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How Devsisters became an international company in the Cookie Run universe

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Devsisters With the power of the Cookie Run franchise, we have grown into a global company with more than 400 employees. The Korean company has been downloaded more than 70 million times in multiple Cookie Run games so far and wants to create a long-term global brand based on this series.

Devsisters It started in Seoul in 2007 as a mobile app publisher (also known as) led by Lee Ji Hoon, Kim Se Jun, and Ryu Min Woo. In 2009, after making a few false starts with the app, the surge in iPhone sales allowed us to step into a game using the mobile title OvenBreak, which generated 20 million downloads. It ranked first in 20 countries.

“Before we became a game company, we wanted to work with developers around the world to build a successful network,” says Kim. “My goal was to build relationships with developers around the world, so I came up with the name Devsisters.”

In 2010, the company raised funds from Com2Us and then from SoftBank Ventures and MVP Capital. Kim Jeong Hoon joined as Co-CEO of Devsisters in 2011, and that year the company expanded from 10 employees to 52 people. In 2013, the company launched Cookie Run on KakaoTalk mobile messaging service. The game took off and was launched with Line Mobile Messaging Service, further boosting it. Cookie Run has been downloaded more than 30 million times, ranking first in total sales on Google Play.

Above: Kim Jeong Hoon is the co-CEO of Devsisters, the maker of Cookie Run: Kingdom.

Image Credit: Devsisters

With this success, the company was launched in South Korea in September 2014 and expanded its presence in markets such as Taiwan, Japan and Thailand.

According to Kim, the company has been on a roller coaster since its release. In 2016, we launched Cookie Run: Oven Break. The focus is divided into two directions: growing Cookie Run’s intellectual property into different genres such as puzzles and social role-playing games, and creating original titles.

There are challenges in globalization. The company has invested heavily in technology and staff. Over the past year, sales were up 89% to $ 64.5 million, but the company reported an operating loss of $ 5.6 million and a net loss of $ 7.8 million. The loss was less than in the last few years. The latest title, Cookie Run: Kingdom, has taken over four years to develop.

Devsisters prioritizes gameplay and R & D, with less emphasis on monetization. But Kim said he believes he needs to invest in acquiring users outside of South Korea’s core market and build partnerships with other companies that can support profitable growth. The company’s overall downloads have exceeded 140 million downloads. The game is free to play and is monetized via microtransactions.

Above: Devsisters Cookie Run: Oven Break released in 2016.

Image Credit: Devsisters

“Players spend to speed up the building process by getting crystals and coins,” Kim said. “One of the keys to monetization is a pricing strategy for millennials by allowing players to enjoy the game regardless of the amount of in-app purchases.”

During the pandemic, the company has been remote-controlled, but many workers have already done so for years. The company has eight studios, each with about 50 staff. One of the 50-member team runs the Cookie Run: OvenBreak game as a live service, and more than 50 others are working on the newly released Cookie Run: Kingdom. It has been downloaded over 6 million times. Building on its success, the team is focused on live operations and is actively considering doubling or trebling the size of the studio.

Cookie Run: In Kingdom, Devsisters has further developed the story of a magnificent civilization composed of cookies. It’s about the five strongest cookies in the land that mysteriously disappear in battle and leave the world to destroy the world. The main mascot of the series, Ginger Brave, wakes up and escapes in the witch’s kitchen. They set out on a quest to rebuild a once glorious civilization. You need to build bases, add buildings, expand land, and level up cookies.

Asked why the cookie run lasted so long, Kim said: Genz is interested in topics such as mental health and overcoming challenges. Ovenbreak’s original message was to help Gingerbrave escape from the oven. This story resonated with those who wanted to escape and overcome their own difficulties. “

Currently, the game has over 100 cookies as characters. According to Kim, each player can find one or two that they can relate to.

“And like BTS, we’ve been able to form a group of super fans over the years,” Kim said. “We are proud to have users who have been playing our games for years.”

Meanwhile, Kim sheds light on more titles.

Above: Cookie Run: Kingdom is a social RPG.

Image Credit: Devsisters

“In terms of genre, we’re expanding across the map in the hope of creating a unique and trendy game,” he said. “We, like Roblox, track US game trends and their user-generated content very closely.”

The company’s key markets today include the United States, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China. We are also making good progress in Thailand and the European Union. The company employs both in South Korea and abroad, but specifically targets the United States. With the start of vaccination in South Korea, employment and work have become easier. Devsisters considered an acquisition, but Kim said it wasn’t easy.

“Making games is more of an art than science. To develop a game, we need to work with a lot of people,” Kim said. “We are working to increase user acquisition. Sometimes it’s easier to work with a team that’s already built than to start from the bottom. With the right team, especially in the United States. The studio can accept it. “

Devsisters is also aware that Apple will enhance privacy and change the use of personal data from the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). This makes targeted advertising difficult.

“We are watching the changes very carefully, but we are not worried at this point,” Kim said.

We especially employ artists and designers. And over time, the company wants to adopt PC games and cross-platform games.

Regarding the growth of the game industry as a whole, Kim said: While many industries are struggling today, many gaming companies have actually seen revenue growth over the past year. People are at home and consuming more digital content. We feel lucky, but we also feel responsible for creating great and unique games. I would like to take advantage of this luck to create even more unique games in the future. “


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How Devsisters became an international company in the Cookie Run universe How Devsisters became an international company in the Cookie Run universe

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