‘Food Truck Chef’ was featured on the Google Play store in ‘Awesome Games Made in India’.
(As seen on Google Play)
Celebrate Independence Day with Awesome Games Made by Indians!
From adorable cooking games to desi word puzzles, games made in India have given us delightful experiences. We are shining the spotlight on some great Indian games and going ‘behind the scenes’ with teams that built them. Read on and have fun playing these homegrown creations!
As we celebrate India’s Independence Day, we shine the spotlight on amazing games made in India. Food Truck Chef brought a fresh new take on cooking games and attracted players globally by taking us into the world of food trucks. We went behind the scenes with the developer team to get to know them better — read on below!
What was the inspiration behind this game?
We always wanted to develop and publish an innovative and original IP for the global audience. And, who doesn’t love Food Trucks? The aim was to recreate an authentic, exciting and visceral experience of running your own Food Truck, on mobile and in the process bring to life the diversity of cuisines which exist in the Food Truck universe.
What is the most memorable comment you’ve received from a user about this game?
We created Food Truck Chef to enable our players to live out their dreams of running a Food Truck. It feels great when our players write to us saying they are living vicariously through our game. Some have even gone on to start their own Food Trucks inspired by our game!
If there was one inspirational person from India based on whom you would like to make a game, who would it be?
We would love to make a game on women entrepreneurs from India who aspire to make it big in the real world!
Coming today’s guest is quickly becoming the Supercell of India generating 5M downloads in 100 days and $1M in revenue in less than 90 days. You will discover how he successfully transition from developing games for others to creating their own, how they use a data driven approach to product development and finally how one change in the user flow lead to a dramatic increase in user retention.
From Developing Games for Others to Creating Their Own
They used to be the typical work-for-hire companies and they have done that for about 12 years. But they realized that if they want to put their mark in the gaming industry, one of them has to go all in on this and focus purely on producing their own. So they made that bold decision and took the giant leap of faith. They trusted their instincts and in the last 3 ½ years, they have done lots of experiments and produced about 13- 14 titles.
Using a Data-driven Approach in Product Development
They have ran different experiments in the soft launch process and they found that the progression was very lenient (you unlock on food truck at a time) and that the early funnel looked very weak in terms of the transition between the first and the second food truck.
They thought of creating a non-linear system which gave users the ability to unlock food trucks and they starting measuring all of this. When they ran the test, they were surprised to see that in the linear system, they have about 50% drop off from the first to the second food truck; but the moment they made it non-linear, the drop off was almost non-existent. This is one way of using data to experiment and validate if your funnel is working or not, then use this to your own advantage.
For all those who missed it, here’s the first ever keynote from an Indian at Nasscom Game Developer Conference. Watch the CEO of Nukebox Studios, Amit Hardi speaking about ‘the Quest for the Magic Sauce’
NEW YORK – Dec. 14, 2017 – Mobile game publisher Tilting Point and independent developer Nukebox Studios have announced a partnership for a new user acquisition (UA) campaign to grow Nukebox Studios’ hit cooking game Food Truck Chef. The game has been downloaded over 5 million times since its official launch on mobile devices in July and was chosen by Google Play as one of the Best Indie Games of 2017.
“Food Truck Chefhas already proven itself as a tremendous success thanks to Nukebox Studios’ excellent design. With this new partnership, we are laying the groundwork to further grow the user base and lifetime value of this exciting title and brand,” said Samir El Agili, Chief Operating Officer at Tilting Point.
Tilting Point will both fund and manage the operations of Food Truck Chef’s new UA campaign, and has committed to investing up to $18M in user acquisition funding over the course of the next 3 years.
“Food Truck Chef’s success owes a lot to rigorous research, analysis and problem-solving, and so we’re happy to find in Tilting Point a partner whose expertise and capabilities are poised to help us further leverage those strengths,” said Amit Hardi, CEO at Nukebox Studios.
Food Truck Chefis a fun cooking game in which players travel the world spreading food truck excitement. Use different ingredients to cook tons of mouth-watering recipes, upgrade your kitchen appliances to cook meals faster, and deck out your truck with cool features to appeal to your customers. With hundreds of tasty foods and levels to discover, there’s a dash of challenge in every dish.
Food Truck Chef is free to download with in-app purchases on iOS devices via the App Store, as well as Android smartphones and tablets through Google Play.
About Tilting Point
Tilting Point is a new-generation games partner that empowers top development studios with expert resources, services and operational support to give carefully selected games mainstream success. Through its user acquisition fund, Tilting Point also provides user acquisition management services and funding to help developers achieve profitable scale. The company adheres to a core philosophy of putting development talent first, advancing industry-leading analytics, and overcoming discoverability hurdles with aggressive, best-in-class marketing. www.tiltingpoint.com
About Nukebox Studios
Creating awesome since 2009, Nukebox Studios is a full stack mobile game development studio based out of Singapore and Bengaluru India. With their complete and well-rounded production team, Nukebox Studios is working on developing and publishing innovative and original IPs for the global audience. Nukebox uses a data-driven approach with the focus on building high-quality games. It counts a combined experience of 160+ man-years across the team and an undying passion for gaming. At Nukebox, players are their first, second and third priority. www.nukeboxstudios.com
Hardi’s talk presented an even rosier picture for Food Truck Chef, which was downloaded 4.7 million times in 100 days and has recorded revenues of more than $1.3 million.
But as with so many so-called overnight success stories, Food Truck Chef was the culmination of much hard work behind the scenes.
