Playsoft: Fun & Games Beyond Measure
In the 1990s, the video games industry provided entertainment for a small, limited audience. Thirty years later, thanks to technological development and the rise of the internet, this industry has grown into a widespread international sector. Thus, it is geographically not limited only to Silicon Valley or Asia.
Poland is one of the countries that attracted investors in the past few decades thanks to its working capital. Together with some Western European countries, it made Europe the third largest region in the video games market, after the Middle East and Africa.
Two enthusiastic, natively French entrepreneurs, Nicolas Bensignor and Pierre-Olivier Monteil, recognized Poland’s potential ahead of time. Their dream to create excellent software and revolutionize the gaming market could finally become a reality.
Nicolas and Piere founded Playsoft - a gaming company that would become a leader in the software development market. The story of Playsoft begins in 2004 in a small apartment in Gdansk.
Founders’ Early Beginnings
Nicolas Bensignor exhibited strong character traits and a drive to learn since childhood, leading him to start his entrepreneurial career early. He was an excellent student and a charming young adult and always came up with ideas to change the world.
Nicolas’ ambition led him to graduate and get an MBA at Brandeis International Business School in France in 1996. His first post-graduate decision was to explore what opportunities the world offered him. In his exploration, he moved to Brazil and joined Societe Generale working as an analyst for 2 years.
Starting a business was always in the back of Nicolas’ mind while growing up. As a result, he took his first entrepreneurial steps in 2001. He founded Ypok - a start-up that became a leading open-source software integrator. Four years later, he co-founded Popcarte - an online service for greeting cards. Playsoft was his third and most successful start-up.
In the meantime, his partner Pierre-Olivier Monteil graduated from Toulouse at Paul Sabatier University in 2005. His professional career began in the field of communication as an assistant at Groupe Cahors. Afterwards, Pierre became a teaching assistant for the French language in Lord Grey's school for less than a year.
Piere was a Public relations manager in Agence Complice for a few months until he realized that communication was his dream field. In two years, he finished his first Master of Information Communication. But Pierre's ambition didn't stop there. He continued his education with a second master's study; this time, it was Marketing of New Technologies. He completed his education in 2009, ready to dedicate himself to a company he was passionate about.
Pierre didn't necessarily harbor an entrepreneurial spirit; however, after he met Nicolas, his views drastically changed. They started supporting each other's goals, finally constructing a shared idea they could both work on. Nicolas and Piere's ambitions to enter a competitive market and show off their skills eventually led to the founding and rising of an incredible entertainment company - Playsoft.
From Ground Zero to the Top of the Industry
Nicolas and Piere-Olivier were both enthusiastic about their project from the start. Although they are both French, they found Poland a more attractive place to locate their business, mostly due to finances.
However, they also believed expertise and flexibility were the two most important factors to support their cyclical business, which the Polish market had in abundance. Nicolas and Piere could recruit employees quickly and at a lower cost than in their motherland France. Moreover, thanks to the high-ranking Polish universities and well-trained new grads, Playsoft would have an easier time building profit and expanding.
Launching the Gaming Company
The company was officially founded in 2004. It started in a rented apartment in Gdansk with 100 EUR capital. It began as a start-up and successfully battled many funding challenges. As a result, the company’s operations started two years later.
This small mobile game development company was dedicated to developing mobile games. Over time, the gaming company created over 50 exciting games and built a sophisticated gaming catalog. Along with the development of games, live operations, porting, and quality assurance became Playsoft’s core competencies.
Nicolas and Pierre put a lot of energy and intensive work into their company; luckily, their efforts bore fruits. After the first year, the company had great success and even managed to make some profits.
Working with customers who needed adaptation of the content of their European mobiles, Playsoft made a turnover of 500k. This exceeded Nicolas and Piere’s expectations and boosted their motivation to continue doing a good job. They invested all their resources into Playsoft. They aimed to make Playsoft an industry leader in technology and entertainment.
