What a year 2022 has been!

In this issue: I wanted to share my favorites on what I put out on EGD this year, your favorites in “read and listen” numbers, favorite inspirational quotes, and a bunch more.

Most read on Elite Game Developers

πŸ’ͺ Saying No and Opting In​

I wrote this piece for you who are getting requests for meetings. You don’t need to take any of those meetings, only the critical ones. This piece helps you to deal with saying now. You can also make it easier for people to say no, by asking them first if they’re up for the request.

“The opt-out is a lot easier since you can essentially point out that you aren’t looking for companies like these or that mentoring or “pick-your-brain” calls isn’t something you have time for.”

πŸ—“ First year of Joakim Syndicate​

This was a perfect one from January. I started my angel syndicate in December 2020, and I’ve done several deals with my angel group. Since I wrote this post, not much has changed, although the syndicate has grown to almost 200 gaming professionals investing in gaming.

If you’re interested in joining the syndicate, please reach out to me on LinkedIn or Twitter, and I’ll happily share details with you.

πŸ₯ Founder dilution​

Founders often try to optimize for less dilution. But when you sign up for the venture-backed path, it always means that you will dilute your ownership several times. It’s not one fundraise, it’s two or three for the ones that exit early, but if you’re going for a long haul, it’s often the case that you end up with less than a quarter of your original ownership. But it’s the name of the game, and this piece addresses all of the founder’s concerns around dilution.

“Funding is meant to take the company to the next stage. You have 1M shares; at a $1M valuation, it’s $1 per share. Raising again at a $5m valuation, and then again at a $20m valuation, you dilute to half the original ownership, but your share goes to $10-$15 per share.”

Most Read “Articles Worth Reading”

Here are the articles I shared this year on EGD News that got the most reads.

πŸ‘©β€πŸ’» What it really means to transition from web2 to web3 games β€” “I’ve had conversations with founders transitioning into the web3 space recently, many of whom come with lots of experience in the traditional gaming space. Based on these conversations and observations on what various studios are doing, I would like to share my perspective of what the transition from web2 to web3 gaming really looks like.”

🏠 Game Studio Fundraising for Dummies β€” “Guess what? Series A was nothing like the initial Seed round of fundraising for us. We encountered several issues throughout our Series A process that surprised me. Adding to the confusion was the completely contradictory advice we would get from investors, advisors, and friends.”

βš–οΈ How to think when balancing a game β€” “The player should be able to advance along his progression vectors even if he is not particularly good at the game. The player should not get stuck. Having a skill should make the player progress faster. Therefore, I would also give a certain amount of trophies to players even after losing a match as a form of a consolation prize.”

Most Listened to Podcast episodes

🏹 Touko Tahkokallio β€” On game creation and founding a new studio​

I got so many messages about this episode when it went live; people loved hearing what Touko had to say after ten years at Supercell. When I look at the download numbers, it’s not the 2nd most listened-to episode on Elite Game Developers, right after the episode I did with Stillfront’s CEO JΓΆrgen Larsson.​

πŸ₯§ Carolin Krenzer β€” Building games with stellar execution​

In January 2022, I recorded this podcast with Carolin Krenzer, co-founder, and CEO of TrailMix, makers of Love & Pies. Caro had worked at companies like Playfish and King, so we spent a lot of time talking about what she learned there to prepare her for doing her own games company. And there’s so much other good stuff shared in this one.

πŸ’° Eitan Reisel β€” Future of games investing​

Eitan is the managing partner at VGames, which does early-stage gaming investing. I asked how Eitan invests when there’s only a team and a pitch deck. Eitan gave me five things he looks at:

1. Team doesn’t have to be experienced in games. Many successful founders haven’t worked in Playtika or Moonactive, which are still amazing. But they must play a lot. They are gamers, especially in the genre they want to build in.

2. Are you a little bit aggressive? It’s an aggressive world. You have to chase the opportunities; you have to fight because we’re in a very crowded world where marketing is very expensive.

3. Did they ever take a product to the world? For me, taking a product from zero to something is more important than taking it from $10 million to $500 million in revenue.

4. Do you understand marketing? You can build amazing products, and you won’t be able to deliver them because if you don’t understand the landscape of marketing. So the combination of marketing and product today is significantly more important.

5. Is the market big enough? Can you reach a million in revenue per day with one to two products?”

Most downloaded templates

πŸ“— Free ebook: Advanced Retention Metrics

I wrote this book two years ago, and it has many ideas I still think about when it comes to attracting players to stay in your game. The coolest bit is where I put you on the spot to think about the experience that the player will have after a year of playing the game: “How engaging is that experience for a player that’s on their 10,000 sessions?”

πŸ—’ Cap Table template​

I’m so glad that people have been using this tool. It’s my cap table management spreadsheet. I wish I would have had something similar when I started previous companies and that I would have methodically followed the dilution per fundraising round.

🀐 NDA One-sided​

The NDA template has been receiving lots of downloads recently. It’s a helpful tool for sharing things with people safely. To learn more about the NDA, check out the link above and watch the instruction video on filling in the NDA with the needed details.

Favorite Quotes

I looked at all the quotes from 2022 that I shared on EGD News, and here are the ones I most liked.

You can accomplish anything in life, provided that you do not mind who gets the credit. β€” Harry S. Truman

Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose. β€” Steve Jobs

The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important. β€” Bob Knight

I can’t make you the smartest or the brightest, but it’s doable to be the most knowledgeable. It’s possible to gather more information than somebody else. β€” Bill Gurley

Final thoughts

The year 2022 was a great year of learning new things. If you didn’t yet read my Annual Review for 2022, you could go to read it here.

No newsletter coming next week; first break ever! 😱

See you again in 2023!

(Photo by Anna Bondarenko)