Few professionals in the industry can boast as much experience as Gerard Fernandez. Since starting his career in 2002 he has worked in companies such as Microjocs and Digital Chocolate, where he was VP and General Manager, until he founded Omnidrone in 2013: a company that has received over $2 million in investment, and that counts among its ranks people with a lot of experience in the field of free-to-play videogames.
Taking advantage of his stay as a mentor at the F2P Campus, we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to interview him and get to know a little more about him and his company.
F2P Campus (F): We’ve noticed that you have a lot of job offers on your website; is it difficult to find talent? Which profiles are the most sought after?
Gerard Fernandez (GF): It’s always hard to find good talent, but now that Barcelona has become a great attraction for all kinds of startups and videogame companies, it’s somewhat more so. Right now we are almost 50 employees and in a year or two we would like to reach 120, so we are in a very important growth phase.
As for profiles, I’d say we’re looking for everything. Although if I had to highlight some, I would say User Experience Designers, Data Analysts and Economy Designers; and then there are the usual programmers, designers…
F: How has the industry changed since you started? Would you say it’s got better or worse?
GF: Other than the way games are played, virtually everything has changed. When I started, free-to-play hardly existed, and now it’s the fashionable business model. This has led to the industry reinventing itself in just a few years, whereas other industries such as music or cinema are still in the process of adapting to the changes brought about by the internet and smartphones. We have not resisted change.
This new model has proven to have great benefits such as zero piracy and the ability to reach many more people, which has increased income. As a result, new jobs have also been created, such as Data Analyst and System Designer.
People don’t make games that are closed anymore; they’re games that stay alive and keep getting updated over long periods of time. Operations have changed completely. When you launch a game, you’re only 10% of the way there.
F: Why did you decide to carry out an investment round when creating Omnidrone? What were you able to do as a result of the funding that would otherwise not have been possible?
GF: The industry has matured a lot and if you want to compete with big companies you have to have a well-trained and professional team. What’s more, you need a lot of money for marketing and user acquisition. The industry has changed so much that just making a good game is no longer enough; you also have to have marketing muscle and a great team to get users and do live ops.
Although, to be honest, it’s not all about money; it’s also very important to know how to scale.
F: What advice would you like to have gotten when you started making games in 2002?
GF: I would have liked to have received a lot, but if I had to choose just one, I would say: “Find a solid team”. One of the ‘mistakes’, so to speak, that I made in those days was growing the business with friends, friends of friends, acquaintances…and not with people who had talent and who really brought value to the company and the product.
F: In your opinion, why choose free-to-play as a business model?
GF: With the free-to-play model it’s quite difficult to scale the business and a company, but at the same time it is the trend that society is leading us to. Instead of paying and then consuming, first we want to try and see if we like something and then decide whether or not we spend money. It’s the model players demand.
Many thanks to Gerard Fernandez for answering the F2P Campus’s questions!