Experience, perseverance, failures, and success. Those are things that new game developers (or new anything) don’t have. So here we share six game developers that survived through thick and thin and their wisdom for all of you in the game developer community!
Altermyth was founded in 2003 with Dien Wong as the CEO. Their best performing games were Gobak Sodor and Congklak which was back then embedded to every single Esia phone that was run in 2008-2012.
For them, the challenge is to sustain the company, not just for 10 or 14 years, but far beyond. Surviving to 10 years is not an achievement. To build a company that is able to live far longer than that would be the real achievement.
“Been having downs and ups, we missed few chances of ups to scale ourselves further. To survive long would mean to be able to build the culture and framework for a team to grow itself as a sustainable entity. And I would say that’s even harder than developing the game itself,” Dien Wong told gameprime.asia.
Dien said that the core strength of Altermyth is the stakeholder’s trust. “All the stakeholders: investors, founder, team, are willing to go through many years of downs and ups to sustain the company. This trust and willingness give space for us to explore any ways of surviving the industry,” he added.
Altermyth has an interesting story, “I built the company with belief that we can develop a game in Indonesia, and we can develop a game company in Indonesia. By the end of 2002, with other founders, we started the company to build an online game (following the hype of online games at that time).”
Looking to further develop his team, Dien took the risk and quitted his full-time job. It was worth it though, as his team got an investment and hired more people.
“I quitted my job and started to build the prototype full-time. We stated at that time, that if we couldn’t find an investor within 6 months, then we will close the project. As a startup, we did the fund-raising roadshow to some angel investors using our prototype and business plan. We hit a seed investment within 3 months. Other co-founders quitted their jobs and became full-time workers. We hired another team, with a mix of salary and share to attract our friends to join the company, a total of 6-7 people at that time. And the story goes,” he said.
Artlogic Games was founded in December 2007 by Rudy Sudarto. Established in Surabaya, their first focus was on web based games. Their most successful games are the Epic War series, with Epic War Legends game becomes the most profitable by far.
For him, the main challenge to sustain a game developer’ team is to keep the team together. “Because after all my experiences, 2-3 years is where a team member will move on from Artlogic, where 2-3 years usually is the mature period of a team and can speed up the development time. Often we feel like starting from zero again (with new team members),” Rudy said.
Rudy said that Artlogic Games specializes in mid-core gameplay and good monetization.
After this ten years, Rudy has got some advice, “What I can share is if you have a little success don’t be too flattered. It is better to keep the money for the company first and don’t give it right away to the team. I have experienced ups and downs in these ten years. So in case of crisis, if we saved some of our past revenues or we have old games that are still profitable, we can use that to sustain the team. Because Artlogic Games is a bootstrap, we are really keeping it tight on this part.”
Other interesting experience that Rudy and his team had was when Epic War Legends was a hit, it was hacked by its player. He made the store price become zero. “It was the funniest moment,” he said.
We bet it was a hectic moment too.
IPlayAllDay Studio was established in 2007 by Yanuar Tanzil in Surabaya. They actually had been doing game development before that, but they became a company in 2007.
They have several games that were deemed successful.
“First, it’s a game called Motorama (Google it). It’s our first game that went on sale globally and did very well and put us where we are right now. It’s a shareware game. It got many good reviews including one from Gamespot and got us a contract with Nexon. In fact a few months ago while I was trying to make a slide, I found someone created a playthrough of all the levels and put it on YouTube!” Yanuar said.
“Our biggest project was an MMO based on Motorama but sadly it was never released since Nexon pulled the plug on funding and actually I just talked with Nexon the other day and the project may never see any light of day since Nexon basically owns the copyright,” he continued.
“The other biggest games were during social games. We co-developed two social games as part of Lionside to bring two social games based on sports franchise EPL and NBA. The game was called Lionside Football and NBA Legend. We’ve been doing mobile games since with Kungfu Quest and Badminton Stars as the latest hits,” he added.
About the challenge of sustaining his game developer studio in the last ten years, Yanuar said that the biggest challenge was limited talent pool plus the fact that game development doesn’t really give good career path and stability compared to other industry such as advertising or other media.
“Time changes though and now things are getting better as the spotlight is onto us at the moment. Here’s hoping the industry can make the best of it!” he said.
Talking about the studio’s strength, Yanuar thinks that it is their vast experience in making and producing a wide array of games. “Also, we keep trying to remain ‘product first’ that emphasizes on quality instead of quantity. Hopefully, it shows up when you play our games.” he added.
There are few interesting stories that Yanuar has to share, but the one that he wanted to share the most is the name of the company (which is literally registered as IPlayAllDay Studio).
“When we first started the company, we did get the ipad.com domain (it was common to get the abbreviation domain like bn.com for barnesandnoble) but dumped it after a year thinking it’s worthless and didn’t want to pay the yearly domain fee. Doh! We’d make so much money out of that domain had we known!” Yanuar told gameprime.asia.
He added more story about his company’s name, “Make sure you know what ‘Studio vs Studios’ means in company’s name. A lot of people mistaken our names as Studios ’cause actually, that is the common form to use as a company’s name. This could cause problems with people writing your letters or contracts wrong.”
“It also caused a lot of problems here since people don’t know how to pronounce the name, this include banks, tax office, etc. Sometimes I wish I chose a much simpler name!” Yanuar said.
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