Last year, Zynga bought hyper-casual game maker Rollic. Today, Rollic is a Zynga subsidiary, and it’s announcing the acquisition of another game studio called Uncosoft.
Like Rollic, Uncosoft develops hyper-casual games and is based in Turkey (Istanbul in Rollic’s case, Izmir in Uncosoft’s). In fact, Rollic has already published a couple of Uncosoft games, most notably High Heels, in which the player navigates an obstacle course in increasingly ridiculous high heels — the company said High Heels (or, if you insist, High Heels!) has been downloaded more than 60 million times since it launched in January, and it’s even been praised for bringing “queer joy to the top of the App Store charts.”
Rollic co-founder and CEO Burak Vardal told me that when you’re in the hyper-casual gaming business, you’re “always looking for product-oriented teams.” And it sounds like Vardal is impressed by what he’s seen of the Uncosoft team, making him confident that it can successfully build “new titles like High Heels.”
“Producing a game together as development studio and publisher, you already start working like a merged company,” he said. “You argue about game design all day, you share strategies […] and you — not on purpose — start learning about how that company operates, how are the founders, how is the art team.”
Meanwhile, Uncosoft CEO Edip Enes Çakır said in a statement that there has been “unprecedented harmony” between the two teams as they’ve worked together in recent years, and that “our culture and vision of making global games will be augmented with the expertise of Rollic and Zynga.”
Rollic was actually Zynga’s fourth acquisition in Istanbul, so it’s clear that the city and country are becoming a bit of a hub. Vardal said Rollic does have partners outside of Turkey, but he suggested that the country has been particularly successful with hyper-casual games because of its huge student population.
Vardal also suggested that High Heels points to a path that other hyper-casual games might follow to success: namely, TikTok.
“The animations of the game and the character mechanic are what we call TikTok-able,” he said. “It had a huge impact in Gen Z and huge organic reach in TikTok […] The new generation wants content that feeds that ecosystem.”
The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.