In a recent interview, Global Top Round VP of global business development Pontus Mähler discussed how mobile investment has changed over the past years, told about the new GTR Seed Program, and talked about the change in indie acceptance.
Every year Global Top Round, an interactive accelerator program, chooses ten gaming startups around the globe and supports their growth with investment, networking, and guidance. The Accelerator Program has been running for seven years offering startups relatively small investments (not more than $40,000 for the first investment) and recently it has expanded to the new seed program which offers between $150,000 and $300,000.
Talking to GamesIndustry.biz, GTR VP of global business development Pontus Mähler acknowledged the "flaw" of the original Accelerator Program. "We would meet teams that loved our model and were like, 'Everything you're doing is awesome, but my burn rate is $40,000,'" he said. "So our money wouldn't really last them very long."
With the help of the new Seed Program, GTR is planning to back five startups every year in addition to ten companies that the Accelerator Program supports annually.
Speaking of the mobile investments, Mähler noted that currently they are mostly based on "data only" meaning that the developer should already have a game in soft launch and show good results in terms of metrics like retention numbers, for example. "The funny thing here is if they have those stats, they don't need the money, to begin with," Mähler shared.
He, however, stated that a couple of years ago the situation was completely different saying that "people were willing to take risks". "I saw them giving at least a few hundred thousand. Not a full-blown Series A with millions of dollars, but I saw mobile studios come to GTR and our friends saying they raised $200,000, or this much," he said. Meanwhile, these days, just 1 in 100 mobile developers Mähler meets have received some startup capital.
Although initially, GTR tried to invest in mobile games companies even if they didn't provide sufficient metrics, Mähler said that currently, it became harder to do this. "Mobile is a more capital-intensive business, meaning they're going to need additional money for scaling and market tests, something GTR is not able to provide at this stage," he explained.
Elsewhere in the interview, Mähler noted that consumers' attitude to indie games has changed significantly over the past years. "People no longer really care about where the game came from," he said. "Before it was a Blizzard game, or a Ubisoft game, or whatever AAA publisher and people would buy and play it. But I think consumers nowadays will play a good game no matter who it's from."
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