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The software development company that created SMASH MonstersA Thinking Ape (ATA) are a small group of ambitious software engineers who value "ownership, creative freedom, data driven decisions and a meritocracy over hierarchy". [1]

"We take pride in building all our products from the ground up. From scalable real-time platforms to beautiful, captivating animations, we pay attention to every facet of design." [2]

Today, ATA are one of the top grossing developers on the Apple App Store worldwide.

Founded: 2008
Co-Founders: Kenshi Arasaki, Wilkins Chung & Eric Diep
Employees: 50 [3]


A Thinking Ape (ATA) are relocated from Sillicon Valley to Vancouver, Canada in January 2011 [4].

Kenshi Arasaki, Co-founder of ATA spoke to Quora about why they decided to set up their office in Vancouver.

"We were in Silicon Valley during our early stages, and that suited us well. Now that we're in a high-growth stage, Vancouver is the ideal place for us to be."
"A few secondary reasons that we opened up an office in Vancouver:
  • All of the founders are originally Canadian, and we love this city
  • It's a short flight away from SF and the Bay Area where our friends/connections/investors are
  • Government subsidies like SRED and IRAP
  • Lower cost of living compared to the Bay Area" [5]


"When we started ATA, we realized that we had not one, but two product lines: our mobile games and the internal culture of our company. When we prioritized our culture as a product, we committed to providing it with the same attention and sense of urgency towards improvement as our consumer facing games." [6]

"We focus on really challenging technical problems — a few areas in which we’ve innovated include:

  • backend distributed systems to support millions of players
  • sophisticated analytics infrastructure
  • virtual economic theory
  • graphics and animation pipelines
  • building complex emergent behavior in online communities [7]
  • We are currently one of the highest-grossing mobile developers in the world."

"ATA’s games are “thin veils over really amazing chat rooms ... our games are just excuses for people to socialize.” [8]

Other chat rooms/games produced by A Thinking Ape include...

Read More

A Thinking Ape Discontinues Two Popular Games Due to User Drop-Off

"Thinking Ape, a popular Vancouver-based indie gaming studio is discontinuing two of its popular mobile-based games, called Future Combat and Gangs at War." [9]

Developer Spotlight: Eric Diep of A Thinking Ape

"Eric was one of the earliest developers to gain traction on the Facebook platform and the iOS mobile platform and his startup was recently highlighted in the New York Times as one of the top grossing developers on the iPhone platform worldwide" [10]

A Thinking Ape stand up to a Patent Troll

"Patent troll Lodsys became infamous after it extracted a license from Apple only to turn around and sue small iOS app developers for including features like in-app purchasing in their products. But one startup is now taking a stand and has asked a federal court to examine the case ... Lodsys is continuing its shakedown of small app makers by offering them a “licensing solution” they can’t refuse in return for a share of their royalties. The troll’s latest antics came to light this week after a brave Seattle app maker, A Thinking Ape, refused the shakedown and instead asked a federal court to declare that apps like “In Your Dorm” don’t infringe the patents." [11]

A Thinking Ape CEO Shares Why Vancouver and Not Silicon Valley

"After completing Silicon Valley's prestigious Y Combinator program, A Thinking Ape's CEO Kenshi Arasaki decided that the best place to build his company was in Canada". [12]


  1. A Thinking Ape's page on Angel List, viewed 15 May 2015
  2. A Thinking Ape's website, viewed 15 May 2015
  3. Focus on a Client: A Thinking Ape: An Experiment Gone Very Right by Colette Gonsalves, 2 March 2013, Abbott, Stringham & Lynch
  4. A Thinking Ape's Eric Diep: 'We Want to Build the Most Respected Tech Company in Canada', by Knowlton Thomas on TechVibes 30 Mar 30 2012
  5. Why does A Thinking Ape have an Office in Vanouver by Kenshi Arasaki on Quora, 19 Jan 2011
  6. Culture Club: Kenshi Arasaki – A Thinking Ape on by Maura, 8 August 2013
  7. About Us, on A Thinking Ape's Facebook Page, viewed 15 May 2015
  8. Kenshi Arasaki, as cited in A Thinking Ape: When Games are Not Just Games by Kira M. Newman, 8 June 2012,
  9. A Thinking Ape Discontinues Two Popular Games Due to User Drop-Off by Joseph Czikk, 3 September 2014, BetaKit
  10. Developer Spotlight: Eric Diep of A Thinking Ape by Carlo 31 August 2012, [ Wireless Industry Partnership Connector Inc]
  11. Apple scourge Lodsys continues patent rampage against developers, corporations by Jeff John Roberts, 22 May 2012, GigaOm
  12. A Thinking Ape CEO Shares Why Vancouver and Not Silicon Valley 15 May 2014, The C100

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