David is the technology expert with an eye for graphic design and a strong sense of the best way to architect projects to last. David was the original founder of Astraware, back in the days when memory was measured in bytes and graphics had to be designed on graph paper.
Howard‘s expertise in what makes a game fun and usable has been behind the longevity of our many successful puzzle and arcade games. With an uncanny eye for finding ways to solve problems that don’t seem to be possible, Howard has created algorithms that are the engine of many of our games.
What We Do
We create games that we believe people want to play.
Right now, that means games of our own design, funded and made by us, and published ourselves.
In the past we’ve done contract development for other companies, commissioned work from others, licensed IP to make handheld versions, and published games and software on behalf of other developers. We’ve worked with so many companies and friends this way it’s hard to keep count!
But we keep on coming back to the heartbeat of Astraware, making great games that people love to play.
How we make our money
Although we occasionally (rarely) do some custom development work for other companies, we mostly make our money from…
- Selling games on the various app stores (for our ‘full’ version games)
- Selling in-app purchases within games – extra puzzle packs, extra features, or going ‘ad-free’ in some games.
- Providing free puzzles with adverts shown (before or after), or other items (such as sponsored surveys) to earn in-game credits.
We do our best to make games run on as wide a selection of devices as possible – usually we try to support devices from around the last 5 years – many of the fans of our games are a more (ahem) mature audience and typically don’t change to new devices every year.
Our main focus at the moment is games with regular daily content to enjoy – with the option to play for free (with adverts) or to unlock and remove adverts or add extra content packs.
Getting In Touch
If you have a support request – please use our Support Page which will mean that we get the right information to help you out, as well as keeping a ‘ticket’ which allows us to track our support properly.
If you have a business question – please email Howard directly!
Please do contact directly if
You need development work to create a game, app, or other technical creation.
You’re a freelance musician, sound designer, 2D or 3D artist, who would like us to keep you in mind for future projects
You have a sales channel or promotion website and would like to include our apps
You have an advertising network and would like to have us advertise for you.
You would like to assist us in getting one of our games into your local language (enthusiastic translators are always welcome.)
You are a media member or reviewer and want to review any of our games or know more about them (or us!)
You’re another game developer and you want to work on a cross-promotion (we love those!)
You are a supplier of tea, beer, hobnobs, pizzas or fudge, and you would like to provide your products to us for ‘testing’.
We are not interested in any contact whatsoever from recruitment agencies. We have no vacancies. If your candidate was truly exceptional, they’d have read this page already, and understood ‘we don’t have any job vacancies’.
We’re not looking to outsource any development work (or indeed anything technical!) out to another company. We do our own development (apps, games, website, servers, databases), thankyou very much! We also do our own QA testing and customer support.
We’re not wanting to buy paid installs of our games, thanks, nor for paid blog articles.
We don’t need : Watercoolers, cleaning services, phones, mobile phones, internet connectivity, vehicles, stationery supplies, websites, server hosting, SEO services, analytics, monitoring, marketing tools, QA services, web design, customer support services, HR, admin, accounting, legal, investment advice, recruitment assistance, or any other similar services.
Here is a list of our current suppliers of everything (software or otherwise) who we’re happy with.
Where We Are
We work from a small office near to Newcastle-under-Lyme, in North Staffordshire, UK.
Our office address is : Unit 6, Brock Way, Knutton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire ST5 6AZ, United Kingdom
You can reach us on 01782 623618 – but email is usually the best way! (We get too much phone spam nowadays!)
Astraware is a privately owned UK Limited Company, company number 3940683, VAT number 771 4474 18.
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! We moved our Beta Testing to a Facebook Group (we’re still happy to accept new recruits!), and we also do our best to keep everyone updated on what’s happening at Astraware on our Facebook Page too – we’d be delighted if you follow 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!
If that’s not exhaustive enough, then here’s a more complete list of our history and milestones and a hefty list of our Press Releases!