A Kelvin Grove video game developer has signed licensing agreements with DreamWorks and THQ.

Halfbrick CEO Shainiel Deo (pictured) loves his work and is being rewarded handsomely for doing it.

The company has recorded a 350 per cent jump in revenue to $9.5 million for the 2011 financial year and a new office will open in western Sydney next year.

A significant chunk of work is coming from a deal signed earlier this year with entertainment companies DreamWorks Animation and THQ to create mobile phone games based on the new Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots movie.

“The movie was coming out and they were interested in creating an iPhone game,” says Deo.

“They chose us for the authority of our Fruit Ninja titles and it was also a good way to cross-promote their new movie. We signed licensing agreements with them and worked on the game from scratch.”

Halfbrick’s Fruit Ninja Kinect and Fruit Ninja Frenzy titles have been a hit.

“We did a lot of things that other developers have not tried. We used 3D technology to determine where the player stands while moving,” says Deo.

“We also used player data to generate a skeleton based on where his or her limbs are. We combined that with some other user data to get a more responsive experience.”

The games have been critically acclaimed by Twitter users, customers and positively reviewed by IGN, Kotaku, Joystiq, Xbox Australia and Mag Nation as a ‘killer app’, according to Deo.

Deo plans to introduce a new range of social media games, which encourage users to compete against each other online.

“The tricky thing is monetisation. We want to offer it for free but also offer revenue generating products. We are still in beta stage and haven’t officially launched yet, but we already have 10 million users,” he says.

To cater for the company’s rapid growth, Halfbrick is opening a new office in Parramatta, with operations to start in January.

“We are looking to lease about 250sqm in office space for a couple of employees already working for us remotely, who will start up a new team. We wanted to increase our capacity to create new games. We will recruit software developers, game artists and designers,” says Deo.

Halfbrick will lease an additional 360sqm of commercial space downstairs from its 540sqm Kelvin Grove office.

“We have been in this location for six years and are looking to stay long-term,” he says.

Halfbrick also plans to recruit a new licensing manager, software developers, advertising and sales staff and community support officers.

“Experience is not critical, but we are really looking for talent who fit in with our company culture,” says Deo.

“We pride ourselves on being innovative, attentive to detail, continuously improving and taking some risks. It’s okay to fail as long as you learn from it.”


Shainiel Deo
Age: 36
Business Est: 2001
Staff: 51
Growth: 350 per cent
Turnover: $9.5 million

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