Mathias Royer and Guillaume Verlinden, from Tilting Point Barcelona, wanted to take advantage of their visit to the F2P Campus to share 10 best practices when building & growing a mobile game studio during their public talk.
For those who don’t know, Tilting Point is a next-generation games partner that provides top development studios with capital, expert resources, services, and operational support to scale the success of high-quality free-to-play games.
Tip #1: Choose the right location
These days, thanks to the internet, you can choose any city as the location for your studio, but not all of them are really suitable. You have to choose somewhere that isn’t too expensive to live in and where you can easily find talent.
Tip #2: No apple is better than a bad apple
“One bad apple can really break the company. Be careful when you build your team; don’t hire jerks even if they’re brilliant,” said Mathias Royer. When hiring someone it’s advisable to involve the whole team, as they do in Flaregames:
- Standard Skype interviews.
- On-site for one to two days.
- Introduction to the entire company.
- Real-life work situation with a group of five to eight people.
- Group decides whether an offer is made.
Tip #3: Pre-production is key
Research your audience and competition. Use tools like Sensor Tower, GameRefinery or App Annie. Test concepts before building anything. And do CPI tests.
Tip #4: Money = Time to iterate
Making a game can take from one to three years; if you can find alternative revenue paths, you can buy some more time to iterate:
- Take some WFH projects.
- Take over Live Operations from another studio.
- Give support to another team.
- Limit the scope of your first game.
This way you can stop going against the clock, make better decisions and create synergy among the team.
Tip #5: Focus
It’s easier said than done, but focus on a business model and on a type of game. It’ll help you optimize resources.
Tip #6: Always be shipping
Don’t make excuses like, “It’s not ready yet”, “I’m getting feedback from my friends and family” or “My game’s gonna get copied” in order to not release your game. For every excuse there’s a reason to launch it even sooner:
- Get real users’ feedback.
- The longer you wait, the more variables there are, and the harder it is to iterate.
- The earlier you ship, the earlier you kill.
Tip #7: The Swiss Army knife team
Before you look for another company to do analysis, QA, CS, localization, App Store Optimization, User Acquisition or creative marketing, try doing it yourself. This way you can understand its value, judge if you can do it internally and assess the quality of the work if you outsource it.
Tip #8: Culture isn’t just a PowerPoint
Values are a result of your actions, who you hire, what you say and do. Starts on day one and is extremely hard to change.
Tip #9: Reach for the moon
“Growth comes down to a successful and scalable User Acquisition.” Growing is difficult, especially in areas such as cash flow, expertise or the manpower required. For this it is essential to monitor the statistics really well, carry out a good App Store Optimization and be very creative.
Tip #10: Bigger, better, stronger
When it comes to jumping into a new project, it’s advisable to look for a partner who will take care of the Live Ops for you, or find some interesting IP to do a re-skin of your game.