If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

ICO Partners' Thomas Bidaux

The founder of the online consulting business talks life after NCsoft and his predictions for digital gaming

Thomas Bidaux has an online gaming background that has spanned ten years, beginning at France Telecom working on French MMORPG La 4eme Prophetie then Dark Age of Camelot, then moving to NCsoft to establish its European subsidiary and manage the teams responsible for Guild Wars and City of Heroes.

In April 2008, he left NCsoft to found his own online gaming consulting company, ICO Partners. A year and a half on, Bidaux has grown a small team and works with clients such as Atari and DoubleSix. In a chat with GamesIndustry.biz, he speaks about the company's successes and challenges to date and the future for digital gaming as he sees it.

GamesIndustry.biz Can you tell us a little bit about ICO Partners and what you do?
Thomas Bidaux

ICO Partners is a consulting agency, dedicated to online games and the business of online games specifically. We advise a very different area of clients in online business, and people who want to enter the online gaming business who have not done it before. We advise international publishers who want to enter the European market and we have a lot of contact with Asian publishers helping them build their strategy for the European market. We help developers as well who are interested in self publishing.

It's one of our biggest growth areas this year, as successful studios start to have enough cash to consider self publishing online games they need to learn how to become publishers themselves and there's a number of skill sets they need to acquire. As a company, the real thing we do is act as experts for online games and share that expertise with people.

GamesIndustry.biz Who do you work with?
Thomas Bidaux

We have helped Club Penguin in Europe, we help Atari. We are currently working with NHN, which is the number one internet company in Korea. They're looking at the European market and we're helping them with their strategy. We've been collaborating with studio DoubleSix - there's also a number of people we can't share the details of, but those are the ones we can officially talk about.

GamesIndustry.biz What made you decide to set up an online consulting company following your time with NCsoft?
Thomas Bidaux

I've been working in online gaming for ten years. I really wanted to do something else, something different to what I had been doing with NCsoft. And consulting for me was the next logical step. It's a lot of fun to work on one game; it's a lot more fun to work on multiple games. It's even more fun, in a way, to work with multiple companies on multiple games.

I think we are all thriving and learning new things, and when you're a consultant it's a learning experience that makes you richer in many, many ways. That was some of the motivation. The rest was that I am a huge proponent in telling that the European market is a huge market for online games that is untapped by many people. So those two things combined together made online consulting really attractive to me.

I started on my own, tried a lot of things and last year, in September, I was joined by a former NCsoft colleague Diane Lagrange. Now we are three people and we have a fourth person joining us by the end of the year so we are a small, focused company. But because we hire people with a really high level of expertise in that very specific area, we do very very well.

GamesIndustry.biz Do you have a broad remit with the sorts of online games you're working with? It's obviously a market that's constantly evolving at present.
Thomas Bidaux

Yes. I've worked on MMO RPGs, client-based, products sold through normal retail - and now we're working also on Facebook games, browser based games, all of these kinds of things. Anything that is online and connected we try to work on - which is a very broad definition.

GamesIndustry.biz The market is growing fast. Was that another of the reasons you decided it would be a good area to get into?
Thomas Bidaux

Ideally actually I would have started a bit earlier, because I think that it grows quicker and quicker each year. And it's still going to grow for a few years. But yes it's one of the reasons. I knew the market has a lot of potential - we're just seeing the first premise of games online. I think people don't realise how many games need to happen to reach the full potential and there's a lot of things that are not happening yet. I think there's potential growth for years and years to go. We'll probably see very quick growth right now and it may slow down at some point but the growth itself is not going to stop for a while.

Topics in this article

Follow topics and we'll email you when we publish something new about them.  Manage your notification settings.


Kath Brice