One year ago, three students with little money, busted computers and an incomplete university degree started their own video game company. Now, one year and two games later, Tree Men Games have grown into a succesful and independent company working full time on updates and sequels.
Tree Men Games have two games on their resume, Picnic Rumble and PAKO, where the former is responsible for most of the companys income. As is quite unusual for a Finnish game studio, PAKO is a premium game
“Most of the revenue is coming from the paid iOS version, and that monetisation is quite easy,” Jussi Pullinen, producer at Tree Men Games explains.
He continues to elaborate on how they had little trouble selling PAKO as a premium title and how their biggest challenge was finding the right price. “Only thing was to lower the price from 1.99 to 0.99 which worked for us way better. I guess that is the only thing – that we should have started from 0.99 from the beginning so probably we would have been on top10 lists bit longer.”.
The game got by with little marketing, and mostly made it on quality and word of mouth. Now the game has been seen on youtube shows like the popular PewDiePie, boosting the sales even further.
The company was founded by a couple of friends who met in school:
“We worked together on many school and hobby projects and found out that we have a great team that can make good games and who can probably also handle other stuff like marketing.” Pullinen explain.
“We thought that we should do our own games instead of working for someone else. Our personal interests are more towards indie and paid games and the industry in Finland in quite f2p heavy so that’s one reason too.”
But even though Tree Men Games prefer working with paid games, they have tried working with F2P, though with varied succes.
“With Android free version we have tried few different tactics, like adding reward ads and in game currency so you can unlock new levels and vehicles but that have not made a big difference.”Pullinen says.
He continues to explain how this lack of succes working with F2P might stem from the companys lack of experience.
“We are not that familiar with designing a F2P game and our games have been made as paid games, so we would rather use most of our time updating the game with new content or making a new game instead of using that time for tweaking the monetisation,” Pullinen elaborates.
The company is currently working on a sequel for PAKO and further updates to keep the game active and to help the series grown even further. There’s little time for new projects at the moment, Tree Man Games have been working on a shooter for a while, which had to be put on ice for the time being due to time constraints.
Pullinen advices developers to keep working on a variety of different prototypes:
“Make sure you have more than one good prototype in your backpocket. Also have lots of time too as doing a company full-time really takes all the time you have, especially in the beginning,” he says and continues: