Interview

Competing with the big boys: Tilting Point on what publishers should be offering indie developers in 2017

Competing with the big boys: Tilting Point on what publishers should be offering indie developers in 2017

US games publisher Tilting Point has been fairly quiet through 2017, but that doesn't mean that it hasn't been working hard.

It kicked off November 2017 by signing a publishing deal with Edgeworks for its upcoming game TerraGenesis, which won our Big Indie Pitch in San Francisco in June 2017.

Tilting Point also signed a dozen other deals and launched its first game in China, SIEGE: Titan Wars, which Chief Operating Officer Samir El Agili tells us is the publisher's "most ambitious game to date".

"We're on track to double revenue and we’ve doubled our staff in the past year - our total headcount is now 55 - while quadrupling the size of our business development team to address the marketplace's growing needs for publishing services and user acquisition funding," he says.

Harsh reality

It's an impressive amount of growth for the publisher, particularly when its clients are largely indie developers - and indies don't always get along with publishers.

But in the current mobile climate, with a handful of big developers dominating the charts, indies have started turning to publishers once again to help them get noticed.

Give artists the freedom to focus their passion and energies where they are best spent.
Samir El Agili

"The reality of the mobile games space today is that the massive overcrowding of app stores has driven up the costs of obtaining users to such a degree as to make them out of reach for the average developer out there on their own," explains El Agili.

"The juggernauts of the industry, with the backing of heavy capital investment and experienced specialists, have made a finely tuned science out of targeting and holding onto users, especially those willing to spend money in-game.

"That's just not an environment in which your average indie, even with a great idea and phenomenal talent, can compete on equal footing."

Give them space

With that in mind, El Agili feels that mobile game publishers in 2017 need to take a supporting role on games, and handle anything that would stop a small indie developer delivering their best work.

"That means giving artists the freedom to focus their passion and energies where they are best spent - creative design and gameplay innovation, for example - while using the publisher's expertise and power to scale to make a measurable impact behind-the-scenes with things like data management, marketing and advertising," he notes.

Game Alliance has quickly evolved into a major pillar of our growth moving forward.
Samir El Agili

"And beyond that, you've got to create publishing structures that allow developers to pick and choose what level of funding to accept and how to apply that investment to the specific services they need.

"That's the kind of publisher that's going to keep being able to add value for developers in the market we’re in."

Adding value

Tilting Point is tackling that problem in its own way – it set up its Game Alliance fund at the end of 2016, which provides cash to developers to spend on UA and build their game.

El Agili is tight-lipped on Game Alliance's progress for now, saying simply that it has "has quickly evolved into a major pillar of our growth moving forward".

He adds: "We're open now to a variety of deal structures, services, and funding arrangements, so you can definitely expect more to come. I can't be more specific just yet, but we'll be publishing our next big title very soon."


Deputy Editor

Ric likes to read epic poems and watch classic films to hide the fact he plays way too many games. The facade has thus far not been very effective.

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