PGC Digital: Lessons to learn for working with independent developers

"It is business and nothing personal"

PGC Digital: Lessons to learn for working with independent developers

As a publisher, you will need to work with a variety of development studios. Some may be triple-A, other double-A and some will be independent.

As part of Pocket Gamer Connects Digital #2, 1C Publishing director for business development and publishing Anton Ravin discussed working with independent developers, and what lessons the company has learned over the years.

Modern developers are different to past developers when it comes to skillset, and they don't tend to be as skilled as those from the past due to the amount of top-end tools available to them which makes their job easier.


"If you are a publisher or an agency looking for a small indie project, you can find them," said Ravin.

Tiny, hidden indie gems can be found, and companies can track them down or even become such a gem themselves. But it can take time and patience to stumble upon an opportunity like it.

Furthermore, a strong development team of 50 does not guarantee success; you can be successful as a small team too. A larger studio is more likely to create a hit through experience, but this is never guaranteed.

"Video game distribution has changed drastically over the past 15 years and dramatically over the past five years," said Ravin

"It has led to developers being able to publish their own titles. As a result, some studios think they can achieve everything alone - publishing and distribution."

Ravin continued: "The less experienced developers have unrealistic expectations of themselves and often have very unrealistic expectations of partners."

It is essential to communicate with potential partners and remain optimistic. However, it is important to discuss the worst-case scenario. The problem is, nobody wants to hear about obstacles and issues, but it can help development further down the line.


"It is business and nothing personal," said Ravin.

If you want to build long-lasting business relationships, then it is crucial to be brutally honest. On both sides, it is important to remember that it is a business deal; it's nothing personal. For a project to succeed both parties need to work together and understand that feedback is essential.

However, because indie studios can lack experience, they can overlook important details or miss vital elements in their project. "I strongly believe that in order to change a plan, you must have a plan, to begin with."

A lack of planning can lead to a poor design that is too far below expectations, and this can result in rejection or the scrapping of a project.

Independent developers need to create a plan with great attention to detail. Furthermore, it needs to take extra care with its GDD, as this can affect the success the studio will see when pitching to a publisher. On top of this, make sure there is enough time to create a good prototype.

PG Connects Digital #2 is the best of our Pocket Gamer Connects conference in an online form, with an entire week of talks, meetings, and pitch events taking place from June 8th to the 12th. You can read up on all the tracks taking place through the week here.

Staff Writer

Kayleigh is the Staff Writer for Besides PGbiz and PCGI she has written as a list writer for Game Rant, rambling about any and all things games related. You can also find her on Twitter talking utter nonsense.