Mindframe Arena – Game Launch Event

At last we are soft launching the Android version of Mindframe Arena next month

It will in the Bank of Ireland Workbench located in Trinity College. Date and time :  7th November @ 6pm

Living up to our name Fierce Fun, we will be having a fun filled launch do with the Irish gaming community (journalists, bloggers, streamers, YouTubers, developers and more). Besides getting to know and play Mindframe Arena before anyone else, we will have some guest speakers, giveaways and grub!...  not bad for a Wednesday evening

So if you are a game streamer, writer or blogger, drop us a line and we will send you an invite (numbers are limited !)

Tips for Starting a Games Development Company in Ireland

I originally had created a blog post on tips for tech start-ups. I have updated it for games companies and games start-ups. Also most of these don’t specifically apply to Irish games companies – hopefully you find them useful. They are based on my experience with a number of games and mobile start-ups.

Your majority spend should be on marketing
As you have probably heard, cash is king for all businesses, more so for start-ups. You won’t have much cash starting out so it is vital to spend wisely in those early stages. So, the simple rule is – any spare cash - only spend on marketing and sales. Game markets (indie, mobile or AAA) are all ultra-competitive and social media will only get you so far!

 Don’t rent an office
Office space in Dublin (and most European/US cities) is expensive and a real waste of cash when starting out. Offices are needed for full teams, meeting clients and storing hardware. You probably don’t have much (or any) of all three so you don’t need an office. If you are meeting potential clients, rent a ‘hot desk’ office or meet at their place. Use Skype and Dropbox to create a virtual office. When you have regular paying contracts or revenue streams, then rent

Try to have an alternative income source during development
Work part time, contract – do whatever you need to do to avoid paying (much) salaries when you are in startup mode. With your team, agree a profit share or equity share (for committed team members).

 Game Team makeup: Development, Design and Biz!
A lot of game start-ups tend to comprise mainly of developers and artists. Not a bad thing but it means the focus of team will be on game development, not the business. You need someone onboard with marketing, publishing or general digital business experience.

Forget funding… for now
Securing funding takes time…. a lot of time. If you are in the indie or mobile market for example, you should not need much funding to get your business started. Publishers and investors will only really consider you if you have a (sales) track record in a certain game genre.

 Network wisely
There are a huge number of games, tech and start-up networking events held in Ireland each year. Like all events, some are more useful than others.

 Sales, not Traction
With free to play, it is tempting to say you have 100,000 game players so, hey, we are a games business. Nope! Users or players don’t equal customers.

Social media should be part of your marketing plan, not a replacement for it.
This is related to the first point about marketing and having a Biz head onboard. Many new start-ups talk about social media as if it is their only marketing activity. The basics of a marketing plan are still as valid as ever (remember the 4 Ps). Your social media strategy should be part of your overall marketing strategy; not the other way around.

Try to avoid advertising only game revenues
A few (very few!) game companies survive on advertising revenue only. You need massive (tens of millions) numbers of players to generate decent revenues if you are relying on in-game ads only. Put simply, it is extremely difficult to make a profit on online ads only.

Keep your professional fees low
Running a business costs money. For example, every business will need an accountant and solicitor during your startup phase. Inexperienced company founders tend to have phrases like “our solicitor looks after our IP”. Professional services firms charge on an hourly/daily basis – in the beginning, only use them for your statutory returns. If your turnover is low, you will only need to file abridged accounts each year, a considerable cost saving. Good firms will give you some basic free advice, knowing that as your business grows, you will come back to them for further paid consultations.

The Cloud is your technical friend
The hype is true, the cloud really does work – especially for game start-ups. Services like Google App Engine and Amazon Web Services allow you to pay only for the computing power you use. In addition, most have free starting tiers of usage. You do need someone cloud savy to use them but they do save you on hosting and database costs (ouch!) when you scale.

Government Supports & Entrepreneurship programmes
Besides Enterprise Ireland (EI), there are a ton of other government support agencies. Most are listed on this very useful site ThinkBusiness

Get on a Entrepreneurship programme if possible
There are a number of good government supported start-up programs such as DIT Hothouse. Besides good advice and training, the best thing about these programmes is the networking with other start-ups.

12-month revenue target
If you are not making real sales within 12 months of starting your games business, maybe call it a day. A tough one this one but you will always find excuses for not making sales. Learn from your mistakes and start again!

Make it look good
People are visual creatures, we judge everything first by our eyes – including games. You can release your game if some features are not fully finished or included; however never ever release something that does not look good. That does not mean that you needed AAA 3D graphics. If you are going for simple stylised graphics, they still have to look good!

That’s it. Now go forth and develop………….

GDPR

In May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect. This EU data protection law mean you now need to opt in to continue to receive our emails. Respecting your data is important to us and we would like to stay in contact about our mega mobile games, our special gaming offers including the soon to be launched Mindframe Arena.

You are currently part of our database because you have signed up for newsletter or one of our games competitions. If you are happy to stay on our list and wish to continue receiving great gaming offers, you do not need to do anything as you have already given your consent for communications from us. If you change your mind in the future, click the unsubscribe link located at the bottom of any of newsletters or contact us at any time on our website

New Mindframe Arena promo video

As we are getting closer to launching the game (we think!), we have produced another Mindframe Arena promotional video showing off some of our cool Tec characters. We created this video as an animation in Adobe Animate, then exported it as an mp4. We were pretty impressed by the quality. Hopefully we should have a fully gameplay video soon showing all the fancy effects and animations. See you soon!

