Ready for the Start-up Games? Watch the online startup pitch for free (Sponsored)

After the successful first edition, the Start-up Games is going into its second round, and it’s free to watch! With the Start-up Games Volume 2, the Digital Hub Initiative and The Next Web will present the best start-ups and innovations from the initiative and its network at one digital pitch event. What’s the deal? Once…

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EU-Startups

Xbox says Bethesda deal ‘was not done to take games away’ from other platforms – Best gaming pro

Xbox says Bethesda deal ‘was not done to take games away’ from other platforms  Best gaming pro
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Fortnite creator Epic Games acquires London-based kidtech platform SuperAwesome

Online gaming is a growing business sector, as they give children the chance to learn, to collaborate with others, connect with friends around the world,  learn new things, and simply have fun. With this, online gaming companies have the responsibility to shape their platforms in ways that both maximise the positive and minimise the negative impacts on children.

In the recent development, game developer Epic Games has acquired UK-based technology company SuperAwesome – which offers ‘kid-safe’ products to publishers and advertisers designed to ensure children have a safe and appropriate experience online.

With this acquisition, Epic Games and SuperAwesome will together to build a wide range of kid-safe services.

Making the internet safer for children

As kids shifted their engagement from primarily TV to digital devices, their attention span has become massively fragmented. Instead of watching a limited number of TV channels, kids now have access to a plethora of content, distributed across various platforms. 

When kids started getting unsupervised access to the internet, new laws were passed to safeguard their digital engagement. Led by the US (COPPA – Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule) and followed by the EU (GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation), kids data privacy laws for brands and content owners banned the passive tracking of kids online.

Seeing this, in 2013, Irish entrepreneur Dylan Collins, set out to build an infrastructure that enables zero-data internet. The SuperAwesome products and services are GDPR compliant and have been certified through the KidSAFE and ESRB COPPA Safe Harbor programs. 

SuperAwesome built Kidtech – a technology that combines strict compliance with functionality. With AwesomeAds, developers can offer kid-safe monetisation inside their products.

According to the company, Kidtech is used by virtually every top kid’s brand and content owners in the world. It is trusted by more than 300 top brands, including LEGO, NBC Universal, and Hasbro for safe digital engagement for more than 500,000,000 kids every month, across thousands of apps, games, and services.

Speaking on the development, Dylan Collins, co-founder, and CEO of SuperAwesome said, “The internet was never designed for kids so we started SuperAwesome to make it as easy as possible to enable safe, privacy-driven digital experiences for children everywhere. Partnering with Epic Games gives us the opportunity to deliver that promise on a scale that simply wouldn’t have been possible on our own. We’re proud and excited to be working together to make the internet safer for kids.”

As for Epic Games, it was founded in 1991 and is an American company founded by Tim Sweeney. It is a leading interactive entertainment company and provider of 3D engine technology. Epic operates Fortnite, one of the world’s largest games with over 350 million accounts and 2.5 billion friend connections. Epic also develops Unreal Engine, which powers the world’s leading games and is also adopted across industries such as film and television, architecture, automotive, manufacturing, and simulation.

Image credit: SuperAwesome

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Startups – Silicon Canals

Rotterdam-based gaming company that aims to minimise delays in multiplayer games bags €2M funding

Right now, in this fast-paced world, disruption is vital to the road of immortality. Gaming is one such sector that often needs to be disrupted, and the ascendance of gaming in the entertainment industry is just magnificent. Right from Magnavox Odyssey in 1972 to Playstation 5, game makers have proved that they’re capable of taking the technology to the next level. 

With the humongous use of the Internet and mobile phones, the global gaming market is expected to generate around $ 196 billion by 2022. Most of the growth will be driven by the growing interest in the mobile game segment. 

In this regard, Europe has established itself as a leader in a global gaming market hosting many established gaming studios as well as developers working on most creative and successful gaming apps. 

Raised €2M to scale multiplayer resources

Recently, Rotterdam-based multiplayer gaming specialist Gameye raised $ 2.4 million (approx €2 million) funding led by Lakestar and Volta Ventures. It’s worth mentioning that both are new stakeholders in Gameye. This round brings the total amount raised to $ 4 million (approx €3.4 million) to date.

The Dutch gaming company is planning to utilise the fund to develop its technology that allows developers to scale the multiplayer games. 

“Our team is thrilled we were able to convince new investors like Lakestar of Gameye’s mission and that previous investors renewed their trust in Gameye. By partnering with Lakestar and Volta Ventures we have added more world-class investors to our team, which enables us to cement Gameye as the technology leader in flexible, scalable multiplayer computing power,” said Gameye CEO Sebastiaan Heijne.

