why did you adopt this strategy?
This was early days for TreasureHunt before we had the resources we have now – it was a lot of tinkering and testing different channels and methods. Our next game will have a much more concerted marketing effort.

What did you learn from this launch that will help improve your next games?
Know your audience. Early on with our current game in development we undertook a significant amount of research, strategy development and user testing. We wanted to make something we knew we’d be well suited to develop and feel certain that this is something players want as well. We’re deeply familiar with who we’re making our current game for and every decision is for their benefit. 

What are you working on now? What’s the priority?
We’re focused on a mobile game we plan on releasing early next year. We’re taking a top 10 genre everyone loves on mobile and injecting some very needed and meaningful innovations. We’re pushing the quality bar quite a bit, as well.

How can you stand out in the increasingly competitive mobile space?
Wrapping your core gameplay around a specific unmet player need and learning from other high usage apps to drive in-app growth, therefore not relying on traditional marketing spend.

We do some pretty old-school research and strategy development to find the right opportunities, then solidify that opportunity as the core of our game during design. Pick a spot you think you can be competitive in, bust your butt to win there, then grow out. Make a game a group of players have been waiting for.

We also focus on player usage. Look at any of the major app markets right now and there isn’t a single game in the top 10 for usage. So what can we learn from messaging, shopping and map apps that will create commitment in our mobile games?

Then, of course, it’s a matter of putting the best team together and creating a game to the highest quality that you can possibly muster within your constraints. 

Are you planning to expand/ recruit at all? If so, what are you looking for?
We’re a Unity studio so if you’re on the design, art or coding side that’s a big requirement. We have a few pillars we look for in folks: People that want to challenge themselves every day, are eager to learn and teach their colleagues in equal measure, have a built in high quality bar and own a problem to the finish line no matter the hurdles.

What are your goals/priorities for next year?
We have three priorities in 2017. The dev team is totally focused on releasing our next game early next year which we’re really looking forward to. Secondly, I’m looking for partners to help us achieve our exciting and ambitious mission. And of course, recruiting the best talent in the industry to be a part of accomplishing our goals is a constant for us.

Tell us something no one knows about your company.
Once, late at night, I placed several Mario coin stickers throughout the studio. I don’t think everyone has found the one in the server room… unless they read this. ? 

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