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The GameMakers podcast publishes current, entertaining, and in-depth discussions on F2P game development. Topics that we cover include the business of games, F2P monetization, liveops, game design, game development processes, team structure, and more.
 
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Happy Thanksgiving! I'm in India this year and had a Mexican burrito bowl in the office by myself. Lol. As I sat in the office late at night, I recorded another cringe and weird video for my kids. Too many people undervalue opportunity! I just wanted to let you know that I'm grateful this Thanksgiving for the opportunity to try to build something m…
 
We deep dive on eSports. Current market and growth projections, what kinds of games do well, business model, structure, prize pools, key trends, geographic differences, and more! Join us with our esteemed group of speakers: Ilaria Caputo (EA), Matthew Kanterman (Ball Metaverse Research Partners), and Hugo Tristao (Newzoo). Speaker links below. 👇 EP…
 
Stoffer Touborg was a lead game designer on Eve Online at CCP, led Wild Rift at Riot, and currently acts as Executive Producer on Bitcraft Online for Clockwork Labs. Stoffer is one of the most thoughtful game industry executives I know, and I regularly ask Stoffer for advice on leadership, organizational principles, and recruiting. Today we talk ab…
 
I speak to Rahul Chowdhri, an investor at Stellaris Venture Partners, about the venture capital market in India, the current state of investment here, and his outlook on investments in gaming in India. OUTLINE: 0:00 General landscape of venture capital in India 2:20 Specialist vs. generalist VCs, the definition of micro-VC 3:35 Sudden investment in…
 
Predicting a game's success during concept or development is an incredibly difficult problem. What are typical ways companies, especially big companies think about and manage their green light process? What kinds of corporate nonsense occurs that hurts game outcomes? SUBSCRIBE TO GAMEMAKERS: - Apple Podcast: https://apple.co/34hfOtv - Spotify Podca…
 
Today's focus will be on the F2P game design discipline. How it’s evolved, what does it take to be successful as a game designer, the tools and practice of a F2P game designer, and where does John think the future is headed for F2P game design. 👇 EPISODE LINKS: - PlaySimple Games: https://playsimple.in/ - John Kelly LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.c…
 
I interview Matthew Emery aka "The Games Consultant" about what it means to build a F2P liveops "Playbook." Listen to this Q&A between me and Matt! SUBSCRIBE TO GAMEMAKERS: - Apple Podcast: https://apple.co/34hfOtv - Spotify Podcast: https://spoti.fi/3Cpyq7i - Newsletter: https://gamemakers.substack.com/ - Don't miss an episode on Youtube: https://…
 
Drew Levin is currently Director of Product at Riot Games and before that a Director of Product Management at Zynga. Zynga vs. Riot: two companies with wildly different approaches to game development, decision-making, and a culture of debate and discussion. Even more, Drew worked as a political campaign manager before game development. I believe Dr…
 
I talk about why I'm sacrificing so much to try and make Lila Games a successful company. Also, how much of my thinking was influenced by the Clayton Christensen essay (there's a book as well, which I haven't read yet) "How Will You Measure Your Life?"--- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/gamemakers/message…
 
Get the data and read the more in-depth take here: https://gamemakers.substack.com/p/will-dislyte-be-liliths-next-big We talk about Lilith Games' latest mobile game: Dislyte. It's a "team battle" (game sub-genre) based mobile game that started strong but has recently slowed down. What are the chances of success? We bring on two experts who recently…
 
Coming off of one of the toughest months in my career, I reflect on how lucky I am to be faced with problems. It's only through problems and major challenges that you can learn how to get better. Adversity, therefore, is a gift! As Ray Dalio wrote in Principles: Pain + Reflection = Progress It's tough, but I hope you realize as I have that we are f…
 
Oh damn, I actually made another Vlog. Well, today I talk about the importance of discipline, drive, and details in execution and achieving successful outcomes. Further, I talk about how mental strength magnifies the 3Ds and how you can train for mental strength like a muscle. SUBSCRIBE TO GAMEMAKERS: - Apple Podcast: https://apple.co/34hfOtv - Spo…
 
