Say what you want about mobile games, but they can reach a non-gaming audience like nothing else. A lot of people have smartphones, and a lot of people love to play fun little time wasters. It’s somehow hard to believe, but mobile Match-3 games, a puzzle genre made popular by Bejeweled and Candy Crush Saga, are still big business for Belgian mobile game publisher SmileyGamer.
Starting out as a flash games portal in 2007, self-employed online and mobile game developer Jochen De Schepper started the company in 2016. He runs it out of the comfort of his own home, together with his wife. The games are developed by Ukranian developer CharStudio and Andorra based CheesecakeGames and published by SmileyGamer on the App Store and Google Play Store.
Being free to play, the games use a traditional recipe of advertisements and in-app purchases to generate income. However, there’s no time mechanics such as lives or cooldowns, so players can keep enjoying the game without bugging their Facebook friends. The games come in different flavours and are often themed around events like Christmas, Easter, or Valentine’s Day.
Sure, this is nowhere near Apple Arcade, but for some people it doesn’t have to be. The main audience of SmileyGamer games are women and older people. De Schepper says they often receive messages from grandparents who play together with their grandkids, or less mobile people who are thankful they can wither away time with these games. And when you see a user review complaining that level 2222 is a bit too hard, you simply know that Annie is hooked on her game.
SmileyGamer is always interested in hearing from Belgian studios with ideas that could fit their portfolio. You can reach out to them here. Who knows, it’s a Match 3 made in heaven?