Sometimes, all it takes for a small studio to find big success is that little spark—that push that gives just the right amount of energy to build up speed in the marketplace. For Outerminds, that came with a little help from one of the biggest influencers on YouTube, Felix “PewDiePie” Kjellberg.
The Montreal game studio Outerminds got its start back in 2014, with a three-person team trying their luck in a Game Jolt-sponsored “game jam” session, where developers submit game ideas in the hopes of being selected. One big difference that Outerminds made with its effort was reaching out to PewDiePie to create a game featuring him.
As a result, PewDiePie’s Paradise Island was born, and even though it didn’t win the game jam session, it was inspired enough for Kjellberg to come back to the team and work on a new mobile. Just one year later, Outerminds released its first major mobile title, PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist.
.@pewdiepie tells us what's up in his action brawler game. https://t.co/auY4X4B5v3https://t.co/IBKlZd0kgr
— App Store Games (@AppStoreGames) July 6, 2016
PewDiePie’s star power by itself was enough to push the title, but Kjellberg also pushed it on his own channel, which has over 46 million subscribers. As a result, the game became a massive hit, becoming the biggest app across 50 countries during that time frame.
But while the game has plenty of PewDiePie star power to go around, Outerminds learned from the early going that YouTube influencers in general had a good amount of reach with the game. “At one point PewDiePie said, ‘Is it OK if my friends join in?’ And we said, ‘Hey, you can bring as many 10-million-subscriber people as you want,’” said Outerminds community manager Ghislain de Pessemier, speaking with Chartboost. As a result, several of Kjellberg’s pals took part in the game providing voiceovers.
While the game concentrated on making the gameplay fun for both PewDiePie fans and casual players, de Pessemier pointed out that the game also needed to look fun to draw in others. “Even a bad game can be fun to play, fun to watch,” said de Pessemier.
However, continuing coverage of said game can significantly contribute to longevity. “Every time we’re releasing an update, PewDiePie’s playing it on his channel, and we get a huge spike in sales,” said Pessemier. “We didn’t invest a penny in advertising. PewDiePie is the advertisement.”
As a result of the success of Brofist, Outerminds has had to expand its team to eight people, and now has over 20,000 Twitter followers. It’s also getting bombarded with tons of suggestions. “People were so creative, but there were 30,000 suggestions,” noted de Pessemier. “I had to ask one of the coders to do an algorithm to sort all the nouns.”
The bottom line is that the power of influencers continues to be as strong as ever, particularly PewDiePie, who’s already hard at work on a second game with Outerminds. Whether it will be as epic as Legend of the Brofist has yet to be seen. But, with Kjellberg on board and the team devoted to crazy, good-looking games, it’s sure to be interesting.