Oliver Jones is an OG game maker in India having worked at 2 of India's biggest companies like Zynga and co-founded Moonfrog (sold to Stillfront for $100M). He has now co-founded a new games studio called Bombay Play focusing on a new breed of games called "hyper social" games. Why did Oli come to India in the first place? How were companies like Z…
 
Are you a workaholic grinder like me? Well, it finally got the best of me and totally jacked up my back and face. Health is critical! I talk about a big problem, trying to fix my health, and the results of my plan to get better in this video. SUBSCRIBE TO GAMEMAKERS: - Apple Podcast: https://apple.co/34hfOtv - Spotify Podcast: https://spoti.fi/3Cpy…
 
Today I speak to Seb Park regarding how startups should incorporate "Bayesian Thinking" into their strategic decision-making process. This means how to incorporate new information for a startup best and how to use that to gain a massive competitive advantage. SUBSCRIBE TO GAMEMAKERS: - Apple Podcast: https://apple.co/34hfOtv - Spotify Podcast: http…
 
When you're at the office super late and hella tired, you do weird shit like starting a Vlog. I'm Joseph Kim, CEO of Lila Games and we are trying to build a mobile gaming studio out of Bangalore, India. SUBSCRIBE TO GAMEMAKERS: - Apple Podcast: https://apple.co/34hfOtv - Spotify Podcast: https://spoti.fi/3Cpyq7i - Newsletter: https://gamemakers.sub…
 
Mobile free-to-play game design experts from Naavik - Thomas Baker (former lead game designer at Electronic Arts and lead on Real Racing 3) and Eva Grillova (former game designer from Wooga and SocialPoint) - have written a super in-depth analysis on Garena Free Fire. Find out how Free Fire was able to achieve success to become the world's most dow…
 
We talk about a lot of hot topics people have been discussing in the games industry. Topics: #1. The dramatic decline in user acquisition marketing - UA Apocalypse #2. Impact of global recession #3. Employee compensation SUBSCRIBE TO GAMEMAKERS: - Apple Podcast: https://apple.co/34hfOtv - Spotify Podcast: https://spoti.fi/3Cpyq7i - Newsletter: http…
 
Joseph Kim and Brett Nowak talk about cultural installation (not just conveying or communicating culture) and about how to create incentive systems for employees. SUBSCRIBE TO GAMEMAKERS: - Apple Podcast: https://apple.co/34hfOtv - Spotify Podcast: https://spoti.fi/3Cpyq7i - Newsletter: https://gamemakers.substack.com/ - Don't miss an episode on Yo…
 
Will Harbin was CEO at Kixeye during the early 2010s when the company launched some of the most innovative games to the market at that time: Desktop Tower Defense, Backyard Monsters, War Commander, and Battle Pirates. The company was poised to become the next big gaming juggernaut but did not quite make the transition to mobile. Today Will is makin…
 
Sebastian Park is a co-founder of the UGC publishing company Infinite Canvas and a venture partner at BITKRAFT Ventures. He was also formerly VP of eSports for the Houston Rockets and co-founded Clutch Gaming. Seb talks about his beliefs on why user-generated gaming is the next frontier for the games industry. SUBSCRIBE TO GAMEMAKERS: - Apple Podca…
 
Three of the greatest experts on Entertainment IP in Games give perhaps the most in-depth discussion on impact, deal structure, issues, and advice. You don't want to miss this if you have any interest of licensing IP in your game! SUBSCRIBE TO GAMEMAKERS: - Apple Podcast: https://apple.co/34hfOtv - Spotify Podcast: https://spoti.fi/3Cpyq7i - Newsle…
 
After a career in product management at places like Zynga Natural Motion and Digital Chocolate, Akash Senapaty founded e-learning startup Vah Vah with 3 others from Zynga India. What are the lessons learned? What was he able to translate from being a games PM at Zynga to entrepreneurship? What are his thoughts on the gaming companies and the opport…
 
We discuss the current opportunity space for traditional game developers around Web3. SUBSCRIBE TO GAMEMAKERS: - Apple Podcast: https://apple.co/34hfOtv - Spotify Podcast: https://spoti.fi/3Cpyq7i - Newsletter: https://gamemakers.substack.com/ - Don't miss an episode on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/GameMakersStudio OUTLINE: 0:00 Introduction …
 