Partnered with major gaming online platforms 

Founded by Denise Helderop, Elmer Bulthuis, Ralph Heersink, and Sebastiaan Heijne, Gameye provides the world’s largest infrastructure network to game studios and the ability to scale game sessions according to player demand. To be more specific, the company has created an Applications Programming Interface (API) that enables gaming companies to launch multiple games simultaneously with good matchmaking and solid infrastructure

The company has already partnered with the world’s major online tournament platforms such as FaceIT, Battlefy, Challengermode, and Toornament. Besides the funding round, Gameye is setting up its podium for its second digital conference – Industry Insight 2, bringing speakers from Microsoft, Paladin Studios, and Photon Engine. 

Lakestar managing partner Mika Salmi added: ‘We are delighted to bring Gameye into Lakestar’s portfolio. Gameye’s tech is leading the world with its innovations in the rapidly growing cloud and multiplayer game sector. Any game company and developer that wants the best performance on a global scale needs to be on Gameye’s platform.”

Main image credits: Gameye

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Startups – Silicon Canals

What strategies a startup should use for “User Acquisition” for Hyper Casual Mobile Games?

Hello Everyone,

We all know that Hyper casual mobile games are really doing well in terms of market share and business. But it's also visible that this market is highly competitive and dominated by big publishers like Voodoo, Ketchapp, SayGames etc who have huge marketing budgets, there own marketing channels and cross-promotion strategies.

So in order for indies or small startup studios to compete the question which arises are:

  1. How much of minimum marketing budget should be allocated for the initial launch to get some visibility in stores?
  2. What strategies should be used for UA (user acquisition) ?

We all know that there can't be such fixed budgets but any approximation would really give more insight. 🙂

Also feel free to give your suggestions on different marketing strategies that can be applied.

Thanks

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Tallinn-based Wolf3D raises €1 million to bring selfie-based personal avatars to games and VR

Today Wolf3D, an Estonian startup building a virtual identity platform for games and VR, has raised around €1 million from Trind Ventures, Presto Ventures, Koha Capital, Spring Capital and Contriber Ventures with participation from a few angels. The company has now raised a total of around €2.3 million.

Founded in 2014, Wolf3D’s team has since built a successful avatar business and technology, working with many of the top 10 game and VR developers. The startup is now making its technology available for small and mid-sized developers and providing the first selected companies their avatar creation solution for free.

The software called Ready Player Me allows anyone to create a personal full-body avatar from a selfie that’s “transportable” between all of the games they are integrated with. One of Wolf3D’s key advantages is being able to support many different art styles of avatars for all kinds of game styles and genres.

“Games have become social media platforms – most of what people do in games these days is socializing,” said Timmu Tõke, the founder and CEO of Wolf3D. Illustrating the trend, Travis Scott’s record-breaking Fortnite concert back in April gathered more than 12 million people in a virtual space. 

On the other hand, gaming identities – avatars – are not evolving. Players’ avatars are generic versions of themselves that they create from limited pre-made pieces. Wolf3D believes that the future of our gaming identities is going to look a lot more like our social media profiles – a curated version of yourself that looks a bit different depending on the environment and use case but always ties back to your real-life identity.

Wolf3D’s long term goal is to make their solution a link between many different virtual experiences, adding them together into one big virtual world that you can explore seamlessly with your avatar and the same set of friends. 

The startup believes that it’s unlikely that there will be one big “metaverse” that will dominate, and that is why cross-platform services such as Ready Player Me are necessary for simplifying players’ gaming experience across many virtual worlds. 

The company launched the first version of Ready Player Me back in May as a web-based avatar generating tool for VR and will now use the latest funding to take the solution to the next level with full-body personal avatars for games.

EU-Startups

This Swedish software startup secures almost €1M for its headless CMS for video games

GaaS (Gaming as a Service) is a new trend that has multiplied the value of the gaming industry. This trend has extended the life cycle of games and help developers achieve higher ARPU. Also, the relatively higher online video gaming trend has resulted in an increase in the amount of multilingual data assets that should be stored, managed and shared with both external and internal collaborators. This is what Gridly, the next-generation CMS for video games of Swedish localisation and software startup handles effortlessly.

What does Gridly do?

Gridly is a collaborative headless CMS for multilingual GaaS projects with its powerful API, inbuilt functions, browser-based spreadsheet UI, etc. that can handle localisatiton and frequent updates. Gridly helps to create, translate, manage, and update content in a single place. With Gridly, developers can store dialogues, in-game texts, audio, video, and image files, translations, prices and descriptions of in-app offers, and gameplay data.

