Spil Games subset GirlsgoGames today brought its popular “Sara” series of desktop tween games to mobile platforms with Sara’s Cooking Class. We spoke to Spil Games Game Development Director Peter Hofstede about what this means for the company and its new shift towards mobile platforms.
GirlsgoGames is a platform oriented towards tween girls, and it seems to be thriving with that audience. According to Hofstede, the platform is fully localized in 15 different languages and has over 50 million active users (while Spil Games has over 180 million active users). The Sara series is the most popular game on the platform, with over 900 million total gameplays. Hofstede tells us that the series actually has close to 100 games on the web, including those currently in development.
Sara’s Cooking Class is described as an amalgamation of the best aspects the various Sara games in one title. Like its franchise siblings, this is a cooking game where girls prepare food based on recipes and creative cookings. Players can choose from a wide array of recipes to prepare things from sushi to red velvet cake, competing a kitchen timer and then being awarded points and stars at the end of each level.
Pursuing the tween audience may not be the course many developers follow, but GirlsgoGames has had success with it so far. Hofstede tells us many believe tweens don’t monetize well but “We’re not quite ready to believe that.” Instead, Spil Games is experimenting with different monetization techniques and Hofstede says the company is happy with the results it’s seeing so far.
Meanwhile, Spil Games believes tween games are more successful if they allow their players to engage in lifestyle roleplaying, something that tends to resonate with young girls. “One of the things [that helps retain players] is the concept of role play,” he says. “It’s role play in the sense of acting out future scenarios like careers and mundane things like seeing your parents doing around the house.”
Hofstede tells us mobile development has become a very important part of Spil Games’ overall strategy and that Sara’s Cooking Class is the first milestone in the company’s new mobile development plan. “It’s obviously a cooking game, but we see it more as the beginning of a new Spil,” he says.
According to Hofstede, the company is becoming platform agnostic because “users will never give their loyalty to one particular brand or platform.” As a result, Sara’s Cooking Class is simultaneously available for iOS, Android, and Kindle and is localized in seven languages (including localized voice acting).
“We think in order to be successful in one two or three years in all these platforms you need to have lovable game brands that will travel and that people will go to,” he says. “The publisher model that we follow online is different on mobile. It’s more about the content, and less about the distribution platform.”