Here we are in 2022 – the games industry is still reeling from the holidays in January, so the new year is off to a prolonged start. HC.games is kicking off this year with a series of interviews with developers and game industry experts. We spoke to the lovely Yuliia Zolotarenko, CEO of HitBerry Games, and we are in a hurry to share the interview with you.
So, what has it all started from? How did you get into the industry?
The creation of HitBerry Games is a deliberate choice. I’ve been heading the HR and COO directions in diverse web and game companies for 12 years. Due to this I do know how to build up a good process and make up teams. So, when my friends advised me to have a look at (HC) projects, I got really excited about the idea.
I wanted to develop and boost my skills as well as to be involved in project creation and completely respond to the results. Gaming industry suits the best. There are many directions in it, as well as many spheres to apply my expertise and gain some knowledge.
The hyper-casual market currently is the best way to start making games and dive deeper not just into the world of consumption, but creation.
Here you can start with a small team and achieve significant results.
The hyper-casual projects are a good way to develop your expertise and moreover, to grow heading bigger and more ambitious projects.
Why did you decide to develop your own games? What game / idea inspired you?
I’m probably not a typical representative of a Hyper casual development company. I have never been an indie developer and wrote only in Pascal while being a student. My decision was to put together a team, developing people, to develop myself.
HK sphere allows you to quickly evaluate the chosen path and results.
The very process of creating a game inspires me. First, we generate the idea, then we create an accurate description and implement it. And then go the incredibly exciting days of waiting for CPI / CTR results. It’s all like a lottery, and I like the feeling of excitement 😀
Let’s discuss your studio, where are you located? What is the size of the studio, what is your focus now?
We are based in Ukraine, most of our employees work in Kiev (Kyiv). We are now 10 people, and we are growing in proportion to the volume of projects.
Now it is important to consolidate our position in the market and build long-term relationships with partners – publishers. Implementation of the game is teamwork for us as a developer and publisher as an expert on the market and trends.
Tell us about your HitBerry Games?
For 8 months we managed to implement 24 prototypes. Fifteen of which can be seen in our portfolio. We worked with 7 different publishers. We are currently working with 4. We have already managed to implement a couple of Idle games and are now actively looking towards NFT. This direction has already created a large niche, and in the next few years, it will actively grow and evolve into a large ecosystem with great opportunities.
Results of 2021 in your company, general milestones?
I put together a team of cool guys. During my work, I see their growth and get inspired by them. We reached stable results in prototype performance – 4 per month. The average time to implement a prototype from scratch to 12 minutes of gameplay takes 10 working days. Compared to our first games, we were able to significantly improve performance. To do this, it was necessary to upgrade our art team, because the requirements for the quality of graphics have grown a lot now, and we succeeded. And the CTR increased from 2.68% to 9.0%.
What key news/events in the gaming market in 2021 would you highlight in the past year?
A key event in the GC market is the skyrocketing performance (CPI, CPC): making a hit has become much more difficult than it was before. The quality bar for GC games has risen significantly, the number of developers has increased dramatically and the number of publishers has also grown and accordingly, the competition for the attention of players has grown.
The ban of the new iOS on tracking ad IDs hit prices for ad purchases even more, and publishers began experimenting with adverts on TikTok, where everything is still not very clear and does not always correlate with Facebook ad rates.
What 3 tips can you give to those who are eager to develop their own game or open a studio, advice to beginners?
Everyone has their own path and it is individual. There is no golden pill here – do it and everything will work out. Someone succeeds immediately, someone needs years. Doing something on your own is always a big risk to spend a lot of time and get nothing. There should be an entrepreneur’s mindset here.
- Tip 1: Get experience with companies that already know how to make games. Without this experience, it will be very difficult to start and it is guaranteed that you will have to step on many different rakes.
- Tip 2: Start Small – Getting big is always easier with small successes than big failures.
- Tip 3: Making games is a big risk: not only is it difficult to make just a good game and bring it to release, but the market itself can simply destroy everything that you put your heart into.
So, if you want to know what will happen tomorrow, go to work “for your uncle”. If you feel the strength to fly in space, look for a planet suitable for life and suffer many failures on the way to your goal, then you are mentally ready for your business!
Your Favourite Top 5 Games?
I have 5 new favourite games every week 😀
Of the latter, I liked Quadline very much. When I moderated a stream at Games Gathering, I met talented guys who implemented Evercraft Mechanic: Sandbox.
On Nintendo Switch, I like Snipperclips and Unravel.
Well, for those looking for aesthetic pleasure, I highly recommend the Arcane: League of Legends series.
We are grateful to Yuliia for the interview, and we were very interested and enjoyed talking to her. Follow our social networks on Facebook, Telegram, and LinkedIn to keep updated with the latest news.
We also encourage you to watch the video of Yuliia’s speech at the last Hyper Games Conference #3.