Mobile game developer and publisher Pocket Gems today released a case study about its publishing program, where the company explained its publishing philosophy and process. It’s first two published games — Chasing Yello for Android and Amazing Ants for iOS — both saw more than two million installs in the first two weeks of its respective releases.
The purpose of the case study was to review the first two games Pocket Gems published and to share some information on how the games performed as well as more on the publishing process between Pocket Gems and the indie developers. Future developers can get a better sense as to how Pocket Gems works with developers, since many have asked Pocket Gems how its publishing process works.
“We had on our website that this is the general process, but here we can say here’s what we did with the first developers we worked with and get a better sense of what it actually looks like,” says Jameel Khalfan, who oversees publishing efforts for Pocket Gems.
The San Francisco-headquartered game studio, which was founded in 2009, first announced that it was adding a publishing side to its business in December 2012. The development house had revealed three games from indie developers it was publishing so far. The first game published by Pocket Gems was endless swimmer game Chasing Yello for Android in December 2012 from German developer Dreamfab and Danish developer Tactile Entertainment. The second title was Twyngo’s Lemmings-like puzzler Amazing Ants for iOS in January. Pocket Gems’ third announced title that was part of its initial publishing deal was we.R.play’s robot action title RoboQuest for iOS, which has yet to release. Khalfan says the game will launch “soon.”
Khalfan reiterated what CEO Ben Liu told Inside Mobile Apps last year, saying Pocket Gems didn’t believe there were any good publishing options for developers, so that’s why the company decided to fill that void.
“We only publish games that we love from a small group developers,” Khalfan says. “Our goal isn’t to go and publish a thousand games. Our goal is to find the best games and focus our time and attention on them rather than going for the shotgun approach.”
Pocket Gems helped Twyngo and Dreamfab through the entire publishing process including the design, engagement, and monetization phase, the testing phase and the launch phase. Khalfan adds that each developer Pocket Gems worked with needed help in one phase more than the other. Pocket Gems helped Twyngo decide whether it should release two versions of Amazing Ants — a light and full version — or a purely freemoim game with in-app purchase. Twyngo ultimately went with the latter. Dreamfab, which had already released Chasing Yello for iOS on its own, came to Pocket Gems for help with porting the title to Android. Due to the severe fragmentation when it comes to Android devices, Pocket Gems aided Dreamfab by telling the indie developer its best practices for which Android devices and operating system versions Dreamfab should support and not support.
“For each different game, it’s going to be a different approach from everything from the game design to the QA process to the launch and the ongoing marketing and analytics,” Khalfan says. “That’s the best approach for developers because they all want something a little bit different and they all have different skills sets, and they all have different things they are good at and things they want help on.”
Pocket Gems is now one of many major gaming giants such as DeNA, GREE, Zynga and Kabam which have invested into the publishing of third-party titles.
A fear many indie developers have when working with publishers is if their game doesn’t perform well, publishers will put less support and resources into the their game, while putting more into games that are performing well.
“We want to put in our all for every game that we publish, so that’s why we focus on a smaller set of games,” Khalfan says.
Khalfan says Pocket Gems is currently looking for more games to publish from all genres and primarily free-to-play. Developers interested in learning more about Pocket Gems’ publishing efforts can go here.