Three years ago Coffee Stain Studios in Skövde turned over $600.000 – now the company is busting the $12 million limit. Everything thanks to a crazy goat.
None of the employees at Skövde studio Coffee Stain Studios could have guessed what a success the Goat simulator game would become.
It all started as a fun project where Anton Westbergh and his colleagues wanted to take a break from the game Sanctum and create a goat simulator “since it is the funniest animal in the world”.
That it would lead to an actual game was far from obvious.
“We sat down and brain-stormed and this idea stuck out the most. We decided to give it a chance and have a game jam. After a few weeks we put up a trailer on Youtube where it was an instant hit”, Anton Westbergh says.
We meet in the spacious office where the game studio recently moved in. The building used to be a movie theater.
Anton Westbergh says that the number of views reached 100.000 over one night. After a week more than 2 million people had seen the video about the goat Pilgor.
“It had spread all over the internet and several sites wrote about it. It was insane. That is when we felt like: ‘Shit, this is something we have to finish’. We decided to release the games as soon as possible.
This was in January 2014 and the game was released on April 1st the same year. More than 6 million copies of the game have been sold since then.
That the Swedish Youtube phenomenon Pewdiepie has played the game in his videos has obviously played its part in the success, Anton Westbergh explains.
“There has of course been a great change for us as a company. Previously, our focus was always on releasing the next product to survive. Entirely different possibilities have been opened up now. We will continue development of Goat simulator for some time but we will start on something new pretty soon”, Anton Westbergh says.
Contrary to many competitors, Coffee Stain Studios have chosen to charge for the game in advance and scrap in-game purchases.
“We charge for our games, we like the traditional way. It is nice to be able to pay for a product and then own it, without having to spend more in order to continue playing. Many believe that everything has to be free-to-play nowadays but that is not the case” Anton Westbergh says.
Last year the game studio turned over $10.1 million, which can be compared to $1.1 the year before. Most users are in USA, Canada, England and Japan. The game is available on mobile phones, computers, Playstation and Xbox.
So, what is Goat simulator about?
“Live your life as a goat and create as much chaos as you possibly can. You get points for things you do, such as various tricks or if you crash into things and destroy them. It is a different game because you use your imagination. Everyone from five year olds to grown ups play it”, Anton Westbergh says.
He is originally from Stockholm but moved to Skövde where he studied computer game development and programming eight years ago.
“If you want to develop games, this is a good place to start. It is a good environment with company parks, the incubator, education and many other companies where you can get advice and help. If I would not have come to Skövde, got an office almost for free and help with business development, I probably wouldn’t have been sitting at a gaming company.”
Coffee Stain Studios has never raised venture capital, instead it wants to grown organically. At this time the team consists of 9 founders and 11 employees. The company has tried to put the remaining commitments on consultants.
“We do not want to grow as an organization because it is rather hard. We do not want to be big in that way, I like that the company is like a group of friends. But we still want our games to become world famous”, he says.
Coffee Stain Studios are predicted to turn over around $14 million this year.