In 2022, the biggest Slovak game studio Pixel Federation celebrated 15 years on the market. During that time, the company has grown to a team of 300 with 7 free-to-play mobile games on the market and more than 3.1 million monthly active players (MAU).
After two years of the pandemic, when it achieved record sales (47.6M EUR in 2020 and 50.9M EUR in 2021), the company recorded a 7 percent drop in sales.
„The year 2022 with revenues of 47.4M EUR completed a successful 3-year period, during which we changed from a 30 million to a 50 million company. However, the second half of 2022 and the year 2023 are already marked by a macro crisis (war, inflation, energy crisis) and it will be a great challenge to maintain our positions. It is very difficult to grow every year, it is very difficult to multiply the company’s income every 3 years. But blaming external factors or avoiding challenges has never been a part of our DNA. That is why we will work even harder towards our long-term goal: a 100 million EUR company,“ says COO Daniel Duranka.
With the onset of inflation and turbulent times, Pixel Federation is focusing its attention on effective marketing, market research, and development of new games, one of which is set to launch this year.
The year 2022 also brought changes to the company’s board. Co-founder Šimon Šicko decided to return to the top management after a two-year break while continuing to lead the R&D department. The post of Product Director (CPO) was taken by Filip Polášek, and the new position of Chief Gaming Officer (CGO) was filled by Martin Lučan. Co-founder Marián Fridrich and COO Daniel Duranka remain in their positions and complete the board.
Financial and gaming highlights
The company’s most successful games remain transport tycoon TrainStation 2 and puzzle maze Diggy’s Adventure.
Three years after its global launch, TrainStation 2 became the strongest project of 2022 with sales of almost 19.5M EUR, which is a million more than last year while its player base expanded by 40% to 1.4M MAU.
Diggy’s Adventure ends up on second position with sales of 17M EUR, while it recorded a yearly decrease of 3.6M EUR with a drop in MAU of 400 thousand.
The project, released back in 2012, has been the main driver of the company’s income for the past 5 years and it served as a main inspiration for the new title- Puzzle Adventure. This story-driven puzzle game with 3D graphics, based on the work of the R&D department, was released in the spring of 2022 and brought in sales of almost 1.2M EUR in 8 months of its existence.
In 2022 the mobile gaming industry faced severe challenges in the field of user acquisition, caused by ongoing changes on the main platforms.
Thanks to some radical decisions and profound digging through the systems, Pixel Federation succeeded in remaining profitable, and with an overall marketing spend of 20,7M EUR on user acquisition it gained over 25M of new players registrations.
Nevertheless, everything indicates that the field will undergo further changes and the marketing team is doing everything needed to ensure that the company is flexible and ready to react in time.
The main focus of the company’s efforts remains on educational and environmental projects. In response to the terrorist attack on the LGBTQ+ community in the Tepláreň bar, the company’s attention was also directed to the support of organizations with social impact projects.
Pixel Federation continues its search for responsible carbon offsetting. At the global level, it joined Playing for the Planet Alliance in 2021 and participated as the first Slovak game studio in the Green Game Jam 2022. During the event, the players of Diggy’s Adventure, TrainStation 2, and Port City managed to support the planting of 86 thousand trees in Africa through the Ecologi platform.
Nevertheless, the company is aware of and closely follows the current debate around the phantom credits undermining the efforts for carbon offsetting. “We are standing strong behind our project of global offsetting via Ecologi, but we strongly advocate also for local eco-activism and searching for offsetting possibilities at your local level. We see huge potential and benefit in the continuous support of environmental projects in our immediate surroundings and in the encouragement of local environmental experts and activists,” says Lucia Šicková, Chief Learning Officer of the company.
Pixel Federation supports the protection of rare biotopes in the Small Carpathians and is a partner of the initiative striving to plant 10 000 trees in the Slovak capital, Bratislava. “It is at the local level that we can get personally involved in projects, where we can see and benefit from the results that motivate both us and our communities,” concludes Lucia.
Local support is vital not only for nature but even for fellow citizens in danger. That is why Pixel Federation became a signatory of the call addressed to the government of the Slovak Republic with the aim of openly supporting LGBTQ+ people in Slovakia, and at the same time financially supported the activities of the Inakosť initiative.
Outside of its planned CSR structure, Pixel Federation decided to financially support the Ukrainian Red Cross Society in reaction to Russian aggression in neighboring Ukraine.
In 2022, it was possible to increase the CSR budget by 53 percent and support or co-create 14 projects with the amount of 112 thousand EUR. What makes the company extremely proud, is that employees’ philanthropy is growing as well, supporting 6 projects in the amount of 15 thousand EUR with their volunteer activities and donations.
Plans for 2023
In 2023, Pixel Federation is launching a new mobile game – a tycoon simulation from the candy world Candy Inc. At the same time, the studio will continue developing a new project, inspired by the successful ancestors of the TrainStation line.
Currently, the company does not consider expansion to new platforms a priority, but it is actively searching for new opportunities.