The most common errors when creating a videogame startup

September 2, 2019

Gerard Fernández is one of the most qualified voices in the videogame industry in Spain. This is the summary of his talk at the F2P Campus. 

After creating Microjocs and passing through Digital Chocolate, in 2013 he co-founded Omidron, a company dedicated to the development of free-to-play videogames. A career built on successes and failures. These are precisely what he wanted to highlight in his talk at the F2P Campus in which he told us about the typical mistakes of anyone wanting to create a startup in the industry. 

Seek out the best professionals 

Human capital is one of the axes around which any company in the industry revolves. At different stages, Gerard has created and developed companies through acquaintances. However, time has taught him that finding the right talent is essential. Not people who are simply brilliant or have great skills but who are difficult to fit into a team. There must be selection criteria and techniques in place to equip you with the best possible human team, to develop the project alongside those you trust most and who have the capacity to manage people. 

Focus on the product, not the technology

Those who work in this industry make games, not machines. Technology is important, but it’s about selecting the best for each project and not wasting months on developing a game engine and then developing a game. The main game engines for developing videogames have large teams dedicated specifically to creating and improving tools that developers can use, and they will always do it better. 

Find the balance between ‘innovating’ and ‘improving’

Gerard makes it clear: it’s not about rejecting innovation. But 90% of successful games are evolutions, adaptations or even copies of others that already exist. That’s why it’s sometimes more effective to focus on improving existing patterns. 

Whatever the KPIs say

The free-to-play model is based on pure and simple metrics. You have to monetize games and retain users; therefore, the work should focus on designing features that help to improve those factors. 

Investors and advisers are not the same thing

Investors are important. But they are just that – investors – and they’re looking for maximum profitability. In addition to investors, you have to have good advisers to guide, help and direct. 

However much you like it, it’s a business, not a hobby

If you’re passionate about videogames and you enjoy what you do, you’re lucky. But watch out; now you’re creating a business. Spend time and resources developing your business, making contacts and attending events. And have fun too, but don’t forget that it’s about creating a company and that companies must be profitable. 

Be aware of your limitations and ask for help

However good you are at what you do, you don’t know everything. You need to be aware of what you’re good at and what you’re not. And ask for help in those areas that you’re weaker in. Ask advisers and investors for help; delegate; and recruit the best talent to work in those areas where you are not a specialist. 

Test fast, fail fast

It’s a maxim of any digital-based business and you should apply it here too. As soon as you have a playable game, test it. Stop adding features and upgrades and go out there and see what users say. There are many tools for testing prototypes. What’s more, if you do it in different countries, you’ll get more comprehensive feedback. 

Having Gerard Fernández with us was a real treat. Many thanks!