The rise, fall, and rise of MDickie—or, how to be the best worst game developer
Recently, Mat Dickie boarded a train out of London and came across a kid, face-down in a smartphone game, sitting in Dickie's ticketed seat. As the furious tapping played out in front of him, Dickie contemplated whether he should hassle this transit gamer or just find an empty spot elsewhere. The solution ultimately revealed itself when the developer got close enough to catch a glimpse of the boy's screen: Wrestling Revolution 3D.
By now, the sports simulator gaming genre is as tried and true as sports itself. The Football Manager franchise has been delighting international audiences for 25 years-plus, nudging even stateside developers to take notice within the last decade (how else do you explain Madden spin-off, NFL Head Coach, sneaking into a release cycle full of familiar 2K titles?). But Wrestling Revolution 3D holds an unusual position within this landscape—it's the genre's most unexpected yet successful mobile title.
In 2017, Wrestling Revolution 3D became the first sports sim to surpass 50 million downloads. Today, the Google Play Store lists it in the "50,000,000 to 100,000,000" download category. Officially licensed games from the UFC and WWE, for comparison, stall at around 10 million downloads. Dickie knows all this because he's not only a fan—he's a long-time independent developer better known as MDickie. Wrestling Revolution 3D is his most successful game to date.