Only a short walk from some of Berlin's most famous landmarks and museums sits Kolibri Games, a Ubisoft mobile studio specializing in idle games - a type of mobile title that requires simple, periodic interaction from the player, has a high degree of automation, and can play on its own during the player's absence. Kolibri Games' first title, Idle Miner Tycoon, has amassed over 150 million downloads worldwide - more than any other mobile idle title available. Since then, the studio has added eight titles to their catalog, including Idle Restaurant Tycoon, Idle High School, and Idle Taxi Tycoon. The studio now has over 120 team members from 40 nationalities comprising 12 teams, including product, marketing, business, data management, and technology development.
More than a game: Founded in 2016 and acquired by Ubisoft in 2020, Kolibri Games is actively developing some exciting new content. Currently, they are working on ways to incorporate idle game mechanics into other mobile game genres, hopefully expanding the idle gaming world in the coming years. According to the studio, idle and tycoon mechanics - in which players manage set tasks and objectives - are closely related to and can be easily integrated in RPG systems. Both genres share a core player interaction revolving around resource management, milestone completion, and optimization. Learn more about this initiative here.
Getting involved: The teams at Kolibri Games are closely involved with the local community, and the studio regularly hosts and attends events for the Berlin technology development sphere. Kolibri Games also partners with GirlCode, a network for female tech professionals around the world. This partnership includes hosting after-work events and sharing upcoming employment opportunities for positions at Kolibri Games. Kolibri also hosts quarterly events as part of their partnership with Vostel, a non-profit volunteer organization. As part of this initiative, team members created plant boxes, beehouses, and butterfly houses to be distributed to local non-profit organizations.
As part of Kolibri Games' yearly Pride month celebrations, the studio hosted "Wisdom & Waffles," a breakfast panel discussion about ways tech companies can provide resources, act as safe spaces, and create inclusive environments for team members who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community. This year's event featured three panelists who offered insights on these topics and welcomed questions from all studio team members. Additionally, Kolibri Games implemented a special Idle Miner Tycoon in-game event - a week-long celebration that reflected pride events happening in Berlin, including the city's Christopher Street Day parade. The game implemented pride flags, street floats, special costumes, and limited-edition goodies for players who participated. These and similar events are part of Kolibri Games' yearly Pride celebrations, and the studio seeks to expand their involvement each year.
Play green: This year,Kolibri Games was a first-time participant in the 2022 Green Game Jam, an annual event hosted by the Playing for the Planet Alliance aiming to bring together video game creatives to discuss new ways to inspire players to take action. For the event, Kolibri featured green updates in Idle Miner Tycoon, including environmentally themed in-game Event Mines, a new Green Idler character, partnership with Ecologi to promote reforestation efforts, and a the creation of a new super manager to help make the idle world a more eco-friendly place.
Let's party! Of course, Kolibri Games isn't all work and no play: Lifted COVID restrictions in Berlin led to 2021 becoming a year of celebration for the studio. Team members love to get together at the studio for rounds of Giant Jenga, table soccer, and even mechanical bull riding! The studio also hosts regular events, including bi-weekly pizza parties, seasonal parties, and a yearly off-site company trip - this year's will be in Austria!
Recently, Kolibri Games also hosted an in-studio game jam, where 17 teams from all departments collaborated, pitched, and created new game ideas and prototypes. In the end, team members received awards for Best Game, Best Visuals, Funniest Game, Most Innovative Idea, and more.
Meet Lauren Wade, Head of Community Management, Customer Service, and Localization at Kolibri Games! Lauren's team focuses on essentially everything that involves talking to players, including one-to-one customer support emails and reviews, social media posts, online moderation, and text localization. Lauren has been in the gaming industry for eight years and is currently in her fourth year at Kolibri Games.
Tell us about yourself: I'm a bit of a language nerd - I've studied eight so far - which helps a lot with the global reach of the work my team does for our live games. Besides languages, I also spend time singing in my local choir and watching a lot of medical dramas. Finally, to answer the ever-burning question, "Cats or dogs?" (where I think the current Kolibri Games average is leaning towards cats) my answer is, "Dwarf hamsters!"
