We continue our series of interviews with developers and game industry experts. We were able to talk to amazing Riley Andersen, CEO at Umami Games. She shared her company’s successes, how Umami Games was formed, and commented on the future of hyper-casual games.
Hi, Riley! Could you tell us about how it started, how did you get into the industry?
We are 3 founders in Umami Games. Mads always loved games and sold his first flash game at age 14. Lars worked 6 years in a bank before he quit to make his own games. Riley and Mads worked together at Tactile before Riley quit to make another game studio. In early 2019 we all met at a pub where we chatted about what vision we had for Umami. We bootstrapped for 1 year before we got any salaries, but today we can look back at 2021 where we entertained more than 11 million people.
Why did you decide to develop your own games? What game/idea has inspired you?
I quit my master in rethorics because it was super boring. Then I saw The indie movie on Netflix and thought – why not – if you can make money on games that seems a lot more fun than old greek texts about speeches and philosophy
Let’s talk about Umami Games, where are you located? What is the size of the studio? What is your focus now?
We are 7 people now and we are located in Copenhagen, Denmark. Our focus is split between making great games and building a data-structure that supports the development of games. On the game side our goal this year is to focus on fewer genres of games, so we can become experts on monetization within that genre. On the data side we are building and testing our data-structure so we can self-publish games in the future.
Could you tell us about projects of Umami Games?
We are trying to structure our design process so we are more aware of how to mix and match inputs, mechanics, monetisation etc.
We are also expanding our studio, so we have more skills within creatives, monetisation and UA.
What are the results in 2021 of your company? What are the key milestones?
11 million downloads
ABC game #1st of US App store
We build a data-lake so we can accurately track all game, revenue and cost events.
We build a dashboard that makes game development easier and saves us time
What key news or events in 2021 would you highlight in a gaming market. And what they were in the next year?
Our 3-person team made a game which reached #1st US app store
We expanded our team and are able to create higher quality and more prototypes
In 2022 you can expect us to start self-publishing games.
What 3 advice could you give to people who dream about developing their own game or opening a studio. What advice would you give to beginners?
Start prototyping. Better to start today than tomorrow. It takes a lot of practice so I will get started straight away 🙂 A good advice could be to be a team of 2-3 people where you work well together and are good at different aspects of game development.
Go to a publisher’s website and send your prototype to them. They will help you get it tested and then you are started.
And remember to have fun! 🙂
What are your top 5 favorite games?
Hyper Cards, Overcooked, My little Universe, Project Makeover, Hearthstone
Riley, thanks for the interesting interview!
You can check out the company’s games on the official Umami Games website.
Read the rest of the interview on our site
- Interview with Julia Zolotarenko, CEO of HitBerry Games
- Interview with Anil Yanik, game designer at Mangorama Studio
- Interview with Abhishek Malpani, CEO at Funcell Games
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