Notre Histoire

At Madbox, we pursue one dream; creating games that will make billions of people smile.

The foundation of that dream is based completely upon people, Casually Mad ones. This is because we believe that casual people can achieve Mad things given the right culture and the proper mindset.
‹In order to support our ambitious journey to achieve this dream, we set out to build Madbox around key pillars. These would define the world in which our story could be written.

Welcome to the beginning of our journey

Chapitre 1

A Tales of Two Studios

The origin story of Madbox originally started in 2015 with the forming of two passionate game Maker studios: Chou Entertainment and MadJoh.

MADJOH

Born in 2015, MadJoh was created by Maxime & Jonathan, still just students at this time, to pursue one ambition: “Connect millions together” based on creativity and technology.

With an intense desire to bring global audiences an all new experience, MadJoh began creating two ambitious projects. Joined early by three passionate game makers, development started from our office, Maxime’s bedroom. With an intense desire to bring global audiences an all new experience, MadJoh began creating two ambitious projects. Joined early by three passionate game makers, development started from our office, Maxime’s bedroom.

In 2016, we started with the development of JusDare, a social network with the goal to gamify people's lives with unique challenges. After 10 months of development we decided to launch our first product. Despite all the passion and love MadJoh had poured into it, player feedback and KPIs didn’t meet our expectations. We decided to kill this project and start a brand new game.Versus, a multiplayer Party Games with over 20+ mini-games that could be played on a single device or online with friends. After 6 months of development and 4 months of iteration, we failed to retain players, then the MadJoh team decided to shut down the game

Equipped with a host of new learnings, MadJoh was ready to embark on its next challenge where a new game, Tribs.io, was born. This game was based on a childhood game called ‘Chicken, Snake and Fox’.

In order to create this, MadJoh after a first round of small pre-seed financing, decided to reinforce the team with new employees that matched both the culture company dream and ambition.

Tribs.io immediately saw strong growth, gaining traction on the web with more than 1,000,000 players in the first month alone. Shortly after, the mobile version followed with very promising metrics. After less than 6 months, MadJoh had its first real time multiplayer game out on mobile and web. With multiple game iterations, tech hurdles and difficulty in making the game sustainable, Tribs.io was sunsetted and the project closed.

Killing Tribs was a tough moment for the company, we added a lot of our heart, time and passion to this one and it was putting pressure on our small in-house studio.

With the decision made and another game ended, MadJoh went bold (despite the negative financial outlook).

  • Strengthen the team's ability to create games quicker and learn from them. To do this, the last few months of earnings were invested in bringing on new mad talent to join what could be MadJoh’s final and last dance. Leading to Mad memories where some team members weren’t living in Paris and then were welcomed by the rest of the team, strengthening Madjoh culture and passion.
  • Overhauled the structure of the game production teams and reduced the number of people per team while also giving each full ownership in game ideation and execution.
  • Provide complete transparency to all regarding the financial saturation of the company and what was truly at stake.

6 months. That was all the time that was left for MadJoh to finally make a game that would reach the hearts of players. 4 months in, MadJoh had already released their 15th game prototype to the market. With each prototype came new learnings that were rapidly shared amongst the teams. Each team was made up of two people divided into 4 mini-squads. This gave everyone a high amount of energy and the velocity that was needed to go alongside the level of ownership that they had.

Metrics were getting better and it was only a matter of time before MadJoh would have a hit on their hands. And with that, the confidence in the team’s performance, coupled with the positive culture, the call to raise funds was near.

And then, the unexpecteded happened...

CHOU

Chou was a mobile gaming studio founded in 2015 by Jean-Nicolas, with a team of 5 passionate game makers. With lots of explorationheart, and heartexploration, the Chou team worked for 18 months on their first game, Sand Wars., This gamewhich was an asynchronous, PvP strategy game set in a colorful tropical environment where you draw the path forof the tower defense lines. At launch, both the App Store and Google Play stores both featured Sandwars, which was a great achievement for all the hard work put in by the team. Unfortunately, the game metrics did not work well and about 2 months after its launch, the Chou team learnt the hard way that big production times would not be predictive of big success.

