GameAnalytics, the Copenhagen-based free analytics platform for game developers, launches their own mobile game publishing label “Runway”, aimed specifically at indie game developers.
Instead of just slapping a publisher logo on the games and get them some press coverage, GameAnalytics aims to take advantage of their background in analysis to help dedicated indie developers with preparing for launch through enabling them to understand key metrics, and help them test the market and their games through soft-launches.
“Runway is not your average publisher – it’s our drive to give indies some of the same advantages the industry’s big boys use to secure their success on the world’s app stores.”, Tom Kinniburgh, Head of Publishing at GameAnalytics, says to Nordic Game Bits.
The launch of Runway follows a crazy couple of years for the young analytics startup, who just last December raised an additional $5.5 million in a Series A round, landing the total investments raised by GameAnalytics at $8 million.
Applications are already open for Runway, and GameAnalytics aims to publish one game per month for the foreseeable future through the new publisher.
“We’re initially looking to release one game a month, because we want to make sure we’re focusing our resources on the games we think are the best rather than pushing out leagues and leagues of titles in the hope one or two stick.”, Kinniburgh says.
And although free-to-play games are the primary target for Runway, Kinniburgh does not deny that we could see premium games being published by Runway in the future too. It all depends on the game and the developers’ willingness to offer a free-to-play soft-launch.
“The developers we chose to work with will be the developers behind the games we think will benefit the most from Runway’s expertise.”
“Of course, to run a successful soft launch the game needs to launch free, so free-to-play games are obviously a target for us, but we’re also open to working with paid games after pooling some player data and are comfortable with launching for free if only for their soft launch.”, he adds.
Although GameAnalytics could not yet reveal when we can expect to see the first game published by Runway, but indicate that it will be “very soon”.
You can read our full interview with Tom Kinniburgh, Head of Publishing at GameAnalytics, below:
What is Runway and who is it for?
Runway is not your average publisher – it’s our drive to give indies some of the same advantages the industry’s big boys use to secure their success on the world’s app stores.
Soft launching is now a routine part of what the likes of Supercell and King do to ensure their games are the best they can be ahead of their global roll out, but typically it’s something most indies don’t have the resources or expertise to do. Given our background in data, we think we’re perfectly positioned to help smaller studios soft launch their games in key territories, before sifting through the analytics they deliver and improving their titles accordingly.
Blindly launching on mobile is not something any developer can afford to do in the current era. With so many other studios out there all clamouring for attention, anything a studio can do to improve its chances of its game taking off offers a major advantage. We want to work with talented and committed indies eager to achieve commercial success and give them the clear run they need to really take off.
What were the thoughts behind entering the mobile publishing space, and why now?
Publishing as a whole seems to be back in vogue given that so many developers struggle to find their space on mobile, but in the modern era simply slapping on a publisher’s logo and pushing out a game via the usual channels isn’t enough.
We wanted to make use of what we know we do well – analytics – and turn that into something tangible and of genuine benefit to the average indie. The more you know about your game and how players play it the better. The ability to test out a game’s performance with real gamers via a soft launch can show you just what your game is doing right and, more importantly, what it’s doing wrong before unleashing it upon the world.
It’s an approach that requires developers to be flexible, of course, and indies need to be willing to both acknowledge where their game is going wrong and change it accordingly, but that’s the reality of mobile development in 2015. We think it’s far better to work out where your game is going wrong via a soft launch than finding out where it went wrong from your golden cohort of gamers. (see blog post for Golden Cohort http://blog.gameanalytics.com/blog/golden-cohort.html)
What sort of issues/concerns will Runway be able to help indie mobile developers with that other mobile publishers can’t/won’t?
Standard mobile publishers can garner a certain amount of press and attention for your game and many will even offer input as to how you can improve it, but what they can’t do is give you stats into how your game is being played and how mobile games in general are changing. This is something we have a strong grasp on and with the addition of Benchmarks in the GameAnalytics platform is one step we’ve made to share that data with the indie community.
We’re all about giving developers the information to make their games better – more creative, more ambitious, more successful. Soft launches are the best way to prove this right now, but a soft launch is only valuable if you’re able to properly analyse the data it serves up and work out what it means. This is what we do best, and we think our grasp of analytics is what gives us the edge.
How many games are you hoping to publish in 2015/2016?
We’re about working with the best talent in the industry, so it’s about deciding what studios are the right fit for Runway – who we can be the best partners for. As such, we’re initially looking to release one game a month, because we want to make sure we’re focusing our resources on the games we think are the best rather than pushing out leagues and leagues of titles in the hope one or two stick.
The developers we chose to work with will be the developers behind the games we think will benefit the most from Runway’s expertise.
Is there any specific genre of games that you are more interested in than others?
We’re not narrowing ourselves down to set genres, no, but we do want to work with developers looking to do something different within the genres their games sit in. There are so many ‘me too’ titles out on mobile that we want to dedicate our efforts to titles that bring some creative, some ingenuity and originality to what is a packed, packed market.
Of course, to run a successful soft launch the game needs to launch free, so free-to-play games are obviously a target for us, but we’re also open to working with paid games after pooling some player data and are comfortable with launching for free if only for their soft launch.