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'Halfbrick Studios’ Fruit Ninja 2 has millions of downloads in first month'

A huge congratulations to one of our past NEIS participants – Shainiel Deo.

SOURCE: The Courier-Mail, Louise Brannelly, November 27, 2020 – 8:27PM

In less than a month, a Brisbane games developer has notched up millions of downloads for the latest version of its 10-year-old global smash hit.

A decade after Fruit Ninja became a global smash hit, Shainiel Deo and his team of game developers at Brisbane-based Halfbrick Studios are hoping lightning strikes twice.

Version two of Fruit Ninja hit the market earlier this month and has already attracted 3.8 million downloads.

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The original, a touch-screen game where players sliced and diced falling fruit, has notched up “well north of” 2 billion downloads.

“It’s been a long time coming” says Mr Deo, the founder and CEO of Halfbrick, one of Australia’s largest computer game developers.

“There’s been a lot of work and a lot of different takes, trying to come up with something that would be a worthy sequel for Fruit Ninja but we finally got it out.”

Halfbrick had originally hoped to have Fruit Ninja 2 completed earlier this year.

“The whole team was working remotely since March so that definitely had an impact,” Mr Deo said. “There were also a number of late changes we made to the game particularly with the theming and style of the graphics and the interface, so that had a knock on effect.

“So we pushed the (launch) date back three times in the course of this year.”

The Fruit Ninja 2 app has attracted millions of downloads in its first three weeks, making it one of the most popular new games globally.

“It is off to a great start,” Mr Deo said. “A lot of installs and downloads and its translating into revenue as well so it has been good so far.”

But it has a long way to go to rival the performance of its predecessor, which was once ranked as the second most popular game of all time.

“It has got a lot of work ahead of it now,” Mr Deo said. “If it reaches those heights it will be a good effort.”

Halfbrick now has 60 staff, including 40 in Brisbane. It has added about 20 employees over the past six months and will recruit more in coming months.

“At the end of the year we will be doing another intake of graduates so that will increase our numbers,” Mr Deo said.

Halfbrick has a portfolio of 10 other games on the market which it supports with new content and features and at any one time developers are working on two or three new games.

“There are a couple of other big games we will be launching in 2021,” Mr Deo said, with next year also marking Halfbrick’s 20th anniversary.

The release of Fruit Ninja 2 will also help the company’s financial performance.

“We have been slowly and steadily growing our revenue. We will probably see 40 or 50 per cent revenue growth this (calendar) year and for the financial year even more because Fruit Ninja 2 will have been out for a longer period of time.”


Picture: Annette Dew

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