Category: Creative Economy By : Renjani Puspo Sari Read : 2425 Date : Friday, February 13, 2015 - 19:04:59

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    Five years ago, Stefan Damasena, Indra Budiman and Raygen worked together at an agency making digital advertising. In their spare time, they loved to play online games, so they decided to make a living out of their passion, and founded online game developer Alegrium with a fourth partner Yan Gunawan, now 30.

    For two years, Alegrium wasn’t much of a success. Their big break came three years ago when they released Icon Pop Quiz, which became a global smash. To date, it has been downloaded 20 million times to iOS users. It is also on the Google Play store. The game is simplicity itself, with a series of cartoon-like drawings, known as icons, that require users to guess their subject. A picture of a spider web might represent Spiderman, while a picture of a lightbulb might represent Thomas Edison. The game has evolved to include multiple categories, such as icons of famous people, famous TV shows and famous brands.  

    Ironically, despite their success, the game is not as well known here due to the more limited use of iOS and Android. “We want to focus first on the global market,” says Stefan, who is chief executive of Alegrium. Yan and Stefan, now 29, are from Surabaya and studied at Petra Christian University, while Reygan, 31, and Indra, 32, graduated from Bina Nusantara University.

    While downloading and playing the game is free, the company makes money on added services, such as paying $1 to get additional features (such as answers), or $2 to remove advertising. Currently, the transaction value of Alegrium is estimated to be more than a billion rupiah a year.

    Alegrium’s most recent game is called Billionaire. The goal of the game is to get rich as possible. The player is given $1,000 and must invest in building a business (there are 80 business ideas to pick from). As you grow your wealth, you can continue to invest in your current business or expand to add a new business. Meanwhile, you must outwit threats, such as going to jail or having your assets seized by the authorities. The number of downloads has currently reached 60,000 through Apple and Android gadgets. About 60% of the downloaders are from the U.S. and Canada.

    “We thought before that only big players with complicated games could be popular. But even with a simple game, we could succeed,” says Stefan. “To make an online games company one doesn’t need big capital, and it can be established with  Rp 1 million. All a developer needs is to register the game with Apple. In fact, this business can be managed without marketing.”