Our special report on the Finnish game industry continues today with a look at one of the country's newest developers, which is creating a socially networked gaming experience right under the nose of Sulake – the huge company behind Habbo Hotel.
Specialty: Social networking
Based in a humble office neighbouring a tattoo parlour, in a secluded courtyard dominated by a huge classic car, it’s hard to imagine you’d find a thriving developer behind Ironstar’s front door.
However, this young team – which chief executive officer Joakim Achrén admits is still in start-up mode – is busy establishing itself with an increasingly popular social gaming world.
MoiPal combines social networking with task management gameplay, and already boasts 200,000 users despite the fact that Ironstar were only formed in 2006.
Although a direct rival to Habbo Hotel, Ironstar has attracted brands such as EMI to create in-game spaces, and has secured several deals with celebrities and musicians that, in Finland at least, are exceedingly popular.
Living in the shadow of the mighty Habbo Hotel of course has its downsides, but Ironstar has managed to make use of sharing the same city as Sulake. “Habbo of course get a lot of the talent as well as a great deal of the market share, and so we’ve even been recruiting from schools, but those people have been great, and have some very good, original ideas.”
Ironstar has implemented an impressive monetisation model, a publically available developer API, and a trophy system – all of which are far more typical of a substantially more sizable and experienced team.