A Recap of 2023 with Kwalee
In the whirlwind of the games industry in 2023, through all of the challenges this industry has faced this year, we did our best here at Kwalee to crank up the volume. We launched a new PC Console game, welcomed over 142 people to our company, and team spirit racing went off the charts (especially in the GamesAid Karting charity event). Let's do a recap of 2023 and unpack the highlights.
January, 2023. Kwalee Hits 1 Billion Mobile Game Downloads
2023 kicked off with a bang for Kwalee, hitting a colossal milestone of 1 billion mobile game downloads. The entire global team, from UK, India, Portugal and China, to engineers, programmers, QA and marketers alike, all gathered around screens as the countdown began. The anticipation was huge, waiting for the moment of our team's achievement, and when the milestone was achieved, cheers and applause echoed in our studios, as this wasn't just a number, it was the culmination of incredible graft, a decade of adrenaline-fuelled launches and the widespread success of games like Teacher Simulator, Draw it, and Airport Security. The energy in the room reflected the triumph, starting the year strong for Kwalee.
May, 2023. Game On for
Charity Football, Supporting SpecialEffect
In May, our Kwalee team showcased their football talents in the SpecialEffect charity competition, securing a spot in the semi-finals and making us proud. SpecialEffect, a close charity partner, is dedicated to transforming the lives of physically disabled individuals globally. Their mission is to use innovative technology so more people experience the joy of gaming. It's heartening to support a cause that helps break down boundaries, enhancing accessibility and inclusivity in the gaming community. Cheers to our team's spirit and to the impactful mission of SpecialEffect!
June, 2023. Kwalee featured in data.ai’s
Top Publisher Awards 2023
This year, data.ai, the industry's first Unified Data AI platform, unveiled its Top Publisher Awards 2023, honouring the most innovative and successful mobile app companies globally. These awards, starting in 2012, recognise excellence in the mobile sector, ranging from a diverse category set, from Games to Finance. Competition is fierce, with only the top publishers securing a spot. Kwalee stood out as one of the leading publishers and the sole UK-based company on the list of Top 30 EMEA Headquartered Publishers for worldwide game downloads.
August, 2023. Kwalee headed to Gamescom
This year, 16 members of our Kwalee team packed their suitcases and headed over to Cologne, Germany for Gamescom 2023 for three days! From mingling with 320,000 gamers to highlighting our PC Console developer partners Muse Games, Fallen Tree Games, and Digital Mind Games, it was certainly a thrilling experience! Thank you to Gamescom for hosting another brilliant event, and a special thanks to Ukie for the fantastic hospitality, we can’t wait for next year already.
August, 2023. Kwalee secured a spot in Pocket Gamer’s Top
Mobile Game Makers!
In August the exciting news broke, Kwalee had secured its fifth straight spot on Pocket Gamer's Top 50 Mobile Game Makers list for 2023. This recognition highlighted our dedication to innovation, quality, and influence in the games industry. The year was remarkable, featuring the launch of twelve mobile games. One was Hunt & Seek, dominating the Casual games category on Android and iOS in various nations, and growing in popularity with 30 million downloads.
September, 2023. Giving Back To Charity with a Bonus Two Spots on the Podium
Kwalee participated in the GamesAid karting fundraiser, where CEO David Darling and team joined the race. Taking place at Whilton Mill track, 24 teams from the UK games industry battled it out in a friendly, yet competitive showdown. The event was part of GamesAid's second games industry Go Karting Championship, supported by Motorsport Games and Criterion Games.
The entire race was live-streamed on YouTube, with hundreds of viewers across the country tuning in to witness the action. Kwalee returned to defend our title, and went one better this year, with Kwalee A and Kwalee B getting both champion and second place positions, fending off strong challenges from Motorsport Games and Curve Games. Our win wasn’t the only success, the tournament raised over £11,000, which was evenly distributed to GamesAid's six selected charities for 2022/2023—AFK, Autistica Play, Lifelites, Solving Kids Cancer, The Clock Tower Sanctuary, and Winston's Wish. This support will strengthen their remarkable work throughout the country, which made the day all the more meaningful.
September, 2023. Wildmender Launched!
In September, Wildmender, a game bringing beauty and hope to a deserted world, landed on Steam, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S, developed by Muse Games. In Wildmender, players can explore the vast desert, gathering plants and crafting tools to create gardens and uncover a fallen civilization's mysteries. Players can also befriend animals (including an inquisitive pangolin) and spirits to shield the land from all-powerful entities.
Beyond pure entertainment, this game highlights real-world problems, including collaborations with non-profit organisation Rainforest Alliance and between Muse Games and the International Rescue Committee (IRC). By partnering with these two vital organisations, Wildmender, Kwalee and Muse Games aim to promote biodiversity and conservation, and to educate players about their environmental impact.
December 2023: A Month of Achievements and New Beginnings
As we wrapped up the year, December 2023 stood out as a month of significant achievements and new beginnings for Kwalee.
One of our flagship games, Teacher Simulator, hit a remarkable milestone this month by surpassing 100 million downloads. The game is steeped in nostalgia for everyone that remembers their school days, and the team created an immersive simulation experience that grants players the autonomy to be cruel or kind as they wish. We’re delighted so many players have responded to the game!
This December, we also celebrated the inauguration of our new studio in Bangalore, India. We’re pleased to give the team a new space to be creative, collaborative and look forward to them dreaming up our next big hits and making them a reality in our India studio!
And finally, expanding our global outreach, we entered into our first development and publishing agreement in Saudi Arabia with Fahy Studios. This marks our significant step into the burgeoning Middle Eastern market, as we aim to identify and nurture talent in diverse parts of the world who bring different perspectives to game development. This partnership with Fahy Studios,, is set to bring fresh and exciting games to a global audience.
Quarterly Team Building Events Around the Globe
At Kwalee, we put a strong emphasis on mental well-being and team collaboration, striking a balance between hard work and fun. Every year, Kwalee organises quarterly events that help us meet new people beyond our teams and try something different. This year's quarterly events were a resounding success, with our UK studio taking part in Go Karting, Bowling, Ninja Warrior and indoor mini golf, while our remote teams took on two escape room challenges, online painting over Zoom, and online games competition. Meanwhile, our Bangalore team in India visited 40 acre amusement park Jollywood, adventure sports resorts and nature retreat.
As we reflect on 2023, these activities symbolise the core of Kwalee, where hard work, collaboration and fun go hand in hand.
2023 was a year filled with accomplishments and memorable moments. Our quarterly events brought our teams closer and Wildmender planted seeds of joy on consoles around the globe. We're eager to make 2024 even more remarkable!
If you are a games studio and want an expert partner to help you bring your mobile game or PC Console game successfully to market, or an individual interested in joining our team, your enthusiasm and ideas are welcome. And make sure you are following us on social media to find out what we get up to in 2024. (TikTok | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn | Facebook)