By Lisa Boch-Andersen, Senior Director for Communications Europe, Microsoft Europe
Hill Climb Racing has racked up impressive download figures, with more than 200 million downloads of the game on iOS, Android, Windows 8 and Windows Phone. What’s more, Fingersoft, its creators, won ‘App of the Year’ at the Finnish App Awards competition in April for the game, receiving a prize package that included PR and marketing support, and personal coaching to accelerate their business.
Fingersoft began as a small independent game studio in Finland and rapidly expanded to a team of 11 software and gaming developers, and a company with staggering revenue of 15 million euros in 2013. We spoke to Jarkko Paalanen from Fingersoft to learn more about their successful business journey and why they love developing on the Windows platform.
Question: Hill Climb Racing has proven really popular across different software platforms and has been available on Windows since 2013. Jarkko, why did you develop the game for Windows?
Answer: There were several factors, but the most important reason was that a lot of people kept asking us to make Hill Climb Racing available on Windows devices. The Microsoft Finland development team was also really supportive while we were developing the game and helped us with the initial marketing campaign.
Q: Hill Climb Racing went straight to the top of the Windows and Windows Phone store charts in several markets. What is the secret to the game’s success?
A: I think that we’ve been successful because Hill Climb Racing is playable on lower-end handsets and mobile devices. It has easy-to-use controls and ‘wacky physics modelling’, which quickly engage first-time players. And once you’re into the game, there are challenging levels to keep you hooked! To keep our players excited, we regularly update the game by introducing new vehicles, levels and challenges. And it has been a great success! Hill Climb Racing now has four million downloads on Windows 8 and seven million on Windows Phone.
Q: Can you please tell us more about the success you’ve seen with in-app purchases?
A: In-app purchases work really well in the Windows ecosystem. The platform offers a consistent purchasing experience for Windows users and keeps personal information secure, which gives people greater peace of mind. Windows users also seem to enjoy the application more, compared to other platforms like Android.
Q: What has Windows allowed you do with the game that hasn’t been possible on other platforms?
A: What makes Windows devices so special is the ‘Tiles’ on the Start screen. Rather than constantly bombarding fans with news, we can simply update the ‘Hill Climb Racing’ tile with information like the highest scores so far.
Q: You recently launched Fail Hard, another exciting game on Windows. What has developing an app for the Windows platform been like?
A: Fail Hard was developed by an indie studio called Viima Games and is based on Unity, a video game development tool, which has great cross-platform support for all major mobile operating systems. We’re really happy that we could get the game up and running so quickly on the Windows platform.
Q: What advice do you have for other developers?
A: Never give up, fail fast if you have to, and try and try again. Bear in mind that games are about people having fun and experiencing new things and that commercial success will come when you channel your passion into your creations!
Q: What are your future plans?
A: We will continue to publish great games from other independent studios and keep developing our own titles as well. At some point, we also plan to create an improved version of ‘Hill Climb Racing’ where we can introduce new features based on our fans’ feedback.
Want to try Hill Climb Racing on the Windows Store? It’s free!