With the addition of a seasonal, carrot-rocket-firing Santa to its game, Galway games start-up 9th Impact is expecting a surge in downloads of its Danger Mouse app this Christmas.
Since its launch in August the app, based on TV cartoon character Danger Mouse (‘the world’s greatest secret agent’) has, according to 9th Impact chief executive and co-founder Mark Quick, already been played over one million times.
During Christmas week and
especially Christmas day, when new phones and devices are being tried out and gamers have additional time to play, he expects this number to go much higher.
Securing the licence from the producers of the Danger Mouse series has been hugely significant for 9th Impact, which expects turnover to triple to €1.8m by the end of the year.
“The series was rebooted in 2015 and is now watched by global audiences. It has 2. 4m viewers in the UK and is about to go on Netflix in the US,” according to Mr Quick, who said that the company has major plans to develop the Danger Mouse title in the New Year.
One plan is to increase the number of languages of the app from five to 14 and the other, is the launch of a game on Nintendo Switch, this year’s fastest growing console. Although 9th Impact now has eight mobile apps, Mr Quick said this will be its first console game.
During 2018, the company also plans to finalise negotiations to secure a licence to develop a new game based on “ a globally popular TV show,” which 9th Impact is not yet at liberty to reveal.
Set up in 2014, the company started out by developing its own characters and games, but shortly afterwards realised that, in a massively competitive market, they would have a much better chance of success with games based on TV characters which were already well known.
The founders included chief technology officer Finn Krewer, an electronic engineer with a PhD in neuromorphic computing; game artist and designer Fabio Stara, and Mr Quick, who previously founded e-procurement company SourceDogg.
They had created three or four games before they pivoted to developing ones based on TV shows. Securing some funding from the Local
Enterprise Office, they established a new games studio at
Technology Park, searched for suitable candidates, came up with game ideas for them and pitched to the content owners of a few TV shows.
Successful in obtaining the licence for Biker Mice from Mars, a 1990s cartoon about bike riding mice with a fondness for beer and rock‘n’roll, 9th Impact launched a new mobile app in 2015.
The TV series was rebooted in 2006 and, according to Mr Krewer, is continually being rerun in a variety of countries around the world.
“We now have a high level of downloads in Brazil where it’s showing now and has had 10m plays,” he said.
Success with this prompted the founders to plan a second TV character app and they secured a licence for Danger Mouse in 2016.
Launched at Gamescom, Europe’s largest games trade fair, in the summer, the app won this year’s ‘most innovative game’ award.
Fundraising to develop the company this year, 9th Impact raised €500,000 — half from private investors and half from Enterprise Ireland which identified the company as a High Potential Start-Up.
This funding has allowed the company to recruit, bringing its staff size up to seven and also to increase spending on advertising and game development.
In order to keep up the download rate, Mr Krewer said the company is continually updating content, making seasonal changes such as introducing Santa and putting in a snow arena.
The games are free to play and the company earns its revenue from showing advertising in the games as well as through app purchases with prices starting at 99c for extra characters and equipment.
Mr Quick said the company plans to take on an additional five employees at the start of 2018 and to have a team of 14 by the end of next year.
“Our goal for next year is to grow Danger Mouse to 100m plays across
mobile and multiple consoles starting with Nintendo Switch.”