What are some of your favorite projects you've worked on recently? I was recently involved in two projects for Idle Miner Tycoon: The Green Game Jam and our Pride Event Mine. It's always exciting to do something new for the first time on a particular title and to use awesome new artwork in our social media posts.
What about the Kolibri Games studio space inspires you creatively? I love the numerous big windows and the open space! There's so much light and opportunities to get fresh air. In a more abstract sense, I really feed off everyone's motivation and energy - seeing other teams and individuals with so much passion and drive in their disciplines really helps to spark my creativity.
If you had to show new hire all the cool aspects of the Kolibri Games Studio on their first day, where would you take them and what would you show them? I can give you a top three! First, the big and bright meeting rooms on the far side of the building. They feel really refreshing for the brain, and they look out over the Berlin Wall Memorial. Second, the two meeting rooms with the Kolibri storyline - they really help get a grasp of the company. Finally, I would show a new hire how to find the kitchen - it's important to know where the coffee and snacks are! Plus, we have some amazing bakers in the studio who always treat us to homemade cakes and desserts.
What's the best internal studio event you participated in? I really enjoyed our summer boat party this year. Being out on the River Spree here in Berlin was fantastic. We also played a bingo game which sparked my competitive streak! (It paid off, I was second fastest to complete it!) We did a lot of digital events during the various COVID lockdowns, and I loved our murder mystery nights. My group did a wild west theme, and everyone brought their A-game with costumes, getting into character, and making it a really immersive experience.
What's the best spot in the Kolibri Games Studio to grab a coffee or tea? The best place for a social coffee break is hanging out on the sofa in the kitchen. If you want some peace and quiet without resorting to a broom cupboard, then the Noodle Palace meeting room is a great spot. It's got a comfy chair, table, lamp, and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto two intersecting corridors. It's a great spot to have a rest while still waving and smiling at anyone going past.
Panos Semitekolos, Kolibri Games' Lead Brand and PR Team Manager, has been with Ubisoft since 2019. We asked him a few burning questions about everyday life at the Kolibri Games studio.
What are some of your favorite projects you've worked on recently? Some of my favorite recent projects include launching the company's sustainability program as part of our drive towards carbon neutrality. This was a really important project for us because we really want to play an active role in moving the gaming industry towards being more eco-friendly, and it was a great way to involve people within the company in our initiative. Another cool project was the organization of our Pride 2022 panel, which included members of Ubisoft's Global Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility team as panelists. As part of this project, we livestreamed our talk about ways that Kolibri Games team members can help create a more inclusive space for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
What about the Kolibri Games studio inspires you creatively? I see Kolibri Games as a company that truly values its people and its teams. It's something that comes out in the day-to-day office life: Through the events we organize and the extent to which we invest in people's personal development here.
If you had to show a new hire all the cool aspects of the Kolibri Games Studio on their first day, where would you take them and what would you show them? I would take them around everywhere in our new office! We moved to our current location at the end of 2021 and it's great to work from an office that feels fresh and really represents the company and our games.
What's the best internal studio event you participated in? One exciting event that I helped organize was Kolibri Asks, where we had team members submit questions they would like to have answered by our Managing Director. After the submissions came in, we all voted on the top 10 most interesting ones. This really allowed for an open dialogue where everyone could have their most pressing questions answered. It's important for me and my team to foster a transparent environment centered around open communication, and this event was a great step in that direction.
What is your favorite way to foster teamwork among your fellow team members? My advice is to be open and willing to communicate. Our team members are friendly people who want to work together towards a good cause and impactful projects.
What's the best spot in the Kolibri Mobile Studio to grab a coffee or tea? On our terrace! Especially when the weather is good, our office terrace is a great place enjoy a great view of the surrounding area.
Interested in joining the Kolibri Games team? The studio is currently hiring for a variety of positions within the games, engineering, and service teams. Interested parties can apply at www.kolibrigames.com/career.