Becoming a publisher is part of our journey says Pocket Gems

Spreading the knowledge around

Becoming a publisher is part of our journey says Pocket Gems
As user acquisition costs grow, so we're seeing the rise (again) of mobile publishers.

Companies that already have a large network of games and players make for ideal partners for smaller developers who don't have the cash to drop $400,000 on a burst install campaign.

One such company, moving from a pure first party play into publishing, is US outfit Pocket Gems.

It announced its new initiative in late 2012, signing up games from dreamfab, WeRPLay and Twyngo.

We dropped in on publishing and business development manager Jameel Khalfan to find out how it's been going.

Pocket Gamer: Have you been surprised how successful your publishing initiative has been?

Jameel Khalfan: We're really excited about our publishing relationships and how things have gone so far. We are glad that applying what we've learned over the past three years has enabled us to help other developers become successful.

Do you think becoming a publisher is an admission that your internal teams are lacking in some way?

Not at all. In fact we had four of the top 100 grossing games on iOS in 2012. We believe that becoming a publisher is part of our journey to become a mobile entertainment company.

We want to leverage the successes and experiences we've had with our first party games, by expanding our network and helping others who have really great teams and really fun games to become successful.

What are you looking for in the games you publish/your development partners?

We are looking for developers who are making games our team loves, and are interested in all genres. We want to work with people who make fun games.

We think this takes a creative spirit and a desire to get feedback from customers and iterate on a game.

Are you concerned that publishing will eventually dilute the Pocket Gems' brand?

No. We are looking for partners and games that our team loves and that we consistently agree are great games.

We are looking for partners that we are excited about, not publishing a mass quantity of games and if we do that we will better be able to control our brand by feeling really confident in the games we publish.

What can you reveal about the sort of terms - with respect to IP, revenue share, co-marketing etc - developers could hope to gain from publishing with Pocket Gems?

Each deal is different. We are focused on treating each developer fairly and work with them to find the best balance for them and their game.

While each relationship is a little different, each will always include building a launch plan and bringing users to the games we publish.

Based on the needs of the developer, we will also:

  • Have product team members offer advice before launch on how to keep users engaged and how to monetise the game

  • After launch, help developers tune their games with Pocket Gems' analytics and advice from our team

Do you have an ideal breakdown in terms of the percentage of first and third party games you'd like to release in 2013?

No, we don't have an ideal breakdown in terms of first and third party games. We are less focused on the number of games we're producing and more focused on producing games we are really excited about.

Thanks to Jameel for his time.
You can find out more about its publishing push here, or check out some of its current partners in the following video.

Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.