IT HAS taken just two years for a local gaming innovation to become a lucrative worldwide phenomenon.
Any way you slice it, the Fruit Ninja game has become a lucrative meal ticket for Brisbane game development company, Halfbrick.
The smartphone and tablet application, which is a game based on chopping up and batting away pieces of fruit, is the second-highest selling application on Apple’s app store with more than 300 million sales in just two years.
At $2.99 per download, the game has reaped almost $900 million in revenue.
And Fruit Ninja is no flash in the pan. Halfbrick’s latest game, Jetpack Joyride, has already amassed 25 million downloads, although it is offered for free.
Halfbrick chief marketing officer Phil Larsen (pictured centre) says the Australian app development industry is a growing one, but currently lacks sufficient investment.
“There are app developers out there and there are a lot more starting out, but there aren’t a lot of investors,” says Larsen.
“It is surprising, because iPhone and iPad adoption in Australia is really high. There is a market in our own country, let alone internationally.
“Companies invest tens of millions of dollars creating games for consoles and PCs, while anyone can put together a small iPhone game and make it big.”
Larsen says the iPhone has brought gaming to the mainstream.
British Prime Minister David Cameron is said to be a Fruit Ninja fan.
“There are people who would never try and play a console or PC who will play these casual, simple games – a lot more people,” he says.
“Revenue is small per unit, but there is a much larger audience.”
Halfbrick CEO Shainiel Deond started the company in 2001 and initially employed three people. It now has more than 60 staff working out of its Kelvin Grove headquarters and another office in Sydney.
Larsen says the success of Fruit Ninja is pleasing, but not a surprise as it is a key platform of the company business plan.
“It was pretty much what we were working towards," he says.
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