3 REASONS WHY GAME DEVS NEED STRONG GAME PUBLISHERS

MJ Fahmi, CEO of Babil Games, is at it again with one of his many informative and exciting talks!

Due to the global pandemic of COVID, Games Gathering, Kiev, held their event on an online platform, and invited MJ to be one of the speakers with his topic on the need for strong game publishers, as well as be part of a panel, discussing what publishers want and key insights for service providers.

In his talk, MJ shares with the attendees why good game developers will seldomly succeed without strong game publishers that know their way around the industry.

So, let’s dive a bit into these points (we totally opt for watching the video though, as you watch and hear MJ introduce Babil Games from a co-founder’s perspective, talk about its success story, achievements and later on discuss the following points live).

Before we get to the fun stuff, we’d like to take a moment to show our appreciation to Babil’s team for their hard work in having our games reach over 20 MILLION downloads, and having our best game, NH3, in the TOP 3 in the region, and ranked TOP 10 on iOS App Store in the region.

Stay tuned for upcoming games that will be published in 11 different markets and languages worldwide!

Okay, now we can start with the talk’s recap and summary.

1- REASON #1: RISK

A- RISK ON GAME DEVS

It takes developers 1-2 years developing a complex game which they invest a lot of money on without ROI. If they decide to go with self-publishing, the following risks may occur:

    • Bad decisions made due to lack of fund: As they burn more money into marketing, they find themselves not being able to sustain, which would lead them to need fast funding, and resort to any publisher, no matter their reputation.
    • Bad decisions due to rapid success in a short period of time: They may start to succeed fast, and need to scale real quick, but can’t do so, which may lead them to choose the wrong publisher.
    • Force closing the game or shutting down the studio: Not having sufficient funds, and not being able to get funded fast, may cost the developers to lose the game or even their studio.

2- REASON #2: LACK OF RESOURCES

A- LACK OF TOOLS

Acquiring and utilizing the right tools to scale up and go big needs a huge investment that the developers on their own, might not be able to get.

    • Lack of information due to shortfall on proper analytics, and detection of bugs and fraud: Not having the right tools can cause insufficient data collection and analysis which may lead to inaccurate decisions or extra cost on unreliable tools and opportunities.
    • Disorganization and disconnection from online player community: Small teams may not be able to sustain social media management and community engagement, which may lead to player dissatisfaction.

B- LACK OF TEAMS

Getting the right, specialized team members on board is very effective for the success of a game and maintaining its community; however, it needs a huge investment that the developers on their own might not be able to afford.

    • Limits the target region: Localizers help broaden the game target and widen the audience. Developers signing directly with a localizing agency would need a good investment and expertise for quality checks, which they may lack.

    • Weak player support: Answering players’ general queries and technical questions needs a dedicated team to ensure player satisfaction.

3- REASON #3: LACK OF SMART MARKETING

A- LACK OF MARKETING INVESTMENT

To stand out in the crowd, amongst millions of game ads, game devs need to be backed-up by an experienced team that can invest millions of dollars into the right place at the right team; thus leading to an great ROI for the UA costs incurred.

    • Low installations as game is not discovered: Chances of a game being discovered organically, or on platform featuring, is getting lower as competition is getting stronger and CPIs are getting higher; hence why, paid marketing investment is needed in order to be ‘seen’.

    • Low ROI for UA Marketing: Doing it on their own, or signing with a weak agency for a lower cost, due to lack of funding, may incur risks, greater cost and waste of a good game.

    • Low revenue from in-game purchases: Acquiring paying users is getting harder due to the fact that everybody is looking for them! So targeting them needs expertise and the right marketing tools and techniques.

WHAT’S A SUCCESSFUL PUBLISHER LIKE? WHAT SHOULD A GAME DEV LOOK FOR WHEN SEARCHING FOR THE RIGHT PUBLISHER TO WORK WITH?

GOOD PUBLISHER’S SUCCESS CRITERIA

Just as there are game devs who aren’t professional, successful or don’t fall into a certain success criteria, the same goes for publishers. When signing with a game publisher, a dev must be certain that it’s the right one, in order not to put their game or studio at risk and lose their hard work. Here are some points to look for in a publisher:

  • Investment in and know-how of super analytical tools: Experienced in what to look for in KPIs, what bugs to fix, what to improve, and what corrective actions to take to make players happy and your game better on an overall scale.

  • Strong investment in a marketing team and its tools: Experienced in effective games marketing and avoiding fraud traffic going into games (fraud traffic costs millions per month)

  • Platform and Social Media Customer Support 

  • Localization Pipeline: with Q&A for most covered languages

  • Heavy and smart player Insights: Know-how for player promotions, events, mistakes to avoid, and type of enticing offers.

  • Creative art expertise: Know-how and experience in creating art that attracts players.

  • Connections: In the games industry, this is very important to have if you need to fix something in your game and need support from the game engine, or simply to get your game promoted or anything related.

SO, LONG STORY SHORT – WHY GO WITH A GOOD PUBLISHER?

Risking your game or your studio, in which you put so much passion and effort in, is not really a good idea. It’s getting harder to enter the market, especially in today’s world with so much competition and lots of barriers to entry. 

If you lack the financial, physical and human resources, then you need to find the right publisher with a good a team, amount of experience, and investment. You will find a greater chance of success for your game(s) and studio, as you and your publisher effectively and successfully grow and work together.

MJ’s full talk in Games Gathering, Kiev: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7u2tOzGcX8
Discussion Panel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0OrWuCkMSY

About Babil Games:
Babil Games, part of Stillfront Group, is a top-tier mobile games publisher in the MENA region with international operations, based in Dubai and Amman. Babil Games helps developers from around the world to successfully navigate international markets, with a focus on the MENA region, the world’s fastest-growing games market, and bring gamers culture-adapted, high-quality free-to-play games through creatively localizing art and content. Best known for Nida Harb series and Strike of Nations.

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