16-Year-old App Entrepreneur Brandon Kynoch could be SA’s Best Tech Export

Updated on 2 July 2018

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The 16-year-old Brandon Kynoch of Johannesburg is receiving a high number of 5-star reviews for his game Torus after it became a big hit internationally.

According to a press release from public relations group Total Exposure, Kynoch’s game Torus was downloaded 100,000 times during its first 24 hours on the App Store.

The App Store chose his game Torus. as its Game of the Day in 137 App stores worldwide. The game’s other accolades include the number one spot in Free Action Games, number two in Free Arcade Games and number five in All Free Games.

This is the first time that a South African’s game has achieved such broad coverage on the App Store globally, said Total Exposure.

Kynoch, a St Stithians College learner in Johannesburg says creating mobile games has taught him to become a more skilled developer. “[It] also taught me so much about what makes a game successful and enjoyable.”

I realised that game development is the perfect combination of art and programming

A teen entrepreneur

Kynoch started his business, Hard Graft Studios before he launched his first game, “Blast: A Tank Game”, on the App Store. “I was 16 years old. I released the game under a studio name because I wanted to start building up a reputation for my own studio; a studio that my players will remember and expect high quality games from,” he explained.

“It is the start of growing my one-man studio into a triple A game development studio.”

Kynoch was one of the national winners of Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair last year.

“There were multiple gold medal winners at the nationals, I was one of them,” he said. “However, I wasn’t chosen to go to the internationals.

“My expo project is essentially the navigation system that I had created for my game, Blast. I simply took the work from my game, put it together in a nice demo application, created documentation on it, and this became my expo project.”

Self-taught developer and entrepreneur

For as long as Kynoch can remember, he’s always loved video games and had a huge interest in technology. “I did graphics design and after about two years of focusing on graphics and digital art I picked up an interest in programming. I then downloaded a bunch of software, and started teaching myself through free learning resources on the internet.

“I realised that game development is the perfect combination of art and programming.

He adds: “Ever since I have been developing games purely for the fun of it, and to improve my skills.”
Kynoch has also learned learnt C# and Java and used C# to develop his app. He says he has a huge interest in algorithms and algorithm analysis.

Future plans

His aim is to grow his one-man studio into a triple A game development studio after he matriculates. Kynoch plans to study computer science at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) or Stanford University in the United States of America.

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