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Papukaya, backed by Supercell, creates mobile games for non-gamers

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Backed by Supercell, Papukaya you are creating mobile games aimed at people who do not consider themselves gamers. And in doing so, Papukaya hopes to redefine the meaning of games for the “general public.”

Last year, Helsinki-based Papukaya raised $ 3.1 million from fellow Finnish game maker Supercell, which generates billions of dollars in revenue from games like Clash of Clans and Clash Royale.

The study was started by Drussila Hollanda (who previously worked at Digital Chocolate, Rovio, Wooga and Supercell) and Johannes
Ahvenniemi (Rovio, seriously). They were joined by lead artist Saara Mäkinen (formerly Rovio).

Hollanda is one of the few people who has worked at Supercell and has gone on to do something else. A 17-year gaming veteran, she hails from Brazil. But he headed to Finland to help Supercell create casual games, initially to work on the casual farming game Hay Day.

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Leaving Supercell

Some of the later games Hollanda worked on didn’t go out the door, as Supercell often kills games that don’t work. And as Supercell’s focus remained on the main games, Hollanda decided to leave to start her own company.

“I really love Supercell and the people that are there,” said Hollanda. “But because my passion has always been casual play and seeing the potential of these new audiences, I wanted to focus on that. Even for 10 years, you could already see how mobile games were attracting so many new audiences. “

As he was leaving, Hollanda presented the idea for the startup to Supercell and they decided to fund it.

“I liked seeing the kinds of games that non-gamers play, and I decided that the way to approach it is not from Supercell, but by starting a company from scratch,” said Hollanda. “I presented this to Supercell and they agreed to give me funding.”

With Supercell’s backing, the studio is creating games for “a largely underserved market,” or for those who don’t identify as gamers. Hollanda said in an interview that the potential for games remains enormous, with only 10% of the time spent on smartphones being spent on games.

Above: Papukaya has a team of three.

Image Credit: Papukaya

To create games that appeal to a wider audience, the studio draws inspiration from other forms of entertainment, such as books, movies, social media apps, or real-life hobbies. For its first game, the studio focuses on engaging players with positive emotions and exploring a
Topics and themes such as relationships and well-being.

“Our industry often sees the gaming market as made up of people who identify themselves as gamers,” said Jaakko Harlas, investment leader at Supercell. “In doing so, we are turning a blind eye to the huge population of non-gamers who would play games, if only there was one company that developed the right kind of games for them. Papukaya has set out to be that company and redefine what people do for fun on their mobile devices. We can’t think of anyone better prepared to take advantage of this opportunity than Papukaya’s exceptionally qualified founding team. “

Papukaya is currently focused on market research, narrowing down his target audience and building his first intellectual property. To fuel its growth, the studio is looking to hire a leading game designer and experienced developers.

The meaning of papukaya

The name Papukaya is based on a Finnish word for parrot. And because Hollanda loved the multiple colors of the parrots and the diversity they represented, she decided to name the company.

“For us, it has been very important for us to try something new,” he said.

The funding will give the company plenty of time to prototype, learn, and perfect its games. And while he’s not revealing the idea for the game, he said it will address universal emotions and positive themes to help people escape and relax. The team has been looking at things like interactive stories and simulation games like The Sims and Animal Crossing.

The company expects to hire 12 to 15 people.

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