Successful Indie Game Dev Stories: Playdead

Playdead is an game development company founded by Arnt Jensen and Dino Patti in 2006. It is based Copenhagen, Denmark and it is responsible for the development of the famous game: Limbo. These two guys, used their private funds and government grants to fund their dream before obtaining larger investments. Jensen, originally a developer at IO Interactive, drew sketches in 2004 that led him to the idea for Limbo. Having tried programming the game himself, he eventually sought for additional help through a teaser for the game in 2006. This led to a meeting between Jensen and Patti. Patti soon realised the project was larger than the two of them, and together they founded the company.

Limbo by Playdead

Limbo is a 2D side-scroller, incorporating the physics system Box2D to govern environmental objects and the player character. The player guides an unnamed boy through dangerous environments and traps as he searches for his sister. The developer built the game’s puzzles expecting the player to fail before finding the correct solution. Playdead called the style of play “trial and death”, and used gruesome imagery for the boy’s deaths to steer the player from unworkable solutions.

Now, let’s look at some numbers. According to Wikipedia, within a month of its release, more than 300,000 copies of the game were sold. By the end of August 2010, the number of players on the global leaderboard grew to 371,000! Langley, who had expected Limbo’s sales to fall “due to the lack of repeatable content and being a strictly single player experience”, considered that these figures had “beaten everyone’s expectations”. Phil Spencer, the Vice-President of Microsoft Game Studios, stated in September 2010 that Limbo was “our number one Summer of Arcade game by a long stretch”, and further posed that Limbo represents a shift in the type of game that gamers want out of online on-demand game services; “it’s becoming less about iconic [intellectual property] that people know and it’s becoming more diverse”. Limbo was the third-highest selling Xbox Live Arcade title in 2010, selling 527,000 and generating about $7.5 million in revenue. In March 2011, Microsoft listed Limbo as the 11th-highest selling game to date on Xbox Live. Playdead stated that more than two million users on the Xbox 360 service played through the demo within the year of the game’s release. This is quite impressive for a small game development company.

Playdead have now announced a new game called: Inside. Is is one of IGN’s most anticipated 2016 releases. It will debut in on XBOX and we can’t wait to play it!


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