Great Success Under Exceptional Leadership
Although Piere and Nicolas were very educated, their enthusiasm and ambition to succeed made all the difference. Nicolas’ job was to ensure that the team had the best working environment to boost their creativity and create quality products.
In 2009, Piere-Olivier became a producer in the company. He was responsible for team management, planning, and project management. Moreover, he became the first contact point for customers and external companies. Pierre and Nicolas’ dedication to providing an inclusive environment for Playsoft’s employees was the primary factor that made the company profitable and self-financed quickly.
In eight years, Nicolas and Piere-Olivier managed to build the company into an independent studio. Moreover, they established cooperation with Konami, Namco, Sega, and other big names in the gaming market.
Meanwhile, Playsoft released popular products such as the Avengers and SimCity games mobile apps. In 2013, their Tour de France game became available for iOS and Android.
The Playsoft team continuously expanded, so much so that they needed to move to a new office with a bigger capacity for growth.
Innovation in Mobile Game Development
Over the years, Playsoft created outstanding games. The games were attractive and entertaining for all players. But Nicolas and Piere-Olivier's goal was higher than making another amusing title. The challenge was to find the right balance between the entertainment and educational components of each game.
'Serious Game' was the one with the right balance. It's a video game that offers innovative educational and informational components through entertainment. The personal investment of the player and its virtual experience reinforce the educational effectiveness.
'Star Ecologie' is another game labeled as a particularly innovative product. Playsoft's idea behind the game was to make the development of economic, environmental, and social issues understandable in a simple and fun way. Through the game, the player becomes aware of their individual power and democratic vote for positive changes.
However, the success of Playsoft didn't rely only on great ideas. Apart from designing, Playsoft's team is famous for rigorously testing their games, effectively separating their products from the competition. The 'playtesting' ensures each released game is valuable for the player. In other words, it should bring the player joy, entertainment, and some form of education.
Playsoft’s Acquisition and the Path to Joining the Aristocrat Family
Nicolas and Pierre-Olivier succeeded in building an enviable track record of top-grossing and player-centric mobile games. The robust product portfolio and the expert team in the background made Playsoft attractive to the prominent market players.
Product Madness, a game development company under the hat of technology leader Aristocrat Leisure Limited, was interested in Playsoft for future expansion and diversification of game lines. In October 2021, Product Madness announced the acquisition of Playsoft in an undisclosed deal.
This acquisition was an excellent opportunity for Playsoft to accelerate capabilities and product design, thanks to the ambitious strategy, global scale, strong investments, and marketing strategy of Product Madness. It was a chance for the mobile gaming company to show up on the market with its full potential and compete with bigger names.
Both founders remained in the company and continued managing it from the inside. This guaranteed that Playsoft would stay on the right track and stick to its vision, even after its acquisition.
Today, after 18 years of its foundation, this game development company is still under the leadership of the founder Pierre-Olivier Monteil, who is a General Manager of the company. Nicolas Bensignor is also there as a VP at Product Madness.
Playsoft counts 50 passionate games professionals with offices in Gdansk and Paris. Although most employees come from Poland, the company includes highly educated professionals from different backgrounds. France, Vietnam, Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, Belarus, and Colombia are all represented by numerous employees.
People at Playsoft are brave and willing to improve the existing games and upgrade standards and development methods. Using a lean approach, they are pragmatic, realistic, and, as client reviews state, "extra-friendly." As their work shows so far, the company always goes beyond expectations and tries to give its audiences the best entertainment possible.
Playsoft is dedicated to creating top-grossing mobile games and outstanding products. They do this fast in a highly competitive environment. How? By being data-driven and player-focused. But even after 80 hit games, Nicolas and Pierre aren't stopping. Playsoft's mission now includes offering other mobile game developer companies developers, artists, game designers, and testers according to their needs, apart from creating original products.
So what's the takeaway from Nicolas and Piere's story? Efforts are never in vain. With the help of like-minded peers, every dream can turn into reality. Those like Nikolas and Pierre who stay true to their passion are the ones who conquer the world!