Mobile Publishing #3: Former Publishing CEO Spills the Beans
Welcome to the third episode of our Mobile Publisher Series. In each of the episode we sat down with the CEO of top mobile publisher and discussed how they approach publishing, what is their company’s strategy, how do they work with developers and how do they see the future of publishing on mobile.
In case you missed the previous episode:
Mobile Publishing #1: Deconstructing Scopely's path to $1B with Scopely’s Javier Ferreira (Co-CEO)
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Phoenix Games is an international group of free-to-play games companies, founded by serial games entrepreneur (Gameforge, Flaregames) and investor (Supercell, Wooga) Klaas Kersting in 2019. Disillusioned with the exploitative practises that are beginning to dominate the mobile game publishing industry, we are on a mission to work with the world’s most talented developers and service providers in an environment where everyone can benefit. Phoenix firmly believes that backing great companies with the freedom to create will yield exciting results for everyone.
The vast majority of the world’s many game developers are not well-funded behemoths, hence the continuing demand for mobile game publishers. But a single-game publishing deal is a quick fix – if indeed it is a fix at all – for a broader challenge facing much of the industry.
Time and time again we see teams so caught up in the day-to-day demands of a hit-driven industry, constantly reinvesting profits to survive, that they feel powerless to access capital and scale.We believe that the most mutually-rewarding relationships between companies are long-term and see great potential in offering the amazing teams that are facing these issues a more stable environment in which to work, collaborate and thrive as part of a larger group.
The Phoenix family
What does it mean, concretely, to be a member of the Phoenix family? First off, all Phoenix studios will retain a high level of creative independence, while being part of a larger group will mean less financial pressure for each studio and more time to perfect their games before launching. We are also establishing a structure whereby the founders of participating companies can collaborate on overarching group strategy – not to mention exchanging knowledge and best practises. It’s our responsibility to maximise this synergy between companies, along with our own expertise, to help every studio to be as successful as they can be. All deals will be formatted so that all companies within Phoenix will participate in and benefit from its future upside.
Genres, platforms, IP and location
So what kinds of game developers is Phoenix looking for? The idea is to be as flexible as possible in this regard, though studios working in the free-to-play mobile space will immediately pique our interest.
We are interested in a broad spectrum of game genres and styles, games using either licensed or original IP, but IP ownership is obviously an added bonus for any studio we look at. We are also especially interested to hear from founder-driven companies, as we’d love to tap into that passion and entrepreneurial spirit. We feel the industry lends undeserved significance to the location and profile of a company’s founders, which can sometimes be barriers even for companies primed for success in every other respect, and Phoenix will never choose not to work with a studio on these grounds.