Our mission statement is a testament to our ambitions for the future and a sneak peek into the exciting innovations that lie ahead.
In the startup world, the term “disrupt” is thrown around quite often. We’ve all heard stories about a company starting from scratch to completely revolutionize an industry with its innovative product or service. In the most impressive of cases, there are the companies that create an industry of their own, offering the market something it’s never seen before.
While we aren’t the first company to launch a mobile game (that was Tetris for the history enthusiasts out there), one of our proudest accomplishments at Kolibri Games has been that our titles have defined the idle genre within the mobile games space.
Back in 2016 when we launched Idle Miner Tycoon, we couldn’t have imagined the success it would have. We were sure it was a strong concept, with a unique and appealing core loop, and attractive game mechanics that our players still love even to this day, but its tremendous success, with over 100 million downloads, more than any other idle game in the market, was a great milestone.
It also led to the birth of a new, vibrant genre. Since then, many other idle games have hit the market, including several of ours. We’re happy to know that IMT is a trailblazing game and one that is still going strong today, with millions of players from around the world.
Like with any genre though, it’s important to continue evolving. In our case, we’re looking ahead to the future of idle and what is coming next. In fact, we’ve even made it our new company mission statement:
Two words full of ambition and excitement for the future. But what do we mean by reinventing idle? Our definition of reinventing lies in pushing the boundaries of what idle games can be. We’ve taken the time to examine some of the latest trends in mobile gaming, and as always have kept an ear to player feedback. This gave us some ideas for what we can do to continue to be leaders in the idle space. We’ve actually already gotten started!
A little over a year ago, we decided to organize our product department into two main teams. One was focused on continuing to grow and improve Idle Miner Tycoon, and the other was focused on launching new idle games.
Our goal with the latter group was and remains the continued innovation of the idle genre. Now time for practical examples.
Idle is a crucial part of Kolibri Games’ DNA. But what is “idle”? We believe it’s mechanics, not a genre. Idle is a gameplay mechanic that normally requires simple periodic interaction from the player, it has a high degree of automation and can play on its own during the player’s absence, often giving the rewards upon the next login. Idle mechanics is used in a number of different genres ranging from tycoon games to RPGs.
As a company we have got a lot of expertise with idle mechanics as a dominant one in the core loop, particularly applying it to the tycoon genre, where the focus is on the management of a business. The core player interaction revolves around the management of a production chain and optimization of the constantly changing bottlenecks to maximize the output of the said chain. The key audience motivations here are resource management and milestone completion (frequent upgrades). There are typically not many things to do outside of the core loop, with one of the most common additions being character collection and upgrading. The game is typically a single-player experience.
We are on a mission to reinvent idle. On a higher level, it means that we aim not just to serve our current audience but also to expand it. And the way we are going to do that is by finding novel ways to connect idle mechanics with other systems.
There are a few main directions or verticals that we identified. Our Product Director – New Games, Dzmitry Yudo walked us through some of the main components of this vision, and what it means on an operational level:
- Innovating in the core gameplay with non-linear production chains, evolving production chains, and the addition of new mechanics. This is meant to keep the core game “fresh” for a longer period of time, similar to how match-3 mechanics evolve and get more diverse with player progression. Gold & Goblins did this nicely by combining idle with popular merge mechanics.
- Adding a deeper Social component (coop, async PvP, leaderboards, tournaments). This is something that is common for idle RPG games (Idle Mafia), but not for other types of idle games.
- Experimenting with different metagame systems (renovation, narrative) and connecting them to the proven core gameplays.
- Exploring mini-games and multiple game modes connected to the core loop. It’s been one of the hot trends in the industry affecting many genres – 4X, RPGs, etc.
- Trying genre hybridization (connecting idle mechanics with non-traditional genres like sports simulation, or shooter). Some of the genres that are likely to have a high degree of affinity to “idle tycoons” based on core loops (strategic planning, interaction frequency, lack of action, and dynamic moment-to-moment gameplay) are time management and resource management, lifestyle/simulation, breeding, puzzle / decorate.
These are not mutually exclusive directions of course and can as well be mixed and matched together. We are currently in the process of pursuing some of them and are excited about our journey ahead.
As the opportunities to reinvent idle are vast, it’s important to be laser-focused on a few key bets. We’re confident in the talent we have, both in the Kolibris who have helped us make it this far, along with the new joiners whose excitement and knowledge are great assets for us as we look to make an impact in the mobile games industry of tomorrow.