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Contxto – Latin America loves video games. According to NewZoo, by the end of 2019 this region’s market share will be worth US$5.6 billion. Likewise, it will continue to grow at a rate of 11 percent year on year. Unsurprisingly, considering their population, the countries generating the most gaming revenue are Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina.
However, it was from the largest of these from which rose a Latin American unicorn for the mobile gaming industry. This, as you might expect, piqued our interest. Just how many hidden gaming startup gems are hidden in Brazil alone?
Read on and find out!
Aquiris (Porto Alegre)
Aquiris is a 12-year-old 3D gaming studio keeps a broad mind and an even broader array of operating platforms. Their team of 80 staff develop games for PC, mobile phone platforms, and traditional gaming consoles so as to reach the largest possible audience. Furthermore, this startup recently gained some notoriety after creating its own tribute to famous racing games of the ’90s like the SNES’s Top Gear and Out Run—Horizon Race Turbo.
Cupcake Entertainment (Porto Alegre)
The realm of casual gaming has become dominant across the world and Cupcake has made a pretty sweet deal of it, specializing in FP2 casual brain puzzle games. They pride themselves on their ambition—“Our long term goal is to be #1 in the WORLD in brain puzzle games”—and on their horizontal corporate makeup—“Everybody in the team has a voice inside the games and the company”—. Whether this sounds a bit sickly sweet to you is beside the point; Playlab bought into the idea and earlier this year invested US$1 million in the company.
Yupi Studios (João Pessoa)
Yupi Studios is the gaming arm of Brazilian, Yupi Devshop. Through it, creative content for mobile devices is made. Among its offerings are apps, games, and corporate solutions for various platforms like iOS and Android. As well as for upcoming ones (Windows Phone 7, Windows 8) and other systems like JavaME and Flash Lite.
Skullfish Studios (São Paulo)
Ah, the Virtual Reality (VR) craze. Any company ready to go toe-to-toe with some big players like Facebook and Google with this fast-developing tech has its work cut out for it. That’s why Skullfish has gone for game development on multiple platforms while trying its hand with augmented reality (AR) as well. This way, the company can hedge its bets with the usual headset VR we imagine, as well as diversifying into immersive but less kit-intensive features since for AR all you need is your smartphone—think Pokemon Go.
SitNPlay Games (Santos)
For this e-sports platform, video games are no game, but a way to earn some extra dough. SitNPlay brings in players from around the world in competitions whose winners can cash-in on their victories for real green through PayPal, Bitcoin or, if they want to continue feeding their gaming addiction, Steam Gift Cards. Nonetheless, the inclusion of real money into the equation calls for some serious security measures. Therefore, this platform is fully automated and equipped with private server hosts that autonomously control each game’s results for maximum fairness.
Wildlife Studios (São Paulo)
The mobile gaming unicorn from Brazil. This startup has world-renowned Zooba under its belt (think Fornite but with cool animals). Other titles include Tennis Clash and Castle Crush. Moreover, Wildlife Studios has over 2 million downloads in games across 115 countries since its 2011 founding and has offices in Brazil, the United States, Argentina, and Ireland. Global gaming at its finest.
VOX Game Studio (Porto Alegre)
For many gamers, high-quality graphics are a must-have and this happens to be a specialty at VOX Game Studio. These gaming developers also focus on using innovative tech such as augmented reality and Oculus Rift. Now one need only check out the teasers for their virtual tennis and football games to appreciate the startup’s fine attention to detail.
Fire Horse Studio (São Paulo)
Founded in early 2012, the heart of Fire Horse Studios is in developing quality games with passion. Their vast line of content covers entertainment, advertising, educational as well as training games for mobile and web platforms. Plus, some of their creations were made for Cartoon Network, including an Adventure Time game!
Double Dash Studios (Rio de Janeiro)
Pop culture is the lifesblood of Double Dash Studios’ creations. One look at their games and viewers understand what a harmonious combination of retro-vibes and modern-day gaming looks like. And it’s all covered with a fine layer of classic, easy to understand gaming mechanics. The team at Double Dash Studios also offers to develop games for third parties.
Oktagon Games (Londrina)
Gaming startups helping other gaming startups and businesses. That’s what Oktagon Games does best. This company aids other gaming developers shoulder the operational costs of creating a game or adding new features once it’s gone live. Since its founding, Oktagon Games has gone onto produce or co-produce 22 titles. Puzzles, ant armies, and dungeons, this startup has seen ‘em all!
Umbu Games (Belo Horizonte)
Video games can and should be fun and educational. For Umbu Games this is possible using a mix of both traditional as well as cutting edge tech like virtual and augmented reality. This startup was also part of the famous GameFounders’ acceleration program and received an investment in 2017.
Behold Studios (Brasilia)
Behold! It’s Behold Studios, the indie gaming startup. Founded in 2009, this team of creative developers has been renowned for its RPG, Knights of Pen & Paper, which brings back the nostalgic and retro beauty of ’90s gaming. Likewise, this startup has the bragging rights of launching Chroma Squad via a Kickstarter campaign. One of its current projects is Out of Space, a co-op multiplayer about living on a—wait for it—spaceship!
Black River Studios (Manaus)
Virtual reality and mobile gaming continue to spread into the industry through Black River Studios. This four-year-old startup focuses on creating games that are high tech, immersive and of course, entertaining to play. Some of its most lauded creations include Jake & Tess’ Finding Monsters Adventure, Rock & Rails, Angest, and Conflict 0.
Flux Games (São Paulo)
This gaming studio is all about working with Intellectual Properties (IP). As of its 2012 founding, the Flux Games team has produced over 70 projects across various platforms. What’s more, through their creations, this team wants to get you “into the flow”, that awesome mental state of happiness only video games can achieve.
Sinergia Studios (São Paulo)
Founded in 1985, Sinergia Studios, was restructured into a startup in 2015 after the arrival of investors. Since then, Sinergia has dedicated itself to creating apps and games for various industries and that use innovative tech like virtual reality. Examples include recreational games like Pocket Kitchen and Vigilante Ranger. In addition, they also offer gaming solutions for enterprises looking to boost productivity and advergames for brand building.
Imgnation Studios (Santa María)
This developer started creating video games in 2010. However, following a project with Samsung and Oculus in 2014, Imgnation pivoted towards specializing in virtual reality gaming. For the team’s efforts, the startup was part of GameFounders’ acceleration program in 2015. The developers at Imgnation look to become the reference point in virtual reality in Latin America.
Pipa Studios (São Paulo)
Startup Pipa‘s focal point is mobile games. Founded in 2012, one of its most prominent creation is Praia (meaning “beach”) Bingo, playable and highly successful on Facebook. In this game, users are transported to a beach where they can partake in multiplayer bingo or try their hand at the game’s virtual slots. But the bottom line for Pipa is to ensure a great social experience between many people across the world.
-ML, AG, SB, CM