Helsinki-based Papukaya, a mobile games studio backed by Supercell, has announced that it is shutting down. The startup aimed to redefine mobile gaming for a diverse audience beyond traditional gamers.
Drussila Hollanda, CEO & co-founder of Papukaya mentions in a LinkedIn post, “I have a tough announcement to make: Papukaya is closing down.”
Founded in September 2020 by gaming veterans Drussila Hollanda and Johannes Ahvenniemi, Papukaya set out with a mission to “bring the joy of gaming to new audiences by making novel game experiences that expand the current definition of gaming.”
In October 2021, Papukaya secured $3.1M from Supercell.
“It’s not a decision made lightly”
Hollanda says, “We’ve explored many outside-of-the-box concepts, e.g. a multiplayer dating sim, a photorealistic bed & breakfast fantasy where you interact with characters’ stories, new puzzle mechanics.”
“In 3 years, we’ve output 12+ prototypes, 7 projects and 2 live releases. I’m proud of our boldness to try different ideas and put them in the hands of players as quickly as possible.”
“However, making games is hard. And making games without blueprints, with a more experimental approach, proved to be extremely difficult. Especially for a market that has become more and more challenging to newcomers and where UA has become a whole other game to crack on top of the actual game.”
Hollanda says as she started to understand the nature of the free-to-play (F2P) space, she asked herself bigger questions: “Is F2P truly aligned with our mission?” and “Am I the right leader for success in this context?”
“Despite the temptation to persist with optimism, I concluded that the prudent move for the company is to pause, reflect, and recalibrate our direction.”
Hollanda mentions, “It’s not a decision made lightly and has impacted the whole team, who are some of the best people I’ve worked with.”
Brief about the co-founders
Drussila, with a rich background in mobile and casual games (Digital Chocolate, Rovio, Wooga, Supercell), is passionate about creating games for broad audiences. As an early Supercell employee and Game Lead, she played a key role in titles like Hay Day and Monster World.
She also founded Hive Helsinki, a coding school promoting diversity in tech education. With experience spanning 20+ titles across various platforms, Drussila’s expertise drives the vision of reaching diverse audiences through innovative gaming experiences.
As for Papukaya’s second co-founder & also lead programmer, Johannes Ahvenniemi has a wealth of experience in the industry, including work on 20+ indie games and contributions to major companies like Rovio and Seriously.