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SYBO Games: Creative evolution

Named ‘most downloaded game of the decade’ by AppAnnie and the first title to reach 1 billion downloads on Google Play, Subway Surfers is a successful showcase of the way the Danish video games industry is making its mark internationally. The secret sauce, according to SYBO, is to embrace creative evolution.

Watch how Lamar Jackson reacts to his character.

2020 has been a year of uncertainty for many. If we can give people 5 minutes of fun every day, we are achieving something incredible.

Mathias Gredal Nørvig, CEO SYBO Games

Integration of sport star integrated game characters

“One of our most exciting projects of 2020 was our first ever inclusion of sportstar-integrated game characters. We wanted to reward Subway Surfers players with the opportunity to unlock their favourite football stars so we worked with the NFLPA to introduce 6 new characters including Tom Brady, Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, Dak Prescott, Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr.

The result was fantastic with huge amounts of love for the integration shown across our social media platforms. We plan to create more integrations in the future.” says SYBO CEO Mathias Gredal Nørvig

Mathias Gredal Nørvig

CEO, SYBO

From your point of view, how is creativity changing and improving the quality of life in Denmark? And how does your company contribute to the improvement of the quality of life?

We were extremely proud that Subway Surfers had recently been named by AppAnnie as ‘most downloaded game of the decade’. Part of the secret sauce that has allowed SYBO to build an 8-year-strong dedicated community has been embracing creative evolution.

The digital landscape is vast. With the constant emergence of new art styles and new technologies that allow us to apply our creativity in previously unheard-of ways, it can seem hard to stay on top. The key is to embrace and adapt to creative evolution but also ensure you stay true to your core and to your creative vision.

We have some of the most talented artists (from within Denmark and from across the globe) working on the Subway Surfers game and brand. Their passion and dedication to creating new experiences for our players ensures a steadfast vision - everyday, rebellious play in the hands of mobile gamers everywhere.

2020 has been a year of uncertainty for many. If we can give people 5 minutes of fun every day, we are achieving something incredible.

Why is innovation essential to stay ahead? And how does Denmark as a country excel in this discipline compared to others?

The ease of downloading apps to our smartphones makes it easier than ever before to share creative products, but there is also ever-increasing competition. Innovation means the difference between leading the way or being left behind - especially in the gaming industry where technology is advancing all the time.

As a country, Denmark is defined by the quality of its output. The Danes have given rise to some gaming industry giants such as Unity and IO Interactive. We work hard to ensure we’re leading the way forward with our fellow game developers.

What role does digitalisation play in the creative industries?

As the world becomes more digitalized the creative industries are granted new opportunities for distributing and marketing products. For example, utilizing the most popular social platforms is a fantastic method of building devoted communities that yearn for more, as well as reaching new audiences

Have you had examples of cases where you’ve learned something from other creative businesses that are not in gaming?

Gaming is a melting pot between creativity, aesthetics, tech and ethics. We can always learn from storytellers from other industries as they use other platforms and we can always inspire each other to new narratives, new features, new ways of engaging.

Having developed our own animation in the form of Subway Surfers The Animated Series, another clear learning is that (so long as you have an excellent core product), supporting or even building your brand via other creative avenues can be a worthwhile endeavour.

Staying true to your core vision is important but exploring other outputs can lead to attracting new audiences, furthering reach in key territories, building hype and hunger for more. We developed our own curated video distribution channel in the form of SYBO TV on YouTube to be able to air the show along with other Subway Surfers and game-related content. The result has been astounding with over 12.5 Million hours (that’s over 1400 years) of watch time since its launch in summer 2018.

Innovation is a cornerstone at SYBO Games. That’s why we encourage and facilitate game jams where our developers, designers and animators get free time away from the usual grind where they get a chance to explore ideas. With rapid prototyping and a method that is able to deem an idea good or bad super quickly, we have developed a creative framework that is highly unique and extremely valuable for our constant innovation.

Mathias Gredal Nørvig, CEO SYBO
  • 1

    First to reach 1 billion downloads on Google Play

  • 100

    Million monthly active users on average

  • 20

    Million daily active users on average

  • 12

    Hours of watch-time of game-related content on SYBO TV

Case contributor

SYBO Games

Photo credit: SYBO Games

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