Outfit7 is a Cyprus-=based video and game producer with over 15 billion game downloads and 72 billion video views. We asked Yanhao Wu is the board member of Outfit7 Limited and deputy Chief Financial Officer of Outfit7, how the company got there.
“I’ve been living and working in Cyprus for more than 20 years and have had experience working in international accounting companies, i.e. PwC, BDO and now – Outfit7. I’ve joined the company back in 2017, when it was acquired by the Jinke group. The move was beneficial for both parties – on one hand, it opened the doors for Outfit7 to better distribute and market our Talking Tom & Friends games in China. The brand is very popular in China and we were happy that more fans will be able to enjoy our games. On the other hand, the move helped Jinke to have a more global presence and enhance the company’s position globally.
Today, Outfit7 has launched more than twenty games already and is consistently among the top 5 most downloaded developers and publishers worldwide. Our games are played by more than 400 million people worldwide every month.
As a finance guy, I really like numbers and statistics. One that I like particularly is that our games have so far been downloaded more than 16 billion times in total! To put this in perspective – it means that on average, every person on earth has downloaded one of our games at least twice. Amazing.
Aside from the virtual pet and runner games that I already mentioned, we are also very proud of our video content which has also received billions of views.”
To have achieved such success, Outfit7 had a very strong marketing plan?
Wu points out that Outfit7’s strength goes beyond traditional marketing, including
investment into people, offices, tech, education…
“The way I see it, it is about much more than just marketing. Our strength lies in what we offer to our users, in our people and the culture that binds everything.
And I have to start with the product here. It was our first successful game that gave us a clear business opportunity and our identity for years. Even back then we were clear about one thing – our users loved interacting with our characters and they seemed to especially like that talk back function.
Not to change the winning formula, we decided to innovate within that segment and create something which has a similar appeal, but it offers much more than just a duplicate copy. Over the years, this developed into what we call the virtual pet segment and it became the go-to option for us. We continued adding new ideas on top of it – new game play, new mini games, frequent updates and bringing cool new experiences to our existing games.
In fact, I believe that much of our success stems from conveying a message that is so universal and positive – that no matter how hard things get, if you just keep going and have good friends by your side, you can achieve anything. Our fans find the adventures of these characters inspiring and entertaining.
We combine all this with what we call ‘soft power:’ First, we have a mature and experienced organization in the mobilisations of this industry. We go to great lengths to find the “right” people and do everything in our power to make them want to stay. And the ingredient that binds all of this together is our culture; something that hasn’t changed since the inception of the company.
Our people are amazing, in fact, they are our competitive advantage. We have more than 350 employees today, working across three continents. We have a game studio in Barcelona, Spain, another one in Ljubljana, Slovenia and offices in the UK, in China and in US; all headquartered from Cyprus, where we make all strategic choices and decisions.
Moving ahead we will further expand our IP and address new audiences with new brands.”
Outfit7 has in fact announced plans to expand its portfolio beyond the virtual pet simulation and runner genres.
“The repositioning will bring the multi-brand and multi-platform experience to its users around the world. We are bringing several new titles, including some completely new IPs.
The first new title, Mythic Legends, is an auto-chess inspired mobile game due to launch globally later this year. You can actually already download the soft launch version of the game in Cyprus. The second game, currently still in development and planned for 2022, is a life simulation, while the last in line is the tower defense-arcade shooter Swamp Attack 2, also in production for later this year.”
And Outfit7 is building a business in merchandise as well, Wu adds.
“We have a merchandise department that’s linked to our games, and we are expanding this business. As we build our IP portfolio, we produce the related merchandise as well. This business is still growing for us, but we will become more active in it in the coming year.”
Cyprus has proven to be a good location for Outfit7.
“We have been in Cyprus since 2011. In June, we moved into our new offices in Limassol. And we are increasingly looking to attract local talent. Many of our top executives work here, including the C-level, the head of R&D and all other Sales and Communications functions, and we are bringing in more. We have plans to start working with the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT) to create programmes for internship. We have been giving back to the community in Cyprus and we are planning to offer young people a chance to learn skills,” Wu concludes.