Windsor Created Game Takes Off on Facebook

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Windsor Star/Ellen van Wageningen

A social game created by iDream Interactive Inc. in Windsor is taking off on Facebook well before its official launch.

Super Gem Heroes has also earned an early positive review this week by Inside Social Games, a California-based online publication that tracks the industry.

“For them to cover us and do the review is great,” said iDream owner Jacob Duhaime, who found the review by accident while searching the web. ”We hadn’t even planned on announcing that the game was out.”

The initial strategy was to start marketing the game after the mobile versions for Android and iOS devices were released in late October, he said. But not long after Super Gem Heroes was quietly put on Facebook to test it and work out any bugs, the number of players escalated.

By this week 100,000 players had installed the game and 16,000 to 17,000 a day were playing it. That is significant, given that the goal is to have 500,000 to a million installations and at least 100,000 people a day playing it at its peak, Duhaime said.

The young company’s first successful game (the one that made it profitable) was Slot Universe, which was being played by 125,000 people a day at its peak, he said. “The bonus is we’re starting to create an economy. We have five games now.”

Super Gem Heroes is a match-three puzzle game, similar to the currently popular King’s Candy Crush Saga. The protagonist is Gem Boy, who gets help from super hero Ruby-loo as he tries to retrieve his stolen toys from the Boogeyman.

And who plays these social games that are proliferating on Facebook and mobile devices? Primarily women between the ages of 35 and 55 around the world, said Duhaime. “We’re bigger in the Philippines and Europe than in Canada.”

Players can install the game apps for free but pay for virtual merchandise and to keep playing if they fail at any given task or battle. There are already 60 puzzles in Super Gem Heroes that get progressively harder.

To keep players interested iDream Interactive will have to continually add updates and new twists. Currently, the company is focusing all its efforts the game, which Duhaime hopes will boost it to the next level.

“I’ve got a game plan for the company,” he said. “When I made Slot Universe I didn’t realize what we had.”

Duhaime, who moved to Windsor from North Bay 10 years ago to attend college and then university, started iDream Interactive in 2006 and ran it out of his basement until earlier this year when it moved into a downtown office building on Pelissier Street. He currently has five employees and is in the process of hiring two more.

So far, he’s been able to find the software engineers and animators he needs locally, said Duhaime, who completed the animation program at St. Clair College and  visual arts and computer science at the University of Windsor.

A lot of credit for iDream Interactive’s success goes to his small staff, he said. “You need a great team to do this. You can’t do it by yourself.”