We talk about game studio fundraising and specifically Series A funding - what that means - and lessons, best practices, and mistakes based on my own experience with this current financing round. Understand the difference between Seed and Series A. Make sure you don't make the same mistakes I did. Don't be a lame CEO and make sure you take funding …
 
Mr. Product Growth Guy himself Aakash Gupta and I discuss the details behind our recent report on the growth and Rise of Gaming in India. Check out the full written analysis here: https://gamemakers.substack.com/p/the-rise-of-the-indian-gaming-market SUBSCRIBE TO GAMEMAKERS Newsletter: https://gamemakers.substack.com/ - Don't miss an episode on You…
 
How should companies think about retaining employees? 1. How much to invest in employees when they may wind up just leaving? 2. How to retain employees besides just wage escalation? 3. What should the attitude of employers be regarding the loss of employees? 4. How to think about matching competitive compensation vs. letting employees go? 5. Thinki…
 
The Russia Ukraine war has had a dramatic impact on many people’s lives. Huge impact to society, to our economies, and to various industries in different ways. How has video game development been impacted by the war? Boris Kalmykov, CEO of Hypemasters is a Russian living in the UK but with most of his company formerly located in St. Petersberg. - H…
 
Today I’m here with my co-founder and CTO of LILA Games, Avinash Pandey. Having a frank discussion about the games industry here in India and what it’s going to take for India to become a place where world-leading games studios emerge. If China and Turkey can do it, why not India? SUBSCRIBE TO GAMEMAKERS: - Newsletter: https://gamemakers.substack.c…
 
We breakdown the mobile marketing activities of both Garena Free Fire Max and PUBG: New State, comparing and contrasting the user acquisition initiatives deployed in both games. We first start with a high-level overview of the top 3 mobile shooter games: PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty Mobile, and Garena Free Fire. Joining to review, discuss, and add mea…
 
What are the skills and kind of personality required to be a winning product manager? In particular, what do you need to become a "needle-moving" PM instead of a minor cog that doesn't actually make much of a difference? High-level outline 1. Organizational differences we often see in different gaming studios and talk about some of the ways in whic…
 
We discuss the current state of mergers & acquisitions in the games industry. Topics: 0:00 Introduction 4:13 Activision to Microsoft 12:16 Zynga to Take-Two 25:30 Current M&A Landscape 39:25 Potential Targets 48:17 Playtika Acquisition 51:52 Carve-Out Opportunities 1:01:03 Predictions Speakers: - Saad Choudri, CEO at Miniclip - Michael Metzger, Par…
 
Some context: - IDFA deprecation has created a -30% margin compression for many game studios against their game revenue - With the deterioration of lookalike audiences CA submits that contextual and interest-based targeting will be more performant - Consumer Acquisition performed over 25,000 multivariate tests on Facebook, Google, Tiktok, and Snap …
 
A deep discussion on how we think about employee motivation to work. How should we think about it? We cover topics such as key factors that contribute to higher motivation, the importance of desperation, how it's important to help some employees tie potential outcomes to the work they do, and the importance of creating the right incentive systems t…
 
We discuss the best and worst of game dev in 2021. Our awards crew: Javier Barnes, Lead Game Designer at King Josh Burns, Founder at DigitalDevConnect Shannon Chang, Head of Operations at Trading.TV Niklas Herriger, Executive Coach at 8 Bit Coaching Matthew Kanterman, CFA, Senior Equity Research Analyst at Bloomberg LP Eric Kress, Principal at Goss…
 
We talk about some of the biggest trends and lessons of 2021: 1. Rise of Personal Brands (and everyone now jumping on) 2. Power and Importance of Relationships 3. The Duality of Existence and Human Nature 4. The New New Thing Read about it in the GameMakers newsletter --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/gamemakers/message…
 
Today we discuss one of the most important topics for the success of a games studio, especially for startups and those working on new game projects: RECRUITING! GUEST: - Tayber Voyer, VP of Product - A Thinking Ape HOSTS: - Joseph Kim, CEO at LILA Games - Brett Nowak, CEO at Liquid & Grit Read about it in the GameMakers newsletter --- Send in a voi…
 