After this first let down, the CHOU Team decided to embark on athe mobile-VR journey in 2017, which was still inat its very early days. The rationale was to surf a new computing platform wave and hopefully benefit from pioneering the VR era. The CHOU team developed West Gangs, a VR Western Showdown game, in about 8 months. This was hHalf the production time of the previous game. While West Gangs was featuredwasbecame featured inon the Google Daydream and Samsung VR stores, once again, the success had not been found either.

At the end of 2017, with very little left in the way of cash but still the same passion, there was only one shot remaining to save the studio from a doomed fate. The CHOU team decided to go all in on what would be their final test as game makers; betting everything on gameplay skills and doing it as fast as possible.And the best area to prove it was in the early-rising hypercasual wave on the mobile app stores.

Sand Wars had been developed in 18 months. West Gangs in 8 months. Duck Slam, the first hypercasual game from CHOU, took only 2 days. No need to look for it on the Appstore :) Verdict: Retention D1 was above 50%, which actually slammed the team.
After 3 years, and many learnings, we then forged one very strong belief; gameplay is king and great gameplay can be tested quickly. And the best arena to train, learn, and build or core loop & gameplay skills would become the hypercasual space.

Sand Wars

PROMANCE

Okay it’s time to reconnect both stories.

Some moments cannot be explained by simple rationality. On the morning of April 25th, in the spring of 2018, both Maxime and John met with Jean at the le Lézard Café in the center of Paris. This coffee talk, which was supposed to last only 45 minutes as a get-to-know each other in the Paris gaming space, became a 4h impassioned discussion around games, teams, company culture, and of course, the dream studios each would like to build.

Until we removed, at the end of the discussion, the -s of studios to discuss the opportunity to build our dream studio together. Maxime dreamt of seeing millions play the studio's creations everywhere he went, like when taking the subway. Jean-Nicolas has the goal of building a highly creative team willing to embark on an epic journey in game making from hypercasual, into uncharted territory. John would round out the group's ambitions by developing automation tools aimed at accelerating game development cycles and their scalability.

All of this plus a culture that each would love with teams in a casual mindset. And with that mad ambition, a bromance was born which is now known as the 'Promance'.

The next step would be to see if teams would also fall in love, professionally, with each other. After a couple of meetings, and some beers obviously, it became clear that MadJoh and Chou teams were also eager to work together, on top of super complementary skill sets.

Heading to a well known video games enthusiast hangout called the Reset Bar, everyone brainstormed what would be the company's name moving forward. This sequence in time was completely mad and very unusual. So it was decided to keep this aspect in the name. In May 2018, Madbox was born with 17 excited Madboxers.

Chapitre 2

Millions are playing

Juillet 2018

Two game makers (one from CHOU and one from MadJoh) decided to develop a game together in only 2 weeks. After the summer holidays, we tested the game in the app stores and the metrics looked incredible. Dash Valley broke the Top 50 downloads on iOS, just 3 months after we met. We also thought this would be the highlight of the year and once again, we were wrong.

Octobre 2018

Another team of casually mad game makers decided to create a one-button, physics-based rope slinging game that focuses on an exceptional game feel, Stickman Hook.

After a few short weeks of testing, we knew we had something amazing on our hands. Something that we could scale into what would become our first global hit. In one of those mad moments, we decided to speak with our lead investor and told them that we were considering investing 100% of our capital over 3 weeks, to scale our game to the top of the charts. With a candid, yet sharp, discussion we decided to take the shot.

FĂ©vrier 2019

Stickman Hook reached #1 across the world and in both the App Store and on Google Play.

Today, Stickman Hook is still bringing enjoyment to the world with over 200 million downloads.

Septembre 2019

The Madbox family got bigger with the opening of the Barcelona Studio, led by former friends and colleagues from previous gaming studios.

En 2020

In 2020, despite COVID and the creativity challenges it brought due to remote working, the Madbox team managed to scale Parkour Race and Idle Ants to the Top 10 on the charts once again.

Chapitre 3

Let’s shift the table and pursue our dreams

Creativity is about taking risks and being able to adapt to our environment to ensure we pursue our dreams


You dream about giving smiles to millions of people, with your creation or with the creation of your outstanding colleagues you can join us here.

Do you have a mad ambition as well and want to create enjoyment for the world alongside the Casually Mad? Then discover our values and take the Madbox test! Find out more about us on our careers page.

It’s still the beginning, everything is still to write

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