Posted on Apr 17, 2021 8:30 AM
Eden Games, The Tiny Digital Factory… The two companies created by Stéphane Baudet, an Infogrames alumnus in Lyon, are associated with several great successes in the video game industry. First there is V-Rally on console, one of the twenty-five bestsellers in the history of gaming. Then RollerCoaster Tycoon, a mobile phone game with 30 million downloads, published by Atari, and more recently F1 Mobile Racing (at Codemasters) downloaded 16 million times since 2018, still with 150,000 daily players.
But now, the boss of The Tiny Digital Factory, created in Montreal in 2015 and repatriated to Lyon in 2017, no longer wants to act as subcontractors for the big studios. The specialist in the Grand Prix universe released its first production in March, GT Manager, a racing management game: will you be able to find sponsors to meet your budget? Change the tires at the right time?
30 days for break-even point
“From creation to edition, we want to work for us”, says Stéphane Baudet, tired of co-development. With 18 employees, and ten years of experience in racing games, The Tiny Digital Factory focuses on mobile games, more interesting than before “Thanks to technology which has evolved a lot”, he said, and on the Racing category, which represents 5% of mobile game revenues.
TTDF had raised 1.2 million euros for GT Manager, with a grant for the creation of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, a grant from the CNC, support from bpifrance and a partnership from Red Bull. The publisher has planned a first advertising budget, for the acquisition of players, of 400,000 euros in 2021 for Europe. “Few compared to large machines, but a lot for an independent”, he said. It is a boot envelope. “If the results are good, Societe Generale is ready to release several hundred thousand additional euros. “ What is a good return on investment? “A return to balance between 30 and 90 days. So far, all of our campaigns are positive. But we need to get closer to the low 30 day range. “
Schematically, to recover 400,000 euros from advertisements on Facebook, Google, Instagram, YouTube or more specialized platforms, TTDF must attract 400,000 players, of which only 5% will be “paying” players willing to put 15 to 30 euros on average, on their “lifespan” in the game, in the purchase of means of accelerated progression or customization. “It is a matter of balance between targeted campaigns, expensive, at 5 euros the acquisition of a player, but with a rate of paying players close to 15%, and volume campaigns, at 1 euro per player , but low contributor players ”, explains the president.
Seducing Tencent in China
The tests were carried out in Holland and Belgium, where GT Manager, with 100,000 downloads, managed to climb into the Top 10 for auto games on mobile. Auspicious. “But every country is like a school of fish. Even taking care to renew the presentation videos to vary the hook, the potential is reduced with each new campaign and it is necessary to go find another school of fish in a new country. “
For player acquisition, TTDF works with business partners in both Americas, leaving them a commission on profits. Strategically, GT Manager has not yet been released in Asia: “We are waiting to have good profitability to promote in Europe and the United States to attract high-level local partners. China alone weighs more than all the other territories combined. It can make a huge difference to land the right partner, the best being Tencent, or the worse. “