Glance around any subway car in New York City, and there’s a good chance someone is playing a game on his or her phone.
Perhaps one or more of those straphangers is even playing a mobile game from the team at Dots, a Meatpacking District-based games company responsible for the popular “Dots” and “Two Dots” games on iOS and Android.
The two free games combined have been downloaded 100 million times across the two platforms. Dots Co-Founder and CEO Paul Murphy lists the Big Apple as its biggest market, and for good reason.
“We tend to lean pretty heavily into New York,” Murphy told amNewYork. “We market here. We promote the game here. We’re just gonna feed the New York community, in particular, as much as we can.”
The next metaphorical meal for the five boroughs is “Dots & Co,” another free release that hit the Apple App Store and Google Play Store on Thursday. The new title builds on the formula of its predecessors, continuing the focus on what Murphy calls a “peaceful, Zen experience” aesthetically while solving puzzles.
During the two years “Two Dots” has been on the market, the team has created in excess of 700 levels through periodic updates. For some players, even that wasn’t enough.
“We released an update to ‘TwoDots’ [recently] and we had a handful of people that wrote us [about] 30 minutes later [saying], ‘All right, that was great. Can we have more content?’ ” said Murphy, who founded in 2013 Dots alongside COO Patrick Moberg. “I mean, it takes us a month to create 25 levels because there’s heavy asset creation.”
“Dots & Co” launched with more than 150 levels, but Murphy hopes some technical changes on their end will make it easier to release updates faster.
“What we did in ‘Dots & Co’ is we made that process a lot easier without removing the focus on the art and animation so we can get content out faster which, hopefully, will keep people happier.”
The Dots team, which has grown from a team of 10 to 50 employees, places a great deal of emphasis on art and design, and the first game’s roots reflect that. Moberg, the more development-centric of the two founders, was inspired after seeing a piece of art in Japan that depicted a city painted in dots. From there, he built prototypes for what became the first “Dots,” and he and Murphy decided to make what Murphy called “the simplest, most minimal game possible.”
They launched “Dots” as a sort of experimental venture and realized they had struck the right nerve when it received 20 million downloads in its first year.
Although they didn’t profit off the first game, which Murphy noted had “no monetization strategy whatsoever,” the team conceived a the more commercially-driven sequel with higher production values a year later.
Murphy said “Dots & Co” will continue to avoid spamming and keep popups to a minimum. Although there are no ads in the game, Murphy said “we might change that at some point, but right now we’re keeping the process pretty simple … [and] as elegant as possible.”
Who wouldn’t want a little more beauty and elegance on their subway commute?