Home   >   Industry Voices

4 ways mobile gaming companies can succeed through failure

Disruptor Beam CEO Jon Radoff on why failure is to be accepted, not feared
4 ways mobile gaming companies can succeed through failure
Stay Informed
Get Industry News In Your Inbox…
Sign Up Today

Jon Radoff is CEO and Founder of Disruptor Beam.

Everyone fears the “F word”. No, not that F word. Here we’re talking about “failure” as it relates to running a company.

As human beings, we strive to reach success without bumps or bruises, but what most don’t realise is that the battle wounds acquired throughout the course of the journey are the very things that help you as an individual and your company grow exponentially.

It is important to embrace the learning process associated with failing instead of avoid it.

Failure is to be accepted, not feared.

Mobile gaming companies are inevitably going to come face-to-face with both minor and major failures. However, failure has to be expressed as an option as oppose to a point of no return.

In order to create innovation driven organisations, and as a result, innovative games, you have to take risks; you don’t learn as much from a successful experience as you do from an attempt that falls short of expectations.

It is important to embrace the learning process associated with failing instead of avoid it.

As an entrepreneur who has run five different gaming and technology companies, I’d like to share four tips on how a mobile gaming leader can incorporate a culture of failure into their company, leading to success in such a competitive industry.

1. Instill the acceptance of failure into your company’s DNA

Nothing is worse than building a mobile gaming company with the wrong foundation - who wants to build a house that could blow over in the wind, or a boat that will sink-under when pulled by the tide? Laying the wrong groundwork will only prove to be detrimental to the company once it’s faced with challenges.

Considering that obstacles are unavoidable, forming your company with the notion that failure is not only tolerated but also encouraged is crucial to both its sustainability and growth.

Mobile gaming is a vast industry, so by embracing the fact that failure happens, you allow for the potential growth that follows suit. Growth means that you’re able to reflect on failure - that’s how you know you’re doing it right!

Whether it is a large or small failure, be sure to encourage contesting changes with an open mind and a new perspective.

Once it becomes habitual to celebrate the learning that derives from failure, you can carry forward with a growth-mindset, and in turn work to improve your start-up, and your games.

2. Capitalise on what you learn from failure

Taking risks and experimenting in the mobile game marketplace will at some point result in failure - this notion is expected, and that’s perfectly okay.

Disruptor Beam took its learnings from <em>Game of Thrones Ascent</em> to help make <em>Star Trek Timelines</em> a better game.
Disruptor Beam took its learnings from Game of Thrones Ascent to help make Star Trek Timelines a better game.

Trying new things, taking leaps, nose-diving into unfamiliar waters - sometimes we don’t always land on the solid surface we were aiming for. But here’s the good news! When you end up there - and you will - learn from every crack and pothole in your rearview.

For example, at Disruptor Beam, we learned through our first game, Game of Thrones Ascent, that the incorporation of characters, great graphics and a parallel to the TV series encouraged users to play and stay engaged.

We learned from the experience, and our development team was sure to create our second game, Star Trek Timelines, with these features in mind.

Teaching how to learn from mistakes will only result in a net positive.

Teaching how to learn from mistakes will only result in a net positive. Institute a company-wide process for best practices for learning from failure. This fundamentally changes the company culture and makes it a positive experience for every part of the company.

3. Reassure your team that the right kind of failure is actually good

The right kind of failure is actually a good thing. Because the “F word” is feared in so many ways, for most, this is a tough concept to grasp.

So how can you reassure your team the right way to approach failure?

For starters, don’t punish an employee for failing as long as growth results from it. Celebration of the learning process, and sometimes even a small reward, will show and reassure your company that failing is okay as long as a positive change comes from it.

If an employee has a grip on company values, and passion and curiosity for the company’s growth, have patience and work with them to get them to place they need to be performance wise.

As a figure of authority, it’s important to keep a high tolerance level for performance to show employees that there is breathing room for taking chances and potentially making mistakes.


There is so much room for start-ups to grow, so finding the secret sauce for your company through the right kind if trial and error should be welcomed.

4. Create guardrails to avoid failing the wrong way

As good as failing can be, there are ways to fail incorrectly, too. It’s essential to highlight to your employees’ situations by which failing is not acceptable, to avoid confusion or misinterpretation.

So how can mobile gaming companies fail the wrong way? Well, consistently failing for the same reason doesn’t benefit anyone.

If an individual is making the same mistake over and over again, they clearly are not making the right changes and aren’t learning from their errors. Failing to learn from failures poses a destructive threat rather than a constructive steppingstone.

Failing to learn from failures poses a destructive threat rather than a constructive steppingstone.

That also includes “playing it safe” and not diversifying risk taking - don’t fear unfamiliar territories or be afraid to fail in different areas - that’s how we learn, so be sure to encourage them to test the waters!

Bringing It All Together

Learning and improvement always requires some sort of failure. Given that there is always room for growth, especially for a start-up, correctly approaching these failures will pave the way for future development.

So don’t be afraid to fail! Failure is inherent in taking risks and inevitably making progress.

Talk to your team, instill a mindset by which failing is acceptable, and clearly distinguish the best ways to do so.

By creating these guidelines, and making the distinction between good and bad forms of failure, it allows for action without hesitation moving forward.

By taking all feedback into account and working off of what you’ve previously done, your mobile gaming company will be able to cultivate for the next project and build something of even greater value than before.

After learning from our experiences with both Game of Thrones Ascent and Star Trek Timelines, our team at Disruptor Beam learned how compelling social storytelling is and what key elements drive usage.

For instance, we discovered how powerful personal connections to the characters drive engagement, and we will use this in our third game, debuting in 2017, The Walking Dead: March to War.