Wonderspark

Hi, there. We're a small game developer in Oakland, CA. Our goal is to make charming social games that are unlike anything you've seen before. A little funny, a little weird, and hopefully a lot engaging. "A lot of people do that!" you might say, and you might be right (though I think there are a lot fewer folks trying to do this than there should be). What makes us different - genuinely different - than most places:

  • We value working in a sustainable environment. That is, we don't crunch. Sure, we love what we do, and often that bleeds out into the non-work day. But as a team, we never, and *will* never expect people to "crunch" to meet a deadline. Sounds crazy, but we have years of experience doing exactly that, and the positive benefits to the team are immeasurable.
  • We want the entire team to be invested in the game. Our philosophy is one of collaborative creation. Everyone who works on the game will have some of their perspective in the end result. This is not a team that is managed top-down. It is bottom-up. Leadership & management (when we really get to a point where the team is a bit larger!) is a service position, not a power position.
  • We value our players. A lot of "Free-to-Play" games are about trying to squeeze as much $$ out of their players as possible. They can get nasty and exploitative and terrible. That's not what we're here for, and if it ever gets to a point where that is the only sustainable path forward for us, that's not what we want to do with our lives. It's a little "inside baseball" maybe to talk about, but we see monetization as a collaborative effort between us and the people who play our games. You spend money, we keep going. That's how it works. As a result, we have to do our best to deliver something you *want* to buy, not something you feel like you *have* to buy. We want our relationships with players to last for years, if not decades. You can't get that by exploiting people. You have to give them something they love.

Sounds fluffy, perhaps, but after working in the game industry for the last 14 years, these are some of the things that I used to think all game companies would strive for, but they don't. Many, many, many "successful" game companies in recent years haven't been built by people who love games, they've been built by people who love money, and it shows. Most of the way that service-built games (what's traditionally known as "Free-to-Play", but the problem is they're not free at all) have been designed is traceable back to Zynga's original playbook for their explosive growth... on Facebook... that completely fizzled and died. So it's time to try something new, something different. To not accept that for a game-that-is-a-service only 1-3% of people will ever want to spend money. Our perspective is that if we do things right, 100% of our players will want to support the continued development of the game because we'll give them something they passionately love. Again, it's weird to talk about monetization, but the simple fact is that games are a business, and we'd rather be up front about it than try to say it's not an issue. It is an issue - these days, the need to build sustainable revenue is a huge part of game design, and if we're not talking about it, we're not being honest.

 

We're a little ways away from having anything in your hands, but what we're working on is unlike anything you've played before. Keep an eye out here, and we'll continue to post bits and bobs about our continued development, the team, and what we're making.

 

Thanks for stopping by!