Like many good stories, ours began in the good traditions of "garage" startups in 2002. For the first 3 years the company worked on the shareware model and consisted of students who really wanted to learn how to make games. We released some simple arcades: Pacboy, Battleman, Star Defender, Bombardix, Xoid and Blade Master. At the end of 2004 Star Defender 2 came out and this game gave us a quantum leap forward and turned us into a game studio.
Star Defender’s success allowed us to form a company in 2005, move into an office, and raise the quality of our games. We released a few more midcore-games: Alien Stars, Star Defender 3, Star Defender 4, and strengthened relationships with publishers and moved into the more promising casual-game market.
In 2007, we released Cradle of Rome, the world’s first match-3 game with meta-gameplay. This innovation allowed users not only to pass levels, but also to build their own city, which provided new levels and game mechanics. All of this led to the great success of Cradle of Rome, which stayed at the top of casual-game publishers charts for a year, and was downloaded more than 10 million times! It was a great achievement for a team of 10 people.
Cradle of Rome’s success gave a start to the company’s rapid growth. Over the next 4 years, we grew to 70 people, continued working on match-3 games and also tried the hidden-objects genre. We released the highly profitable Cradle Of Persia, Romance Of Rome, Golden Trails, Golden Trails 2, Golden Trails 3, Letters from Nowhere, Letters from Nowhere 2, and Cradle Of Rome 2.
In 2011, the casual-game market started to stagnate on PC and Mac, due to the influence of new Social and Mobile platforms. We spent 3 years switching our production to Mobile platforms and setting up a marketing department. Our first attempts to create something new for mobile platforms failed. We had to cut the number of projects from 7 to 2, optimize everything we could, and take a loan to keep the company going for another six month.
Since its inception, Cradle of Empires has undergone a major transformation: we redesigned the city map, released an intro that seamlessly introduces the player to the game's story, and significantly reimagined the narrative and levels. The successes of Cradle of Empires formed the basis for our new game, Cradle of Maya, which will be released in 2023.
Early 2014, we were working on two projects: Letters from Nowhere Playground in collaboration with publisher’s producers (this project eventually failed) and Cradle of Empires.
In Summer 2014, we released Cradle of Empires on iOS. The product immediately showed good metrics, reaching the Top-10 Grossing charts in many countries, and caused Awem’s growth. As a next step, we expanded to Android and Mac right away