 

Loot Boxes & Game Developer Remuneration

In the free to play gaming market, loot boxes pose a real quandary for game developers. Using the Japanese gacha system they are a popular game mechanic for increasing player engagement. However, the recent controversy with a number of high profile paid games (using loot boxes) is a cause for concern. It appears that core game players don’t like loot boxes. They have already paid for the game and they don’t see the need to have to pay for new content.

With free to play games it is different. Casual game players are used to daily reward mechanisms. A number of countries are now looking at the legality of loot boxes as a form of gambling. Are they a form of gambling? As the in-game currency cannot be used outside of the game, in most cases they have been shown not to be a form of gambling. However, loot boxes in games have now grabbed the attention of legislators in a number of countries.

Game developers need to be very careful in their implementation of a gacha type loot box system. They need to ensure it is property designed to reward players for ongoing play and not give an unfair competitive advantage.

For us we see it as a systematic structural problem in the games market as a result of the prevalence of free to play games. Professional game developers need to be remunerated for creating quality games that provide hours of entertainment - even if they are free to play. Google and Apple are delighted with dominance of free to play games as it effectively gives their customers free content. Yes, there is the freemium business model but it only works for a tiny number of large publishers. Both Google and Apple have a big part to play in correcting the market to so that there is a balance between free content and content creators getting paid. Unless this occurs, the games market will stagnate with no innovation and everyone making the same type…. With lots of loot boxes!

 

Mindframe Arena website live

Our new Mindframe Arena website is now live

mindframearena.com

There you find the last game updates and release information. We will be releasing the game in 2017 so the publishing news will be posted there first. We would also encourage you to follow us on social media... .it is just easier, isn't it !

We'd love to hear your opinions on the game so keep tuned for Mindframe Arena beta programme where you can play the game before anyone else.

Chinese Game Publishers visit Fierce Fun

Fierce Fun was recently visited by a number of Chinese game publishers, as part of a worldwide tour. During their visit, we presented an overview of the European game publishing market and some of the advantages to publishing games from Ireland. We also discussed publishing games in China and there was considerable interest in our new game Mindframe Arena.

The visiting attendees were:

Pictured:
Ms. Mavis Yao--- Vice secretary-general of China National Center for Developing Animation, Cartoon and Game Industry
General Manager of Tangxi Culture (executive company of Shanghai Online Game Association)
Ms. Guanhua JIAO---Co-founder of Uzone games
Ms. July LI --- Secretary-General Government Public Relationship of Uzone games
Ms. Sherry HU --- CFO of Lilith games
Mr. Crespo SUN --- Vice President of Europe and America Business of Gamemoon
Ms. Lauren LU --- Overseas Department Project Executive of Tangxi Culture
Peter Lynch – Fierce Fun
Mark Reid – Fierce Fun

Fierce Fun at DIT State of Play 2017

Fierce Fun showcased an early demo version of Mindframe Arena at the DIT State of Play games exhibition. State of Play 2017 was held in the Dublin Institute of Technology Aungier Street campus. SOP brings together some of commercial and academic players in the Irish games industry. In addition to the games exhibition, there was a series of talks from game development professionals, both Irish and international.

Fierce Fun used the exhibition to get some feedback on the Mindframe Arena gameplay mechanics and concepts. Mindframe Arena is what we call a ‘card board’ game, mixing elements of card trading games and classic board games. Generally, we received a positive reception to the game. Obviously, it was a very early version that we were showing but it proved a very useful overall exercise.

SOP is a great event to showcase Irish indie and student gaming talent – long may it continue!

DIT State of Play
http://www.stateofplay.ie/

Fierce Fun at UCC Digitopia

Digitopia is the annual digital humanities institute held by Digital Humanities department in University College Cork. The conference was organised by the MA class in Digital Arts and Humanities and took place in April 2017. The conference themes included a variety of topics such as digital history, archiving and gaming.

Fierce Fun’s Peter Lynch was invited as a guest speaker to discuss digital gaming. His talk focused on independent (indie) games development and rise of self-publishing. A link to his talk is available here:
https://www.slideshare.net/plynchire/indie-games-and-the-role-of-self-publishing

University College Cork Digitopia
http://www.digitopia-institute.com/

Responsive Games – Digital Marketing Opportunities

Most progressive marketers are aware of the value of gaming content as part of their digital marketing portfolio. With games like Candy Crush and Angry Birds, game playing is now a mass market entertainment activity, enjoyed equally by both male and female players. Generation Y and millennials have all grown up with games – they love them, especially the free ones!

However, with a proliferation of digital devices available to consumers, it can require considerable effort and cost to get your game and brand out to the mass market. Responsive games offer a solution to this problem. Using a HTML5 platform, Fierce Fun have developed a responsive gaming system that ensures your game can be played on almost any device.

We developed the game I C Words as a demonstration of the cross-platform capabilities of our system. Play it on your PC, Mac, laptop, iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet…anything with a Web browser.

Fierce Fun responsive games

Play I C Words here

For more information on the digital marketing potential of responsive games, please drop us a line …. we love to talk!