App-titude for games
Qeue Games, founded by four Western students, has quickly found success with more than 12 million downloads.
It was just over a year ago when Aidan Sabourin was sitting dockside at a family cottage throwing a bottle and trying to land it upright or on its cap. He’d just watched videos of the latest YouTube craze: bottle flipping. And it dawned on him how perfectly addictive a bottle flipping mobile game would be. So the 21-year-old teamed up with three Western engineering students — Justin Lam, 23, Danny Loo, 22, and Armin Gurdic, 23 — and together they produced Bottle Flip 2K16. “When we were making the game, we knew it was a great idea,” says Lam. “But we were expecting a thousand downloads, maybe a few thousand downloads. And then it turned into one million and that turned into 10 million. It totally exploded.” After the rapid success of Bottle Flip 2K16, the engineering students knew they had an epic opportunity on their hands. However, they had no idea how to leverage their app’s success. That’s when a mutual friend suggested they check out Western University’s Propel Entrepreneurship Centre. With the support of business mentors, the team officially founded their mobile gaming company, Qeue Games, in December. They’ve found a solid niche creating mobile games based on popular trends. Their latest game, Fidget Spin, which was released in May, is a simple and addictive game based on popular children’s toy, The Fidget Spinner. “We spend a lot of time online doing research on big sites like Google Trends, YouTube and Reddit searching for the next big thing. We follow those every single day to see what’s starting to trend,” says Gurdic. When they sniff out a trend they believe will take off, the Qeue team can create a game in less than 10 days, using framework they developed last spring. “It’s very hard to market a mobile game without having a ridiculous amount of money,” says Gurdic. “So we kind of rely on the organic trend traffic to our game.” Bottle Flip 2K16 has been downloaded more than 12 million times worldwide. It has been the No.1 app in 12 countries and No.1 game in 16. The company’s main source of revenue is banner and video ads that appear along the bottom of its free games. The team says its most popular user demographics are teens and children. However, their data shows a spike of users in their 40s and 50s. They believe the spikes are probably due to parents entertaining their kids with their iPhones. “Kids seem to be obsessed,” Sabourin says. Long term, the Qeue team would like to support other app developers in marketing their mobile games and one day they hope to be bought out by a big-name gaming company. But for now, Lam says, “We just want to keep making No. 1 games.”