When you think of cutting-edge, innovative gaming studios, your mind might not instantly go to Latin America. However, many gaming studios in the region are proving their worth, and may soon be able to contend with bigger players from North America and Europe.
Brazil alone had an amazing 880 gaming studios in 2019 – positioning it as LATAM’s leader in game development. Argentina and Mexico followed with 150 and 80 studios respectively.
LATAM is fertile ground for gaming growth, with mobile gaming thriving in the region as smartphone access and internet penetration expand. It’s no surprise then, that both users and creators are experiencing continuous growth – in Mexico, for example, game revenue grew by 77% from 2009 to 2020, and regional industry growth spiked during the pandemic. LATAM gaming studios put a unique spin on their videogames and are known for their creative flair, embracing different genres, and now, for integrating cutting-edge technologies.
As more established studios continue to grow and new players emerge, it’ll pay to keep your eye on the best gaming studios in LATAM. Here’s our list of the top five.
Mexico-based Kokonut Studio focuses on using emerging technologies to create cutting-edge experiences. In addition to creating its own games and apps, Kokonut Studio also offers web and mobile development services, which have allowed it to stand out as an up-and-coming tech startup in Mexico.
Just one of Kokonut Studio’s successes is “Sky Hero,” an immersive mobile game where the player’s physical location influences their in-game surroundings. Other top Kokonut-made games include racing games “Hot Wheels” and “Chavo Kart.”
Since the success of “Sky Hero,” Kokonut Studios has partnered with big LATAM brands to build other mobile games, such as “Facechamp.” “We see every project as an independent business,” said CCO, Nadim Matuk. “I think each product is like a new startup because they have different audiences and goals. This is something that has helped us to differentiate who our audience is and who we are designing for.”
Creators of the LATAM trivia hit “Preguntados” (“Trivia Crack” in English), Argentinian studio Etermax is a true LATAM gaming leader. The gaming studio has an international team of over 450 people and is known for its use of artificial intelligence to build innovative, user-centric products.
Etermax’s “Trivia Crack” surged to success after its release in 2013, with more than 600 million downloads worldwide and 150 million active annual users, and a whole host of offshoot games, including “Trivia Crack 2” and “Trivia Crack Adventure.” The company is also the creator of “Word Crack,” a brain training and word testing mobile game.
Etermax recently announced partnerships with global toy company Mattel to create “Trivia Crack The Board Game,” and with multiplayer competitions platform Skillz, to create a live, competitive-style version of “Trivia Crack” with real-world rewards.
Chile-based Iguana Bee was founded nine years ago and develops creative and immersive games for multiple platforms and devices. Iguana Bee is responsible for “MonsterBag,” a puzzle-turned-videogame, which was the first Latin American video game launched by Sony Worldwide Studios for its PS Vita console. In “MonsterBag,” a bag-shaped monster – named “V” – has to overcome a series of adventures and obstacles to be reunited with his friend Nia.
Iguana Bee also created “G.I. Joe Operation Blackout” and “Headsnatchers” — both multiplayer games which promise hours of fun, as well as Ciclania, a children’s game about climate change which won the award for the best educational video game in Chile in 2014.
Hoplon is a Brazilian game development and publishing company that specializes in multiplayer and free-to-play games. The company’s headquarters may be based on Brazil’s dreamy Florianópolis island, but players of its games span the globe.
Hoplon’s most popular games include single and multiplayer games “Heavy Metal Machines,” “Apocalypse: Party’s Over,” and “Taikodom.” MOBA game “Heavy Metal Machines” was released in 72 countries and in an impressive eight different languages. When questioned about going global with the game, the Hoplon team said, “We always try to respect cultural differences, and create elements that bind everyone into a healthy community.” The studio also prides itself in being a certified Great Place to Work.
IronHide Game Studio
Specialists in mobile gaming, IronHide Game Studio is an indie game development company founded in Uruguay. The company created the famous “Kingdom Rush,” which has over 130 million players around the world and led to multiple offshoot games, including “Kingdom Rush Frontiers” and “Kingdom Rush Origins.”
In addition, IronHide Game Studio created popular mobile games “Iron Marines” and “Clash of the Olympians.” This year, the company ventured into a new games genre, launching its first RPG game, “Legends of Kingdom Rush,” as well as announcing the soft launch of its new tower defense game, “Junkworld,” on Google Play.
LATAM gaming studios will only pick up speed as the industry expands and player numbers grow. With the help of cutting-edge technologies, creative developers, and growing international attention, the region can expect to see a boom of gaming innovation and market-topping apps over the coming years.