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From losing a job to millions in revenue: How Clap Clap Games began

“Everything felt like it was going wrong" before “everything spiked”, says CEO
From losing a job to millions in revenue: How Clap Clap Games began
  • Clap Clap Games was founded by former Cupcake Entertainment CMO Gabriel Stürmer
  • The studio has developed titles such as Submarine Jump, Build Your Vehicle and Landlord Simulator
  • Clap Clap Games' titles have been downloaded more than 30 million times to date

Hypercasual games developer Clap Clap Games was born out of necessity after the company's founder lost his previous job suddenly. But within just a few years, the studio has generated millions of dollars in revenue.

Speaking at Kwalee’s Gamemasters Summit, Clap Clap Games CEO Gabriel Stürmer discussed the early days of the developer behind hypercasual titles like Submarine Jump and Build Your Vehicle.

Having previously worked at Dell in ecommerce and then Cupcake Entertainment as chief marketing officer, Stürmer said he was suddenly fired from his role and left without a job.

Still keen to work in games, Stürmer said that after reaching out to a few people, he decided to start his own studio. But the early days saw a potential investor fall through and the developer he planned to work leaving.

While Stürmer has years of experience in the industry and working in marketing, he found himself without the knowledge of developing a game and no money.

Undeterred, Stürmer started to learn Unity online, and after just two to three weeks, he had made two games. It wasn’t long before he pitched UK publisher Kwalee with his title Submarine Jump, which ended up getting published and providing the foundation for Clap Clap to build on.

“Everything felt like it was going wrong,” said Stürmer, before noting that then “everything spiked”.

Prototyping to success

The studio, which specialises in both hyper and hybridcasual games, has now worked on numerous titles such as Submarine Jump, Build Your Vehicle and Landlord Simulator.

It’s also worked with leading publishers in the space, such as Kwalee and Voodoo, generating more than 30 million downloads and accumulating millions of dollars.

Stürmer noted that its games published with Kwalee have all had different origins. Submarine Jump - the only game it had during the early days of the studio - got picked up by Kwalee after Stürmer signed up to the company's website. The publisher responded, and after positive early discussions and tests, launched the title globally.

Build Your Vehicle, meanwhile, was the result of 100 prototypes, some of which entered soft launch and were killed off. Stürmer said the team was ultimately led by data, “if the data says keep going, keep going”, and if not, leave it behind. The result was “lots of casualties”, he said.

Build Your Vehicle was ultimately the best performing game out of these and eventually saw a global release.

Landlord Simulator, meanwhile, came after the team slowed down the rate of its prototyping, as it looked for ways to engage players for a longer time than its other hypercasual hits - which are still generating downloads years later.

“It’s really hard to go into global launch,” said Stürmer

“The fact we’ve been able to do it together multiple times, I think it’s a big plus.”