Sulake is known as a pioneer in the gaming industry. The Finnish social entertainment company has already been operating for over two decades and leading the way in multiple areas, from safe games to micropayments. In 2021, Sulake wanted to gain first mover advantage in the field of trendy NFT games. As the company needed to find a skilled NFT developer within days, employing a freelancer from Thriv felt right.
Since Sulake was established, it has always aimed to stay ahead of the curve and be an early adopter for rising trends within the gaming industry. Hence, it was natural for Sulake to see how they could integrate NFTs into their overall strategy. NFT (Non-Fungible Token) games, where players play to earn, had been quietly growing in popularity among hardcore cryptocurrency investors for the past four years, but now they had increasingly started to draw attention of ordinary players as well. “We firmly believe that NFTs will play a crucial role in the future of the gaming industry. By launching an NFT project here at Sulake, we wanted to take our first step toward the rising play-to-earn world”, explains Pasi Hämäläinen, Head of Technology at Sulake.
Sulake wanted to get started with the new project as soon as possible to secure its reputation for pioneering also in the field of NFTs. The company did not want to compromise the development of its existing games by reallocating employees from one department to another, and none of the current employees had previous experience of cryptography-based blockchain technologies used in NFTs. Therefore, doing the project with a freelance NFT developer felt right. “Then suddenly I got a call from Thriv, asking if we would be looking for specialised tech freelancers”, says Hämäläinen and continues, “The timing for our demand and the supply of Thriv was perfect.”
NFT developer found through matchmaking
The first call was followed by Thriv’s candidate proposal the same afternoon, and the next day Sulake already had an interview with the proposed freelance developer. On the day after, contracts between Sulake and the freelancer were signed. Sulake chose to proceed with Phong Le, an experienced full-stack developer from Thriv’s trusted partner company Marvel Consulting. Hämäläinen looks back and summarises: “The entire matchmaking process with Thriv was smooth and seamless. We at Sulake aim to be agile in everything we do, and agility is an aspect that we look for in the partners we work with as well.”
Sulake was particularly impressed by Le’s ability to learn and adapt quickly. “We knew that it would be close to impossible to find a freelance developer with previous experience in NFT game development, as the topic had remained fairly marginal until 2021. Our freelance developer Phong, however, proved to be able to acquire all the necessary skills and knowledge during the project and deliver what was expected from him”, tells Hämäläinen.
The positive experience with Le has encouraged Hämäläinen to hire freelancers from Thriv also in the future. “I would definitely be interested in continuing cooperation with Thriv. I see freelance developers especially useful for projects that require special expertise that cannot be found in-house. Also, if you need to get your project up and running quickly, hiring experienced freelancers is the way to go”, concludes Hämäläinen.
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Sulake in a nutshell
Since 2000, the social entertainment company Sulake has been providing a safe and fun online service for teenagers’ self-expression. Sulake is best known for its legendary social hangout platform Habbo, which has been unifying millions of players all over the world for more than two decades. The most recent game by Sulake, Hotel Hideaway, takes players to a vibrant virtual world full of social adventures and fun activities. Sulake’s mission is to enable its players to meet new people, make friends and give them a place to create.
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