Rollic Games – Leading Developer in the Hyper-Casual Market
Leading the world to a hyper-casual gaming future!
One of the hottest new trends is an ultra-simple sorting game with rudimentary graphics that asks the users to fill the fridge after they’ve completed the shopping.
Fill the Fridge is a “hyper-casual” mobile video game – a subgenre of easy and free-to-play games that have become increasingly popular. This title was published by Istanbul-based Rollic Games, a young company that’s found quick success in the gaming market.
Rollic Games was founded in December 2018 by Burak Vardal, Deniz Başaran, and Mehmet Can Yavuz. The company started out as a hyper-casual publisher and developer, and within a few years, it launched over 200 accessible titles with 2 billion lifetime downloads.
Let’s take a closer look at Rollic – how the journey started, how it led the three founders to success, and what the future holds for the young entrepreneurs.
How It All Started
The three founders of Rollic all share the same ambition, drive, and passion that helped them break out in the gaming industry.
Burak Vardal, who would become the CEO of Rollic, started on the path to success with his schooling at MEF College, where he attended all 12 grades from 1999 to 2011. He later sought further education and obtained a full scholarship from Istanbul Bilgi University. Burak holds a degree in two majors – Law and Sociology.
Burak has always enjoyed games of any kind. Since he was young, he liked playing chess and tennis, and later, he brought that same enthusiasm to video games. He is the youngest entrepreneur in Turkey to achieve an exit story of only 20 months in the technology scene.
Prior to his engagement and foundation of Rollic Games, he was an account manager of the EMEA market for AdColony and was responsible for its development.
Another co-founder, and current SFO of Rollic Games, is Deniz Başaran. He graduated from Istanbul Technical University with a degree in Manufacturing Engineering.
Deniz had previously worked for AdColony at the same time as Burak, where he took up positions of Campaign Manager and Senior Ad Operations Manager.
The third partner, Mehmet Can Yavuz, is also a graduate of Istanbul Technical University with a degree in Telecommunications. This former software developer now acts as a co-founder of Rollic – a company that’s reached the highest standards in the US and around the world.
Stand Out To Be Successful
Since its foundation in 2018, Rollic has taken a fresh approach to development and has proved to be a remarkable publisher. They consistently put out games that delight and astonish their players and have built a unique developer ecosystem in the gaming industry.
The whole Rollic Games team is able to merge the art and science of game creation and develops distinctive video games that resonate with different players from all sorts of backgrounds.
Two of their video games, High Heels! and Blob Runner, were among the most popular on the App Store, together with other free-to-play hyper-casual games like Breaker Miner, Go Knots 3D, Hair Challenge, and Arrow Feast.
The company’s founders are crucial to the success Rollic Games has found. They employed leading talents and supported different academic programs contributing to the company’s progress and recruitment.
They also invented a new-gen game design they called “Tiktokable.” This trend has helped game titles experience huge organic traction on TikTok, becoming a model for other hyper-casual games and game developers.
This design’s been especially helpful to the game High Heels! As well as other notable titles including Hair Challenge and Tangle Master 3D, each of which has generated over 100 million downloads globally.
The whole team of 165 developers and game managers is based in Istanbul, but the company also works with third-party developers. The product and game managers work on the ideation and production of games. There are separate divisions for all the developers, artists, and additional employees who participate in the creation process.
The new way of conceptualizing games was a big advantage for this company and boosted its audience and engagement with more use of online leaderboards, live operations, and customizable characters.
Although both the founders and Rollic Games themselves are generally young, the entire hyper-casual scene is also fairly new. So, although they didn’t get the earliest start, hard work and fresh ideas helped Rollic push ahead of competitors.
In 2021, Rollic Games began adding live services to its titles, and to date, the company’s created 14 games that have been ranked in the top 10 most downloaded games in the U.S. App Store.
Rollic games boast more than 5 million active users per day, in part thanks to the developer’s culture of always creating something new and unique.
In 2020, just two years after its foundation, Rollic was acquired by Zynga, a global leader in interactive entertainment. Zynga was founded in 2007, it’s based in San Francisco, but it has locations in Turkey, Canada, U.S., India, the United Kingdom, Finland, and Ireland.
Despite the acquisition, Rollic continued to be managed by its founder and Chief Executive Officer Burak Vardal, as well as its already existing management team.
As of October 1, 2020, Zynga has completed the acquisition of 80% of Rollic Games and paid approximately $180 million in cash to the sellers. This acquisition combined massive production power with extremely talented developers.
The core publishing operations of Rollic Games were not changed, and what’s more, the synergy of the two companies contributed to sharing in-depth knowledge of the game industry.
This acquisition also expanded their in-house network of innovative developers to support live services with ongoing creative updates. The company’s perspective on publishing games is not limited to the traditional hyper-casual mentality – they always try to find other innovations in the game industry.
Rollic’s expertise was a perfect fit for Zynga, so they became their hyper-casual division. Rollic Games believe that this game genre will never die because it represents the consuming habits in the world.
The Future Is Hyper-Casual
Hyper-casual is a pretty recent phenomenon that’s still developing. At Rollic, they have a huge amount of concepts for new updates and features that they test and analyze each month. This helps them grow with the demand and gives them an advantage over other companies.
Rollic is one of the first studios that started producing video games in Turkey. Before they came along, only two Turkish studios had succeeded in publishing their games through global publishers.
Rollic Games is supportive of companies in Turkey that publish games of other genres as well because they believe that the national gaming ecosystem will continue to grow in the future.
Rollic Games Today
From the very beginning, the company focused on developing free-to-play games for iOS and Android, and it is one of the world's top mobile hyper-casual games publishers.
In February 2022, Rollic acquired Berlin-based mobile game studio NanoTribe, with whom they have worked as partner studios and launched popular games such as Cashier 3D and Arrow Fest. These games have reached over 33 million downloads on the App Store and again proved that Rollic Games is one of the best gaming companies.
Rollic Games plans to create a diverse and global portfolio of game producer studios and to employ talents that produce fun, engaging, and unique content for different types of customers.
Although some might say they’ve already made it fairly big, Rollic’s vision for the future includes further growth and possible expansions to new markets.