Astraware's History

We’ve been around for quite some time, so there’s pages and pages of possible history, but here’s a concise version!

During our University years (early 90s) we formed ‘Astrasoft’ – a partnership making software for the Atari ST and then PC computers, which really was a hobby that happened to make pizza money. Around 1997, David bought a Palm Pilot handheld organizer, and began to program for it. We worked on some games, still as a hobby, until we made a particularly successful one called Zap!2000 which was released on 1st January 2000. That was enough for us to go full time into mobile development, making more games as we went along. We landed some lucky deals, including creating some conversions of some great Midway games including Spy Hunter, Joust, Sinistar and more – which we really enjoyed making to an incredibly tight schedule!

The early 2000’s saw us expand taking on our first employees, programmers, artists, customer support, QA staff, and admin. During this time we started to license some great titles from within the nascent casual games industry. Amongst these, Bejeweled was particularly great for us as it was perfect for the stylus screens of the devices of that time, and we were able to expand to create many more games for devices from Palm, Handspring, Sony, and many more. During this time we attracted a fantastic group of enthusiastic (and brave!) beta testers, who took great pride in testing our latest builds on their devices and giving us critical feedback via our forums.

We also worked hard on creating our own IP with quite a range of games, but the most important for us have been our ‘evergreen’ titles of Astraware Sudoku, Casino, Solitaire, Board Games, Mahjong, which have been active products for us for many years, enjoyed by people as they have moved to different titles.

In 2008 Astraware had successfully grown (with a few ups and downs along the way) to a 20+ person sized company, with an office on Keele University campus. At this time Astraware was acquired by a US company called Handmark, based in Kansas City. While it continued to run as an independent studio in the UK, the development was geared to supporting Handmark’s growth as a media and entertainment company, providing storefronts to a range of manufacturers. The advent of the iPhone changed the way the store market worked, and with the viability of the model meaning that the Studio might face closure, we worked on spinning out Astraware once again as a separate company from the start of 2010, retaining as many staff as we could.

Since then we’ve worked closely with Barnes & Noble to create games supporting the NOOK range of devices, in particular creating Astraware Crosswords, which is bundled along with the Nook HD and HD+ devices, and has many tens of thousands of loyal players each day working on our daily puzzles and submitting their times. Adding more puzzle games to this range has recently become the mainstay of Astraware, with our Codewords, Word Games, Wordsearch, Kriss Kross and more being incredibly popular!

Being an ‘indie’ developer has its downsides though, as revenue isn’t as reliable and with some lean winters we shrank in size, until in 2014 we decided to become a 2-person dev team once again, wearing all of the hats ourselves, but this time having a history, portfolio and (most importantly) experience behind us!

Right now we’re mostly supporting Android and iOS phones and tablets, with a core group of games that we can keep updated, while gradually working on new titles to add to the mix – stay tuned to see what we add!