A long road
Nukebox Studios was formally established three years ago as a game development division of Bangalore-based IT services company TechTree.
Hardi and his team had already worked on close to 200 games in a work-for-hire capacity, mostly on feature phones, before finally deciding to “stop the noise” and focus entirely on its own IP.
From the off, Nukebox’s outlook was global.
“India as a market never appealed to us, because the numbers weren’t there,” Amit Hardi tells PocketGamer.biz at NGDC 2017. “The dynamics of this market were completely different, and the signs were not there.
“People say that, in terms of engagement numbers, it’s very similar to what we are seeing in China. But I believe that these are two different markets that we’re comparing, and it’s going to take a longer life cycle to see the monetisation trickle in.”
With this decided, hitting upon the style of game in which to specialise was Nukebox’s next dilemma. The initial plan was what Hardi calls “the portfolio approach – very Ketchapp-style, hyper-casual games,” with the aim being to “cross-promote and build.”
However, the studio quickly realised that such an approach relies on one hero game spearheading the rest. Nukebox began to soft-launch these casual games, but the numbers were poor and nearly all of them were canned.
14 games got left on the cutting room floor on the path to soft-launching Food Truck Chef, but its early numbers were a lot more encouraging. Players burned through the content quickly, day one retention was at 55%, and some early monetisation began to happen.
“If this had failed, we would have perhaps had to shut up shop,” admits Hardi.
The 14 games that preceded it hammered home the importance of market research, and Food Truck Chef benefited from the coupling of familiar cooking gameplay with a timely yet relatively untapped food truck theme.
But through the failures and the successes, the one constant has been Nukebox’s rigorous process.
Food Truck Chef‘s onboarding has been through at least four iterations, resulting in a 98% FTUE conversion rate. There have also been 10-15 different app icon designs. In short, the Nukebox approach is one in which player data is king.
“It’s a very important factor,” asserts Hardi. “It’s a big funnel from the people visiting the store to those finishing the last level of your game. If your funnel is very narrow at the very beginning, there are no surprises at the end of it.”
This is the framework that Nukebox feels can propel its 33-person team to become a world-leading mobile game developer, with Supercell setting the benchmark.
“They are the example that it can be repeatable,” says Hardi. “And that as long as you’re connected to the process and the way you build games, you can produce hit after hit.”
Understandably, Nukebox’s current focus is to continue optimising Food Truck Chef for continued success.
The studio is continuing to experiment with in-game events, which powered the game to higher revenues on Halloween week than on the week it was featured on the App Store, and has plans to reinvest more profits into user acquisition – the current revenues have been achieved with less than $400,000 spend.
“We can easily see this game sustaining for three to four years, if not more, and the entire baseline is that we continue to iterate,” Hardi enthuses. But Nukebox has more up its sleeve.
“We’re fully invested in this one title, but the idea is to be a portfolio company,” he goes on. “Our vision and goal is to become one of the biggest game studios in the world, coming out of India. We can’t be a one-trick pony.”
To this end, Nukebox is hoping to grow its workforce 30-40% within six to eight months.
Some have questioned the studio’s ambitions to achieve its lofty goals from India, where the pool of games industry professionals is considerably smaller, but Hardi remains confident.
“We believe that the talent definitely is there, it’s just perhaps the right people in the wrong places,” he says. “If they’re aligned with the right process, we can definitely replicate success.
“We’re creating opportunities for people even without the [game development] background, and that’s the only way we can grow because we are the process guys. We built a process that can make people independent, so if we nurture and bring in people who can execute, I think we’re there.”
The success of Food Truck Chef has gone a long way to convincing Nukebox employees that its rigorous standards – and not to mention the heartache of working on a game that’s canned – is worthwhile.
Hardi reports that “the entire mindset of the studio now is completely different. They are so excited, and it’s validation for all of us after the persistence and hard work we’ve put in.”
The hope is that they can keep riding this wave of positivity until Nukebox is dining at the very top table of mobile game development.
India has grown to be the third biggest country for games – NASSCOM.
Games such as Food Truck Chef from Nukebox Studios in Bangalore, which made $1.3m in revenue globally in less than 100 days with 4.7 million downloads, and Gametion’s Ludo King with its 10 million daily active users has shown that audiences for Indian developed games are growing.
For the first time ever, the conference also has an Indian Keynote speaker with Nukebox Studios CEO Amit Hardi who looked back at how the studio had to make many games in order to improve quality, saying “you have to make ten OK games to make one amazing game.”
If you’re the kind of person who enjoys good food, but is too lazy actually cook it, here’s a game that’ll have you whipping up gourmet dishes at the simple press of a button. Check out this app that’ll make Gordon Ramsay look like yesterday’s news.
Owlchemy Labs’ Alex Schwarz, EA’s Lauren Freeman, and Keyword Studios’ Mathieu Lachance will also be speaking at the conference. Facebook’s Ravi Belwal, King’s Lawrence Valleti, and Yoozoo’s Yuli Zhao round off the list of announced speakers.
Talks on talks
“We are excited to announce the first wave of speakers for NGDC 2017 – Amit Hardi’s Nukebox has earned success the hard way, his keynote talk on Food Truck Chef will provide our delegates with lessons learned and best practices they developed along the way that has lead to success,” said Rajesh Rao, Chairman of the NASSCOM Gaming Forum.
“With an incredible initial line-up, we look forward to releasing our full speaker schedule over the coming weeks.”