Starting a new game business

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How to start a new game business using our startup Everyplay (www.everyplay.com) as an example case.
Delivered at the Casual Connect Europe conference, in Hamburg, Germany on 12th February 2009.

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  • Presentation at the Casual Games Europe in Hamburg on 12th of February 2009. For more please visit my blog at http://jussilaakkonen.wordpress.com
  • Starting a new game business

    1. Confessions: Jussi Laakkonen Everyplay February 10-12 2009 Casual Connect Europe 2009 Starting your own game business
    2. http://jussilaakkonen.wordpress.com February 10-12 2009 Casual Connect Europe 2009 Full presentation with notes & audio track:
    3. Hi, I’m Jussi!
    4. since Aug 2008 CEO, founder
    5. Main organizer Entrepreneur for 15 years Demo & LAN party with >6000 visitors a year
    6. Business development director Multimillion € deals Produced games Filled the dishwasher Console racing games >3M units sold previously
    7. Confessions
    8. confessions
    9.  
    10. Why start a (game) business?
    11. Passion – I got to do it!
    12. Passion – I got to do it! Do your own thing
    13. Passion – I got to do it! Do your own thing Nobody else gets it!
    14. Passion – I got to do it! Do your own thing Nobody else gets it! Change the world
    15. Passion – I got to do it! Do your own thing Nobody else gets it! Change the world The last great adventure
    16. Passion – I got to do it! Do your own thing Nobody else gets it! Change the world The last great adventure Get rich quick  epic fail
    17. must have killer idea, right?
    18. your first idea will suck .
    19. get over it. get going.
    20.  
    21.  
    22.  
    23.  
    24.  
    25.  
    26. so, my first idea? confessions
    27. ” Hype or real deal?” panel virtual worlds, microtransactions heureka! the future of games! confessions
    28. Guild Wars + ” Diablo 2 Casual MMO” & confessions
    29. a ”me too” idea P.S. check out Guild of Heroes on Facebook ;-) killed it early confessions
    30. Just a speed bump. I knew the future! confessions
    31. Look for the opportunity
    32. big risks high growth new audiences mass distribution change in behavior disruptive technology unclear business models something that currently sucks
    33.  
    34. Customer base Viral distribution Rule changing
    35. Persistent online Virtual goods Flash
    36. Distribution Paying customers Finally mobile doesn’t suck
    37. Persistent online Virtual goods Unity, Flash XBLA / PSN?
    38. Games in non-game apps New domain & customers Unproven
    39. social gaming co-creation with users persistent world virtual goods open web APIs Flash client Does it make a tasty soup? We’ll see... confessions
    40. an idea & promising market =
    41. ideas are a dime a dozen
    42. execution is king
    43. PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PEOPLE!!!
    44. PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PEOPLE!!! So good that they can walk on air!
    45. 2-4 founders tech, biz, art, design
    46. because you have to get more done with less
    47. Smart people who get things done Marissa Mayer, Google
    48. FIERY PASSION
    49. Get somebody who hates selling less than starving don’t hire a suit
    50. No assholes A single person can destroy your new company.
    51. confessions Bizdev Sales, marketing Partners Studio mgmt Server lead Game server CEO Product owner Production PR, finance CTO Game client Design Detailed design Game mechanics All art AD
    52. GET STUFF DONE FAST
    53. Agile & Lean for EVERYTHING Not just code, but also business and management
    54. All your plans are just guesses
    55. Release early & often Measure Learn Implement
    56. 9/10 startups die because they couldn’t find customers
    57. Develop your customers
    58.  
    59. Don’t worry, be crappy. Guy Kawasaki
    60. We game developers in general SUCK at real user driven iterative development. Radically new stuff for me. confessions
    61. Scrum for production Customer development for biz. confessions Still learning it.
    62. It always takes longer than what you expect. 5 months of iterating, learning. Reduced scope for earlier launch. confessions
    63. So, where do I get the money so that I can start?
    64. nobody said it was easy.
    65. your own savings 1.
    66. Friends & Family 2.
    67. Work for hire games and other industries 3.
    68. R&D tax credits Available in most EU countries Tax credits, grants or loans 15-70% of R&D costs Paid months after costs were incurred 4.
    69. Preproduction grants National, regional & EU wide programs 10 – 100 k€, max 50% 5.
    70. Angel investors Not many ”game millionaires” vs. a lot of ”IT millionaires” Hard – not impossible 6.
    71. publisher advances a.k.a. paying customers Only after you’ve already spent lots of money on the prototype 7.
    72. Seed funds Semi-governmental e.g. VeraVenture in Finland 50-500 k€ SeedCamp, Y-Combinator... 10-50 k€ 8.
    73. Venture Capital Fuel to grow faster. Not for new companies or hit-driven game studios Only for scaleable businesses like MMOs Great if you will be sold for >50M€ in less than 5 years. 9.
    74. 2007-2008: VCs invested $1,7 billion in online games Still available for best game businesses.
    75. <ul><li>Own savings </li></ul><ul><li>Multiplied by public grants and R&D support </li></ul>Started with confessions
    76. Our success recipe for public grants & loans: confessions
    77. Strong team Bold vision Game + platform Own money invested Experience with the paperwork Win one, and a snowball effect starts confessions
    78. So, what does it feel like?
    79. Loving every minute! confessions
    80. start smart
    81.  

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