The team at MY.GAMES, together with Google and Amazon Web Services, have just revealed the third season of its Game Drive program, specifically for mobile developers.
For those who haven’t heard of it, Game Drive is a business accelerator program aimed at creating more opportunities for the growth and development of the next generation of talented mobile game makers.
The third season of Game Drive is led by MGVC, the investment division of MY.GAMES, which has teamed up with AWS for Games, Google, data.ai, Unity experts, and Deconstructor of Fun. Game Drive has also adopted a new format, comprising a series of educational and networking offline and online events, and a call for project submissions open throughout the entire year.
We caught up with Elena Grigoryan, Chief Strategy Officer MY.GAMES, to find out more about it.
What was the thinking behind Game Drive? Why is it needed?
One of MY.GAMES key goals has always been to help the gaming industry to develop and create various growth opportunities for developers. MY.GAMES team has a deep expertise in working with mobile, PC, and console platforms and we have created an ecosystem that enables our internal teams to collaborate in search of the best solutions for our projects.
With launching the Game Drive program, we wanted to join our best expertise with the key industry leaders from Google, AWS for Games, data.ai, and Deconstructor of Fun, to supercharge the growth of mobile game developer talent. We’re focusing specifically on mobile games as it is a very dynamic and competitive industry and that is where the developers need much of the support. Game Drive has a true community spirit where the most knowledgeable and experienced games industry veterans dedicate time and resources to new creators and projects.
There are numerous developers embarking on projects that have the potential to create ground-breaking, inventive, and highly successful games, both critically and commercially. Our goal is to foster innovation, entrepreneurship, and passion, and empower this emerging generation of developers to achieve their fullest potential.
You have a series of digital and physical events, talk us through these and what they offer?
The key thing that we would like to highlight is that Game Drive is open for all mobile game developers: if you have a project and would like to receive detailed feedback, you can submit it via the Game Drive website. If you don’t have a project yet or are in the early development stage, you can participate in the educational online AMA sessions.
The online part of Game Drive is a series of educational sessions with top industry leaders on the relevant market topics, such as game design, production, and marketing. MY.GAMES teams behind its top games will also share case studies, featuring key insights and learnings that lead our games to success. The short presentations will be followed by Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions open for all the participants. The next online session will take place on June 15th and will be dedicated to LiveOps and player engagement. Mark it on your calendar and register on the Game Drive website.
"MY.GAMES has partnered with fellow leaders in the industry to form a group geared towards levelling up new talent and games in development"
We encourage mobile developers who have a game that is in early access, or has had a soft or global launch, on Google Play, to submit their game for Game Drive experts’ evaluation to receive an opportunity to participate in one-on-one sessions with our partners at the physical events. In addition, during the physical events they are given the opportunity to network with key industry executives and discuss investment opportunities on the side-lines of the event.
Why should developers be interested in working with MY.GAMES with this?
MY.GAMES has partnered with fellow leaders in the gaming industry to form a group geared towards levelling up new talent and games in development, so they can benefit from the advice, support, and potential funding of people who know what it takes to be successful.
Over the years at MY.GAMES, we have explored over 30 genres, and our portfolio currently boasts over ten genres. We work with different platforms, and our team is constantly experimenting to make our games more engaging for players. Additionally, we have our investment division MY.GAMES Venture Capital, which is leading Game Drive. This team accumulates all this expertise and provides access to a unique ecosystem for studios to work with, including a multi-million player audience, a broad analytical toolset, and convenient services enabling effective promotion of titles across various markets and platforms. Thus, this is about forming a long-term strategic partnership highly beneficial for studios, along with receiving an investment.
By submitting their projects for review, developers have an opportunity to receive expert feedback on them, including guidance on how to improve gameplay, optimise mechanics, project development, and marketing, along with an opportunity to receive investment from MY.GAMES Venture Capital.
Being able to receive the necessary advice, input, and resources to make your game in development not only an actuality, but also a true success, is something developers should find exciting. Thus, our first events in May were quite a success: we had over 120 participants in our event in Malmö during the Nordic Game Conference dedicated to the key trends in the industry. All the participants had a chance to talk about their projects and receive valuable feedback from MGVC, Google, AWS for Games, data.ai, and Deconstructor of Fun. We received very positive comments from the studios who said that it was a very productive event, filled with useful business content and networking.
What are you looking for when it comes to the games that will receive investment from you?
We’re looking for innovation, ambition, and a willingness to learn and grow. We want to see games that show promise, as well as a uniqueness, quality that can capture the attention of players, and potential for community building. We want to see a detailed breakdown of how you will make worlds and bring characters to life, and metrics that demonstrate the viability and potential of the product. We’re welcoming mobile developers with games in early access, soft or global launch available on Google Play to submit their projects on the Game Drive website.
Are there any games or companies who aren't well suited to this program?
Game Drive is for mobile games only, so titles in development for console or PC will not be considered. All mobile studios across the globe are invited to apply to the program, but application packets should be in English.
Who are you partnering with this project and why?
We’re working with a fantastic selection of partners for Game Drive’s third iteration. Google, Amazon Web Services for Games, data.ai and Deconstructor of Fun are all on board They each have members on the expert panel, alongside MY.GAMES Venture Capital’s team.
Each partner brings a high level of experience and wisdom, from a wide cross-section of areas: be it management, games economics, data, development, or analytics. Our partners have all shown dedication to furthering innovation in the mobile games industry, and naturally collaborating to elevate the efforts of upcoming industry talent is a big part of that commitment.
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing mobile game developers right now?
Today, the industry faces a number of challenges, and to succeed, developers must review their tactics and come up with new ones. Thus, developers are moving to a completely new format of working with products where they need to develop a strong brand IP, which is more typical for PC games. As MY.GAMES develops both mobile and PC titles, we are ready to provide support for the teams and help bring their game to the next level.
Furthermore, mobile development and publishing costs can be inhibitive for new starters, and can end a project before it’s had time to be properly explored. For new and established developers alike, trends also dictate the quality and depth of content created – people can find themselves in a rush to capitalise on quick, timely games, as opposed to focusing on building quality experiences.
Inexperience and an inability to scale can both be hurdles for developers starting out on their own. In addition to needing development skills, they will also likely need solid business, marketing, analytical, game design, and publishing knowledge in order to achieve best-selling titles. Also, often mobile game developers don’t have the resources, guidance, or feedback outside of their immediate employees, which can hold them back from being able to create a more fully realised, more carefully crafted and considered title.
Our aim is to change that, by empowering the world’s best developer talent to reach the levels they deserve.