The Year in Yodo1: Our Highlights in Chinese Mobile Gaming for 2012
As 2012 winds down, I’m chuffed to announce that Yodo1 now has over 8 million Chinese gamers playing our games — pretty great progress, since we only launched our first games on the 28th of July at ChinaJoy. It’s been a wild and fun ride since then, and as we head toward 2013, I wanted to share some of my favorite milestones from the year that was:
- One year ago, in late December 2011, our small team of less than 10 people moved into our first office, located in a government-funded incubator building in Beijing’s Chaoyang district. With over 2,500 square foot of space, we felt there was plenty of room for growth! Over the next few months, we hunkered down to build Yodo1’s core platform technologies and prepare our first mobile games for launch on the Chinese market.
- In June we announced we’d raised $2 million in seed funding from investors led by ChangYou Fund, with a goal of expanding our gaming platform adoption by Western games studios and making a big splash with our first titles in the Chinese market. (Read about it here on TechCrunch.) Meanwhile, our team was growing like wildfire and as our employee count shot past 60 people, our 2,500 square foot office started feeling much less spacious.
- On the 28th of July, we proudly published the first game that was powered by the Yodo1 platform — the Chinese edition of Hero Academy, which we rolled out at the China Joy game conference, complete with cosplay characters, and Robot Entertainment CEO Patrick Hudson, who flew from Texas to Shanghai to help promote our game to the Chinese media.
- In August I got to contribute a guest post on the great game developer site Gamasutra, explaining “The 5 things every mobile game developer should know about Chinese players”. (I published my second Gamasutra guest post in September, by the way, writing about “How Hero Academy went big in China“.)
- In September, we got a lot of coverage in the gaming and tech press, particularly over our partnership announcement with HandyGames. Pocket Gamer stopped by and did this interview with me during a hot Summer day in Beijing:
- In October, just two months and six days after launching our first game in China, we gained over 3 million active users. We were over 90 people now and staff meetings had to be held in the building lobby, in the outdoors patio, and the incubator cafeteria.
- In November we passed 5 million user mark, and announced nine new developer partners — read the coverage by Josh Ong for The Next Web. Also that month, a group of us descended on GDC Shanghai, and got to meet a bunch of excellent indie mobile developers we’ve admired for years.
Right around this time, our friends at Kabam told me they were vacating their 8,000 square foot office and moving into Zynga Beijing’s old digs. Within 3 days of the Kabam folks vacating the office, we had repainted the walls to Yodo1 green, wired the networks and moved into our new home in downtown Beijing.
- In early December, we gained our first number one chart topper in China — XMG’s Powder Monkeys, which reached the top of Apple China’s Top Free Apps chart just two weeks after launching. (Read about the game’s wild ride up and down the chart on our blog.) We also launched the Chinese version of Ski Safari from Defiant Development, which has topped the iOS charts for the last ten days of 2012, with over 1 million downloads.
As I said at the start, we closed out December with 8 million players across our dozens of games, and are set to blow past 10 million before Chinese New Year’s in February. (Almost exactly a year after we basically got started.) And a company we launched with under a dozen folks in a small office at the start of 2012 now has over 100 employees in two rooms that take up half a highrise floor.
What comes next? Quite a lot, actually: New partnership and platform announcements, a few more secrets we’re dying to share, and coming very soon, a couple March trips to the US — South by Southwest in Austin (3/8-12), and GDC in San Francisco (3/25-29).
Keep checking this blog and our Twitter feed for updates, and see you in 2013!