Editor’s note: This post is part of a series of posts sponsored by Microsoft Finland. You can read the other posts over here.
In this post sponsored by Microsoft Finland, we take a look at a company, that is part of the Microsoft Bizspark program and try to understand what their feedback and thoughts regarding it are. The company we look at it is called BelleGames, an Oulu based gaming company – founded in 2011. They are creating non-violent, social games for various platforms including mobile and the web.
The founder of the company is Pirjo Ritokangas-Huttunen and she’s also been an entrepreneur in the past. A lite version of their game Journey to Eden for Windows Phone was released in February this year, but the full game has been in development for five months.
We talked to Ritokangas-Huttunen about her venture and how she values their co-operation with Microsoft.
ArcticStartup: What are some of the games you have currently developed and how are they doing?
Pirjo Ritokangas-Huttunen: We have published a lite version of a space adventure game called Journey to Eden for Windows phone in February 2012 and the game is available in Windows Phone marketplace.
The Journey to Eden game is an arcade shooter, with inspiration from shoot ’em up games as well. The player is travelling on a space ship and meets on her way many objects and has to clear them and finally you can reach the goal, the Eden. The game is using movement and directional sensors in Windows Phone to steer the ship.
The first commercial version of the game will be available early summer 2012. The business model is freemium, meaning you can try the game before you buy it.
BelleGames is developing further on our non-violent, team play game for facebook, Year of Eden. The story-driven strategy game is set in the future where the earth is facing an ecological catastrophe and humanity’s only hope is to colonize the cosmos and find the planet Eden. Year of Eden utilizes the freemium business model where players can buy extra benefits with real money. The beta version of the game is set to launch in April 2012.
ArcticStartup: You are also part of the Microsoft BizSpark program – what led you to participate in this?
PRH: Social media channels create ways that enable companies to utilize viral marketing. It is possible to combine different kinds of social media like Youtube and Microsoft BizSpark with each other, as well as with the websites of the company and the content itself. We find Microsoft Bizspark program a very useful way to introduce our company and games into the market. BelleGames will also utilize cloud technologies and distributed databases developed through Microsoft Azure. Regarding the BizSpark program, BelleGames has been very pleased with things so far and all the people from Microsoft have also been very helpful and friendly.
ArcticStartup: What are some of the concrete ways Microsoft Bizspark has helped you technologically and also in the business sense?
PRH: We have been BizSpark members from December 2011. Everything started off with Windows Phone developers, mainly Jukka Wallasvaara. We got three Windows Phones from him for developing and testing purposes. This helped us immensely.
We have also utilized cloud technology and distributed database through Microsoft Azure. We also plan to have this our game servers and database use the platform in the future. We’re also looking for an angel investor so that we could continue our design work and marketing of our games.
Hear it from the startups
This series of posts is sponsored by Microsoft and produced in co-operation with ArcticStartup to share experiences from startups in using Microsoft technology as well as in participating in the many different programs Microsoft has to offer.