This is the story of how Bedtime Digital Games, a young Danish games studio, released their first game on nearly all available platforms, went to Japan, is now working on their next title, and will soon publish their game in Japan on both console and mobile devices.
Founded in December 2013, Aalborg-based Bedtime Digital Games was in many ways what you would call a typical young game studio. The development of their first game, Back to Bed, started as a student project game during a time where the founding members were all attending the same university in Aalborg, Denmark, and after the studies were over, the Bedtime Digital Games studio was founded.
Back to Bed was initially released in 2014 on Steam, but by 2015 the game was already released on most major platforms ranging from mobile to consoles, and the studio is now looking to release their next game in 2016.
Although everything seemed to be going just fine for the young Danish games studio, their ambitions reached further yet, and when they found that their game had received quite a bit of interest from the Asian market, they knew what they had to do. The only issue? The team knew nothing about Asia.
“We had no network in the Asian region, no distribution contacts or media contacts of any kind. In Europe and the US we’ve accumulated contacts and created a network over the years, but Asia just seems to be a different beast.”, Bedtime Digital Games CEO, Klaus Pedersen says.
As for most other Western games studios, it comes without saying that without contacts and a network, distribution and publishing in Asia would be an immensely difficult task to overcome for the small team – but that was when they turned to Interactive Denmark and their business Development program SOLID for help.
“It seemed like a program we could benefit a lot from, so I think we decided to apply almost immediately when we heard about it.”
Let’s take a SOLID trip to Japan
Interactive Denmark’s SOLID program targets interactive start-up companies with growth potential like Bedtime Digital Games, who are in the process of becoming a more consolidated company with several growth opportunities, but who have something standing in the way of their success. Through a 12-week program, Interactive Denmark helps both with pointing out the companies’ growth barriers and helps overcome them, so that the studios can achieve their full potential and maybe, like Bedtime Digital Games, figure out how to publish their game in foreign markets.
With the help of the SOLID program, Bedtime Digital Games soon found that the Asian market is too huge to target all at once, and a decision was therefore made to focus on the most lucrative market; Japan.
“We decided that instead of splitting our focus across the entire Asian market, we would choose to direct all our efforts into the Japanese marked at this point. This had a lot to do with Japan being the marked with most console focus, and we just released Back to Bed on Playstation. On top of that, Japan is also the country that spends most money on games per capita.”, Klaus Pedersen explains.
With the renewed focus on Japan, the team quickly figured that attending the Tokyo Game Show 2015, with its over 250,000 attendees, would be a great way to quickly create a network in Japan, while also getting a chance to show off their game to the many gamers attending the show.
And so, off they took, to the Tokyo Game Show with a stand, 50 inch TV, a Playstation 4, and several handheld devices. All made possible thanks to an affordable spot in the Indie Game Area at the show, and a bunch of help from SOLID. Specifically, the SOLID program helped facilitate contact to an agent in Japan, who tremendously influenced the success of the entire trip.
“In the booth we had Back to Bed running on a PS4 on a 50 inch TV screen to attract people and then a bunch of portable devices with the game, which got handed out to bystanders, which proved to be a very effective combination.”, Klaus Pedersen recalls, as he describes their setup at the show.
The good, the bad, and the better
As Bedtime Digital Games returned from Japan, the team had only one issue; they couldn’t get their hands down in excitement. The few days in Japan had proved to be a success, and within weeks, the studio had found both distributors and publishers for Back to Bed. But not only that, they had also already partnered up with the publishers and distributors – something that may otherwise typically take months.
“So now Back to Bed will be published on different phone companies’ networks on Android phones and be published on consoles by a Japanese publisher. Additionally, we also got really good response from the consumers visiting TGS, which now hopefully will continue to buy our games.”, Klaus Pedersen says with a smile.
“SOLID is a chance to boost a specific area of your company, that otherwise might have been neglected either because the risk involved or just lack of resources.”, Klaus Pedersen argues.
The many experiences and actual results that Bedtime Digital Games achieved through their trip to Japan thanks to the SOLID program are now helping the team prepare for an even brighter future, which involves tapping into the vastly lucrative Japanese mobile and console market, the release of their upcoming game in 2016, and much more to come in the future.
The next SOLID program starts in January 2016, and if you’re interested to hear more, you should reach out to Interactive Denmark.