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Lightneer: The Finnish mobile game studio crosses 100 million downloads worldwide

CEO shares insight on strategies that transformed the business.

In March 2022, Bazooka Boy, Good Slice, and Hammer Jump from the house of Lightneer made history by being the first games to exceed 100 million downloads. For any gaming studio, this is a huge accomplishment. CEO of Lightneer, Henri Lindgren, and COO Teemu Halminen, who witnessed the shift firsthand, explain the critical aspects of Lightneer’s strategic business and culture transformation.

Lightneer’s shift to hyper and hybrid casual games paved their way

The tale of Lightneer began in 2015. Lightneer pioneered a new way of looking at the world of gaming in 2018 when it began to closely track gaming industry trends and chose to shift its focus to hyper-casual games, which were on a steady increasing trend, after three years of working on ed-games. In 2021, Lightneer slightly reoriented its focus to include not only hyper-casual games but also hybrid casual games. The move towards hybrids was more of a hunch than a solid fact. According to the words of Lightneer’s CEO Henri,

Last year we noticed a trend and a shift in the market towards hybrid casual games. Although it was not yet a mass trend in the world at the time, the risk of this focus was taken and now many game studios are making games specifically for this purpose. It was more of a hunch from a risk perspective, but it paid off

Henri, CEO LIGHTNEER

Henri further adds, “As we now know, all the indicators show us the change of direction looks to be a brilliantly intuitive move and a strong part of Lightneer’s growth story.” 

Lightneer CEO
Henri Lindgren (Image via Lightneer)

Lightneer had its finest year ever in 2021, with revenues of $3 million and a profit of nearly $1 million. According to Henri, the key reason for this success was their teams’ attention to upgrading and optimizing Lightneer’s live games, which contributed to Bazooka Boy and other live games’ extraordinary popularity.

Credit for the 100 million downloads milestone goes entirely to team Lightneer

People at Lightneer work in three-to-four-person teams that are both professional and relaxed. Everyone matters and is critical to the team’s success in a small and concentrated group. There is a sense of belonging, of caring for and assisting one another. In other words, every team should have a supportive and warm culture with a growth-oriented mindset.

When CEO Henri Lindgren took over at the end of 2020, the company began to implement significant cultural changes in addition to business adjustments. Lightneer’s values were developed, and self-directed teams were formed to make everything more people-centric and team-oriented. The most important thing to grasp, according to Henri and Teemu, is that this 100 million download milestone is the result of the Lightneer teams and people. All of the adjustments made to the company’s culture and well-being appear to be bearing fruit now.

Lightneer-team-1024x677
Image via Lightneer

More innovative techniques to boost team spirit, well-being, and efficiency were considered by the organization. To reward active teams, a new Quest structure is now being tested. Each team is given three tasks, which might range from an office meeting to a team dinner to reaching the game’s KPIs. The quests collect achievement points, and when the points are depleted, the team is rewarded, for example, with a Wolt gift card.

The goal of this Quest pilot was to bring teams together first, and then to reward innovation second. Playfulness is one of Lightneer’s core ideals, thus this Quest seemed like a natural fit for us. Lightneer is advancing to the next level as a game company, gamifying its business, prosperity, innovation, and culture. They did, in fact, create their own app for this experiment. Henri paints the future, saying that they are very interested in self-publishing in addition to their existing great partnerships and some plans have already been made. 

What are your thoughts as Lightneer reached the milestone of 100 million downloads for their games? Let us know in the comments below!

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