For as long as Android Market’s top grossing list has existed (which is only a few months), it’s been dominated by Paradise Island, an app from an obscure studio named Cooper Media Group.
While Cooper Media is just the label, the company behind it — Moscow’s Game Insight — is far more interesting.
Run by five Russian women, Game Insight has built out a veritable army of developers with 11 gaming studios scattered across the country and other former Soviet bloc countries. At its #1 ranking for Android Market’s top-grossing app (which excludes advertising revenue), the company says it makes a little over $1 million per month on that title alone after the platform’s cut.
“It’s our inside joke. We are five women who manage 300 male engineers,” said Darya Trushkina, the company’s business development manager. “It happened by accident and we just realized that there were all women in the room. But it’s worked out really well.”
Game Insight was founded two years ago by Alisa Chumachenko, a former top marketing executive at Astrum Online Entertainment, a massive multiplayer online gaming company that merged with Russia’s Mail.ru two years ago. Coincidentally, Astrum was funded by Facebook and Zynga-backer DST.
After leaving, she started and bootstrapped Game Insight with the ambition of building a big social gaming company. They have 17 titles across 25 different social networks. The company’s gaming revenue splits with 30 percent from iOS, 30 percent from Android, 30 percent from Facebook and the rest from Russian social networking sites.
And even though mobile holds a promising potential growth curve, Game Insight is trying to balance between all three platforms.
“We’re a very young company and we want to grow big,” Trushkina said. “We’re not going to be one of those companies that prioritizes social over mobile or mobile over social.” Game Insight plans to have about 10 titles on iOS and 11 titles on Android out by year-end.
It’s launching another new title on Android today, a city-builder called My Country. While city builders are common on Facebook and iOS, it’s still a relatively unsaturated genre on Android. And it’s a category that Game Insight is pretty familiar with designing, considering the company’s other titles like Rock the Vegas, a city-builder set in Las Vegas, and Paradise Island, where players build a dream resort. In My Country, players build up local industry and transport, manage power, and make the city hospitable to residents with trees, lakes and parks.
It will be interesting to see whether Game Insight can score another hit. Rivals like Storm8, Glu and Com2Us have all quickly amassed a slew of top-grossing titles on the Android platform. Trushkina said Paradise Island’s audience was accumulated mostly organically, not through paid channels like ads or incentivized installs.