Swedish incubation company Flamebait Games has sold more than 90.000 copies of the game Passpartout since launching it on June 6, 2017. A quarter of these sales stem from Asia. Mattias Lindblad, CEO of the company, speculates why they have landed on their feet in the Asian market.
In the game Passpartout: The Starving Artist you are just that: A starving artist trying to make a living in the French art scene. You paint your own paintings and try to sell your art to sometimes rude customers who visit your gallery, meanwhile trying to finance your addiction to expensive wine and baguettes.
The quirky indie game might be purely fiction but with 50.000 copies sold within the first month, the team of five Swedes who make up Flamebait Games went from being starving artists themselves to a financially stable game studio.
“The release of Passpartout: The Starving Artist has gone way beyond our expectations. Especially when you’ve read so much about the oversaturation of game titles. Before launch we dreamt of selling 15.000 copies, which felt like a huge number at the time. Now, with 50.000 copies sold, we’re able to keep doing what we love – weird awesome indie games and for that we’re both excited and grateful,” says Mattias Lindblad, CEO of Flamebait Games.
The team originally found each other while studying Game Development at the University of Skövde and in 2015 they decided to create a game company and join one of Game Hub Scandinavia’s incubation environments, The Game Incubator.
Great interest from China and South Korea
Without a publisher who knows how to localize Western games, it can be notoriously hard for outsiders to enter the Asian game markets – especially if you’re an independent studio with little money.
But with Passpartout, Flamebait Games cracked the code.
“Both Korea and China have shown great interest in the game and approximately a quarter of our sales come from Asia,” explains Mattias Lindblad and continues: “We only localized the language so we didn’t alter the gameplay or design at all.”
So what is the secret behind their success in Asia? If he has to answer honestly, Mattias is actually not quite sure.
“Why it became so popular in Korea is still quite a mystery to us and we can only speculate. It could be that they find the satirized European culture interesting and therefore compelled to give it a go. It could also simply be a lucky random occurrence where some popular Korean influencers stumbled upon it during the early development days of Passpartout,” he concludes.