Today’s biggest games are typically created by teams that cross corporate boundaries, with publishers, developers, and management companies working together to bring a project to fruition. However, such partnerships can always be rigid and transactional in nature.
Scopely, however, is seeking a more holistic collaboration, as part of its Scopely Studio Ecosystem initiative, which applies to both internal and external partners of the developer of Marvel Strike Force. Where he promises to eliminate the traditional boundaries between developer and publisher.
As part of the initiative, the company has just announced a $ 50 million investment in three European studios, including two in the UK: Omnidrone from Barcelona, Pixel Toys from Leamington Spa and Tag Games from Dundee. In practice, this means that studios can benefit from Scopely’s proprietary publishing infrastructure, operating system and technology platform – Playgami.
SCOPE OF THE PROJECT
Scopely’s Director of Revenue Tim O’Brien explained to us in more detail how these agreements differ from simple hire-purchase contracts to create new titles for Scopely.
“Our games are real collaborations between Scopely product managers and our game studios, whether they are internal Scopely studios or external partner studios, like the three we are talking about today. Our philosophy has always been that the best products are the result of truly unified and collaborative gaming teams. We aim to bring together the most talented, passionate and experienced experts in specific game genres, and then break down the traditional boundaries between developer and publisher, co-creating as one team.
“Our partnerships are in place from day one to accomplish this kind of collaboration and integration. We have also configured our operational and technological platform Playgami to be flexible and dynamic according to the needs of each development team. We strive to create a culture of game creation that enhances creativity and fosters success. “
Pixel Toys are one of Scopely’s newly announced partners, although the couple have been working together for some time it is becoming evident. The Leamington-based studio is best known for its Warhammer-related titles, such as Fireblade, Realm War, and the recent Battle Sister. And Pixel Toys CEO Andy Wafer is very positive about the collaboration so far:
“We pride ourselves on creating great, bold games that defy expectations – and this is only possible because of our talented and creative people. Scopely shares our mindset and our teams instantly mingled, and this strong momentum will continue to unleash creativity and shared learning that will provide incredible experiences for players, ”Wafer said of the unannounced title.
“We have already learned a lot by joining this ecosystem and leveraging the power of Scopely’s Playgami technology and we feel very appreciated for the expertise and creativity that our studio also brings,” added Wafer. “This funding represents an investment in the future of fun.”
And while the exact details of the investment structure are not public, Scopely’s O’Brien is keen to let us know how remote these deals are from the job to be hired.
Although each partnership is unique, our goal is never to structure the partnerships of external studios in the form of work for hire; rather, we are a team committed to a long-term relationship and serving the players for years to come. We invest in our partner studios to remove any constraints they may have on their business, which could typically include access to capital, technological capabilities, recruiting talent to grow their teams, publishing infrastructure, etc. .
“In the case of investments like these, we provide the resources to co-create and deliver the deepest, most immersive games possible. We work with our partners because of their world-class talent and what they bring to the game creation process, and they work with us because of the unique and highly integrated studio ecosystem that we have built.
Marc Williamson, CEO of Tag Games, is more than happy to support O’Brien’s line: “Having worked with many publishers over the years, Scopely has differentiated itself as a company of game makers who value collaboration and iteration to improve the player experience above all else.
The Dundee-based developer has worked on titles as diverse as Pocket Mortys, the CSR2 racing title, Downton Abbey: Mysteries of the Manor and Prison Architect Mobile. Even then, Williamson is impressed with Scopely’s offer.
“We have been inspired by what we have learned from their rich ecosystem so far and look forward to what more we can do together. With the support of Scopely and the technology they have engineered to create truly personalized player experiences as well as knowledge sharing between studios, making games is a very enjoyable adventure.
Scopely’s O’Brien provides more details on the scope of the offer to partners.
“They benefit from what we call our ‘operating system’, or the people and processes that power our game creation at Scopely, including our publishing infrastructure, our cross-functional ‘learning machine’ and platform. proprietary technological form Playgami, which offers a range of tools and products. These Scopely differentiators allow teams to unleash their full potential and not only create games players love, but also turn them into great companies for the long haul. “
By this, O’Brien intends to help eliminate distractions such as funding, talent, technology, etc.
“Partners are also able to co-create products based on some of the world’s most popular AAA IP addresses – access they often wouldn’t have on their own. The studios are also merging into a single game team with product managers, engineers, analysts, marketers and more, Scopely, which aims to add more value and inputs to the creative process.
It’s something Omnidrone CEO Gerard Fernandez is happy to endorse. “Scopely’s investment in our team allows us to create a truly unique, fresh and ambitious atmosphere at Omnidrone, and to attract even more talent to our studio,” he said.
“We can combine the agility of a boutique game studio with the expertise, leadership and transformative technology of Scopely to collaborate on innovative gaming experiences that are just as exciting to develop as they are to play. With more than 30 open roles, we are actively looking for the best game creators in the world to join us on this adventure with Scopely in Barcelona, ”he notes.
Scopely is headquartered in Los Angeles and has made a very conscious choice to jointly announce these three European investments. We wonder if it’s because he wants to hire developers who have a certain outlook, to better engage a European audience.
O’Brien doesn’t quite see it that way, however. “We are looking for the best possible talent and are open to working with teams all over the world. We currently have partner studios on four continents and expect that number to continue to grow… Some of the best game makers in the world are operating in Europe, and we look forward to finding new teams to work with in the market that share our cultural orientation. towards excellence, learning and enjoying the process of making games.
And beyond making these games, studios will be exploiting them as live concerns. “Our gaming experiences are co-created prior to launch by Scopely and our studios – as a unified gaming team – and then grow and evolve every day as global experiences operated live by that same gaming team, as well. as our technology and publishing teams. . “
These experiences currently include not only base game experiences such as Marvel Strike Force and Star Trek Fleet Commander, but also occasional titles such as Scrabble Go and Yahtzee with Buddies. So it’s hard to predict where the new titles will end up in Scopely’s slate (although we bet Pixel Toys isn’t working on a Match-3 game!)
“We have an extremely diverse live games portfolio… we have always been extremely ambitious with our strategy, having the conviction to explore and enter new genres of games with passionate and experienced teams to do so,” explains O’Brien.
“Instead of focusing on what we’ve done well historically, or where we have current expertise, we’re focusing on what players will enjoy and where the industry is going. This approach is also why we’ve built the ecosystem of studios we discussed today – to find and collaborate with new talent who share our enthusiasm for creating and have the expertise to build innovative businesses and sustainable.
So what should other studios think that think Scopely is a good partner for them?
“We are very attentive to the partners with whom we partner to ensure the most optimal two-way relationship. We want our partner studios to be complementary, not redundant, in talent with our current expertise and that the teams are thrilled to be one, ”said O’Brien. “Overall, we are looking for a few key elements from our partners: gender expertise, strong leadership, creative thinkers who will move Scopely forward and a group that is enthusiastic about partnering for the long term.
“When it comes to strong leadership, Gerard at Omnidrone, Alex and Andy at Pixel Toys and Marc at Tag Games all bring a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to their studios and we are excited to partner with them as we build together new gaming experiences. “