EGD News #42 — Underdogs

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It’s Joakim here. Greetings from Helsinki! I’m back at the home office, working on all sort of new things.

I’ve noticed that I’m more inclined to write todos on physical paper, and then build notes on the computer. Finally getting into Roam Research a bit more and have been developing a system there. Will be sharing more about both during the fall and how those can be applied to game development.

On to the news.

📄 Underdogs

Talent and culture are everything for a gaming startup, to actually defy the odds of the hit driven nature of the games industry.

How do you get talent?

Well, you look for the underdogs. The people who have been in large gaming corporations for close to a decade, or even more, and who know everything about the industry, but are regarded as not the top talent, not the people who would get the chance to build the next big game project at this big corporation.

Read full article.

📝 Templates

This week, the EGD site got a new section: the templates!

This is the collection of templates we’ve put together at Elite Game Developers. I hope you get the most out of them 🤗

🎙 Company Culture In Gaming

In this week’s podcast episode, I’m talking about the ten tools for building a strong company culture in gaming — things like trust, values, rituals, and the pact between the employer and employee.

Then I cover the behaviors, surfacing problems, and hiring for culture. I talk about a bottoms-up culture, how to react to hard times, and how to keep curiosity to improve the culture.

Listen to the episode.

📃 Matthew Ball on Invest Like The Best

Occasionally, I take notes on specific podcasts and videos. This interview with essayist Matt Ball is a really good one. It’s long, almost two hours, but it’s so worth it. I’ve gone through it three times and still learning.

Here are my notes from this interview. On IP in gaming, TV and movies. Then how gaming is becoming bigger. How the metaverse and cloud gaming are coming but not there yet. And then on how Matt sees investing into games.

💵 Embracer Group acquires 8 new studios incl. DECA Games

This is a huge move in gaming M&A. THQ Nordic’s parent organization Embracer Group has acquired several studios, including DECA Games, who we talked to on the EGD podcast last spring.

DECA Games is interesting since they have been doing an interesting format of gaming M&A, where they acquire “older” live games from developers, who’ve started to focus on new projects. DECA’s thesis is that their live operations capabilities can breathe new life to the titles, and it has reported success with older titles.

A few words on Embracer Group. In a recent GameMakers M&A panel, Michael Metzger from Drake Star Partners pointed out that Embracer Group is taking leaps lately: “Some companies have grown only through M&A, like Embracer, who were really tiny three years ago, but have executed a successful M&A strategy.”

I’ll cover Embracer’s moves in a more detailed article in the future.

🤔 Co-founders at a VC partner meeting

This is something I’ve been thinking about. If several co-founders present at a VC partner meeting, the CEO should preferably do over 50% of the talking.

But, other co-founders need to do at least 25% of the talking. We can express this as the following inequalities:

  • 25%-50% other co-founders talking
  • and 50%-75% of CEO talking

Also, keep the talking concise, so that the partners can cover all the things they had in mind.

Read my article on How To Pitch Over Video Calls.

📃 Articles & podcasts worth your time

+ Stillfront released it’s Q2/2020 highlights — I’ve been following Stillfront for a while now and they just released their Q2 numbers, which are impressive. Revenues were up 148% from Q2/2019. CEO Jörgen Larsson says “The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have an impact on the Group’s performance due to the strong inflow of new users in the second quarter as well as increased activity within existing user bases, even though we expect a more normalized pattern including seasonality effects for the second half of the year.”

+ Paradox posts record Q2 revenue and profits — More good news from Sweden. Paradox Interactive has had an awesome Q2 under COVID lockdowns. Revenues are up 20% year-on-year at €45m for Q2. “The second quarter came with a major increase in our capacity and competence to develop and publish games – both through organic growth and through acquisitions,” said Paradox CEO Ebba Ljungerud.

+ Impact of COVID-19 on mobile games in H1 2020 and beyond — This article shows the stats around the fact that growth in the games industry is not slowing down. People are still in lockdowns and there’s not much safe entertainment outside of the house before there’s a vaccine. “While there was a clear jump in Q1, Q2 2020 saw an even sharper increase in both new installs and revenue, with the latter playing catch-up.”

+ IDFA – Everything You Ought to Know — This is a great discussion on what’s going on with Apple, iOS14 and the IDFA. It’s relevant for any mobile game maker, marketer and executive. What’s going to happen in Q3-Q4 2020? Eric Seufert: “I think Hyper-Casual goes away as a viable genre”

💬 Quote that I’m thinking about

“The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.” — Steven Pressfield


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That’s it for this week. Stay safe and stay well!

Joakim


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