Bill Walsh, the Hall of Fame NFL coach, had a number of incredibly insightful and effective leadership philosophies as discussed in his book "The Score Takes Care of Itself." One philosophy Walsh discusses is something he calls "Make Friends, Not Enemies." We discuss this concept and as always the nuance and specific application. Check it out! HOST…
 
An in-depth discussion on how to technical leads at gaming companies can become great! Super far-ranging conversation from the scope of work, biggest problems, transitioning from individual contributor to manager, how to spend day to day, biggest lessons learned, and more! SPEAKERS: - Niklas Herriger, Executive Coach, Founder of 8 Bit Coaching - To…
 
Companies globally require new ways of managing as they grapple with new working conditions from the coronavirus pandemic. As companies adapt to greater work-from-home environments, new problems have arisen. Brett believes in a new world of remote work where those who don't adapt will not survive, JK believes that for "complex work" and for compani…
 
We talk to some really dope superstars in the games industry to discuss this issue: - Gigi Levy-Weiss, Partner NFX - Brian Peganoff, former Corp Dev at Glu, VP at Deutsche Bank - Kristian Segerstrale, CEO Super Evil Megacorp Content Overview: 0:00 Intro 2:26 Role & Time of the CEO 14:31 Product Oriented CEOs 19:22 Examples of Great CEOs 26:52 Requi…
 
How should you make difficult decisions? What are common kinds of difficult decisions in the games industry? What are common decision-making models? What are important distinctions between types of decisions? Deep dive on this very important topic in great depth and with our typical philosophical approach! HOSTS: - Joseph Kim, CEO at LILA Games - B…
 
We discuss the sustainability and economy behind the massive hit blockchain game Axie Infinity. Naavik has released a research report breaking down the economy and sustainability of the game (check out the link to the report below). Axie seems to have reached an inflection point in which the game may no longer be sustainable. Find out more about Ax…
 
We brought together a number of experts from across the gaming ecosystem to have a casual but deep and informed discussion about the future of mobile gaming. In particular, what are key opportunities game developers should be aware of and what are the potential risks as we move into 2022 and beyond. SPEAKERS: - Nadav Ashkenazy, SVP Publishing Solut…
 
What kinds of planning do product managers do in game development? We discuss the kinds of planning in concept/pre-production, production, and in live ops. What kinds of revenue forecasting and analysis should you do? How to plan for big innovations vs. incremental liveops beats? GUEST: - Adam Telfer, Senior Director of Product - Head of Central Pr…
 
So today there are a lot of complaints about whether a 30% Apple or Google app store fee is fair. And even further, whether there should be competition and the ability to have an open ecosystem for alternative payments or even app stores. We have on with us today some folks who will talk about both the current situation behind App Store fees and sp…
 
Back at you with some deep thoughts on the challenges, difficulties, and potential solutions for one of the biggest problems at most companies: - How to give employee feedback and do performance reviews We deep people. Listen to this pod and let us know what you think! LINKS: - Airbnb System: The Power of Performance Reviews: Use This System to Bec…
 
Lol. We discuss the nuance in definitions and scope of work-life balance, differences between work-life balance and work-life integration, compensation issues for people working a lot at start-ups, and other touchy subjects. I generally don't edit, but went way too far on this so we edited a bunch of stuff out. About Us: - Joseph Kim, CEO, LILA Gam…
 
We discuss mobile ad revenue and monetization going into 2022 and beyond. We initially talked about mobile ad revenue back in January and got a lot of great feedback. Check out the original video we did back in January: - Mobile Ad Revenue in 2021 So, what happened in 2021? Why didn't CPMs collapse and what are we seeing now? How did the market pla…
 
We discuss the Peter Thiel concept of 0 to 1 vs. 1 to N in the context of product management. We believe there is a pretty big distinction between new game development which is oriented around this 0 to 1 concept and the 1 to N or live-ops PM. Links: - Zero to One by Peter Thiel About Us: - Joseph Kim, CEO, LILA Games - Brett Nowak, CEO, Liquid & G…
 
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