Cie Games speeds to the top of the charts with Racing Rivals on iOS [Interview]

Image via Cie Games
Image via Cie Games

Car Town developer Cie Games has found fast success with its newest mobile game, Racing Rivals, which sped onto iOS at the end of August. The drag racing game allows players to race against live opponents around the world, unlocking licensed cars from BMW, Acura, Mitsubishi and more as they continue to compete.

Gameplay in Racing Rivals sees players tapping on the screen to shift as they make their way down a single stretch of track. Players can use their earned currency to purchase tons of upgrades for their car(s), including some in categories most other car games ignore, including connecting rods and engine headers, to name a few.

Within the first week of launch, Racing Rivals was downloaded over one million times on iOS devices. We recently had a chance to chat with Cie Games VP of Business Development Matt Nutt about Racing Rivals, how the company responded to such fast success, and why the game really stands out above the competition.

Inside Mobile Apps: Racing Rivals isn’t the first successful “car game” in Cie Games’ library. What has Cie learned from its experience with Car Town and Car Town Streets that has been brought over into the world of Racing Rivals?

Matt Nutt: We have been making car-themed games for 12 years now. Our first two games were both drag racing games on the PC. We know there is a big overlap between car enthusiasts and gamers, and that community really appreciates an authentic experience when it comes to cars. For example, in Racing Rivals, we are very thoughtful about the cars we put into the game. Not every car makes sense or feels authentic in the world of drag racing. We have also added body kits to our cars in Racing Rivals, which is a first in this genre because we know car fans want to personalize their cars with more than paint and stickers.

IMA: How aggressively did you promote Racing Rivals to players of your existing games like Car Town?

MN: We definitely wanted to make sure our 7 million plus fans of Car Town knew about the launch of Racing Rivals. We promoted Racing Rivals in Car Town through the integration of a mini-game called Adventures. Upon completion, players are rewarded with Racing Rivals branded cars as well as a code for currency in Racing Rivals. For Car Town Streets, we ran a racing event for Racing Rivals and debuted its video trailer in the Car Town Streets movie theater.

Image via Cie Games
Image via Cie Games

IMA: How receptive are existing players to cross-promotions for new games (like Racing Rivals), in your experience?

MN: The players seemed very receptive to the cross-promotions! One of the strengths of Cie Games is the way we integrate our promotions as part of the gameplay experience. We are able to promote branding without making a player feel like they are sitting through advertising.

IMA: Was the “1 million” downloads mark something you thought Racing Rivals would hit this quickly? What was the reaction like within the team when the number was reached within just one week?

MN: We are thrilled to hit the 1 million milestone in just a few days after launch, and it validated our belief that we have created a game that is resonating with racing fans. Car Town has had more than 65 million installs so we have high expectations for Racing Rivals, and we are expecting big numbers in the weeks ahead.

IMA: Racing Rivals isn’t alone in the drag racing genre. In fact, multiple games have come out on mobile and on Facebook with similar gameplay recently. Why do you think the genre has suddenly become so hot among gamers?

MN: We have known drag racing games were a hot commodity for a long time, and we always planned to bring our expertise in this genre to mobile. Our 1320 Legends title launched five years ago is still going strong today with no marketing because of the passionate, dedicated community who continues to support the game. 1320 Legends had drag racers battling for territory on a city map long before CSR Racing launched in the App Store. It also has live, synchronous multiplayer racing, detailed mod and tune options, the ability to race for in-game currency and pink slips, and peer-to-peer trading. We knew these big differentiators would resonate with drag racing game fans so we were excited to bring those features into Racing Rivals.

Image via Cie Games
Image via Cie Games

IMA: With so many similar games currently available on the market, what is Racing Rivals doing differently to ensure it stays on top?

MN: We have differentiated from other games in this genre right out of the gate, and fans are rewarding us by making Racing Rivals the #1 racing game in the App Store. We have raised the bar on similar games with things like live, synchronous multiplayer racing, betting for pink slips and more. Take multiplayer for example – a lot of racing games fake multiplayer with players racing “ghosts,” or rather other player’s data stored in the cloud. It may look like another player in the game, but no one is sitting on the other side of the world with a device in their hands at that moment. That immediacy of racing someone in real-time, talking smack and putting your money where your mouth is by betting in-game currency or pink slips – that’s a special experience, we think.

IMA: What’s the plan for Racing Rivals going forward? Will it comes to other platforms, in addition to iOS?

MN: We have seen the numerous requests from our community to launch Racing Rivals on Android. To those players, we hear you, and we are working on it!

IMA: Anything else you’d like to add?

MN: We’re thrilled with the response we’ve seen so far for Racing Rivals. We have some exciting new features that we’re rolling out in the coming weeks that we can’t wait for our fans to experience.

Racing Rivals is now available to download for free on iOS. You can track the game’s growth on AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.