Developer backs gold rush in mobile gaming industry

By Ben Chapman-Smith

Chris Harris started Ninja Kiwi with his brother Stephen in 2006. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Chris Harris started Ninja Kiwi with his brother Stephen in 2006. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Claims of a gold rush going on in the mobile gaming space right now are entirely accurate, says the founder of game development company Ninja Kiwi.

Chris Harris said there were "huge opportunities" for individuals and companies looking to create games for people to play on smartphones.

"People are saying that using terms like 'wild west' and 'gold rush' aren't accurate - I really think they are. The rules are still being written," Harris said. "The amount of money out there is practically infinite. There are companies making money that would make your eyes water."

Ninja Kiwi, which Harris co-founded with brother Stephen in 2006, has grown to a team of about 40 people working from offices in Kumeu, Auckland and Dundee in Scotland.

It gets 70 per cent of its revenue from users of Apple iOS and Android devices.

The company made about $5 million in the last financial year, with the help of hits like Bloons Tower Defence 5, which soared in its first week to number two in the iTunes App Store in the United States.

Speaking yesterday at the Technology Innovation Week conference in Auckland, Harris said the brothers had experienced "a pretty wild and successful ride".

He said the games industry in New Zealand was starting to get some real traction.

The biggest opportunities were in developing mobile-social games, those which could be played via social media sites and smartphones.

Harris pointed to the success of Candy Crush, published by King.com, which had more than 15 million daily users through mobile and Facebook.

Organised by New Zealand Information & Communications Technology, the conference runs through to the end of this week.

- NZ Herald

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