Gridly was developed by ex-game developers and founders (Christoffer Nilsson and Mattias Wennerholm) of the game localisation company LocalizeDirect, which is behind LocDirect, a game localisation tool used by King, Scopely, WB Games, Square Enix, Rebellion, Capcom, and other well-known companies across the world.

Secures almost €1M funding

Swedish localisation and software company LocalizeDirect has secured an investment of SEK 10,264,530 (nearly €995k) from Entreprenörinvest, which is owned by The IKEA Family Foundation and a slew of Swedish venture capital firms and private individuals such Innovum Invest.

This investment will be channelled towards the launch and development of Gridly. Currently, the collaborative headless CMS for multilingual game projects is in the beta phase and will be released in September this year.

“The trend we’ve seen for the last few years is a shift to continuous development of games – games as a service. Instead of a one-time launch, developers now push out new content frequently, often on a weekly basis, in multiple languages. Managing game data (such as strings, IAP, gameplay variables) for agile multiplatform and multilanguage releases is time-consuming and can rapidly spiral out of control. Gridly facilitates this process, allowing the product teams to cooperate more efficiently time- and cost-wise,” said LocalizeDirect’s Managing Director Christoffer Nilsson.

Gets new board of director!

Also, the existing investor Jan Andersson, a founder and former CEO of ReadSoft (rebranded Kofax) joins the company’s Board of Directors. “The demand for agile, high-quality localization technology and services will continue to grow. It is already a key success factor in the game industry, but it is evident that the need for localization also grows fast in many other areas. LocalizeDirect is very well positioned to grow in this market and Gridly has the potential to become the preferred solution for many companies in many industries,” Jan Andersson, the Board Member of Entreprenörinvest and Innovum Invest underlines.

Main image picture credits: LocalizeDirect

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Startups – Silicon Canals

“I wish to inspire more female and unrepresented founders to join this tribe of challengers”: Interview with Roberta Lucca, co-founder of Bossa Studios games and BAFTA winner

Our interviewee for today is Roberta Lucca, a Rio-de-Janeiro-born, and now London-based, entrepreneur. She has been named in Forbes’ Top 50 Women in Tech, Top 30 Women in Games, and nominated by the Evening Standard as one of the Most Influential in Creative Arts. Not only that, she is also the co-founder and CMO of Bossa Studios, angel investor and keynote speaker on the future of games, entrepreneurship and leadership.

Bossa Studios is a London-based, VC-backed multimillion-dollar video games developer and publisher. It is known best for their category-defining games that are loved by millions of players, as well as the biggest influencers worldwide. Its first game, Monstermind, won the BAFTA award in the ‘Online–Browser’ category in February 2012.

Aside from being invited to speak at conferences and events, Roberta is very active on social media, and especially YouTube, where she gives advice to young entrepreneurs looking for practical lessons on leadership.

Thank you for joining is Roberta! Let’s dive into the basics first, how did you get started in the video games world?  

I started my career in technology and entertainment at the second-largest commercial TV network in the world (Rede Globo). What excited me most about the company was the immense possibilities to trigger people’s emotions – make them laugh, smile, connect with fictional worlds created by some of the best writers, directors, actors. But also, how interactive media can make you feel you belong to a tribe of like minded people who share the same experiences as you do.

After a stint in working in the mobile and luxury industries at Nokia’s luxury subsidiary, I wanted to join the industry that was creating entertainment for the future, future thinkers, future generations. I loved playing games as I was growing up but the games industry lost me for a few years, when games became a “gamers’ hobby”. In 2010 when I started Bossa Studios, games were opening up again to new audiences. It was the moment the likes of FarmVille and Minecraft started conquering people’s minds and hearts.

Bringing my innovation and marketing background to a games company, and joining two incredibly seasoned games makers, was all I needed to jump out of the corporations and venture into the unknown.

Have you seen an increase in the popularity of video games, during the last few months of the pandemic?  

Absolutely. Not only that, I’ve seen how much games are now evolving to become amazing social networks where people come for the game play and stay for the community, and connection. Look at Fortnite bringing a massive Travis Scott show to its players (watched by 12 million people!) or Roblox allowing more and more players to co-create experiences.

The same is happening at Bossa. In August, we’re launching Surgeon Simulator 2, the reinvention of our biggest IP, loved by millions of players and thousands of YouTubers/Streamers. 

In Surgeon 2, you can play and create together. It’s not only about laughing on your own or at your favourite YouTuber anymore, it’s about feeling fully connected with a community of creators making incredible things happen in real time.

What new innovations do you see for the future of gaming in the next 5-10 years, for example regarding transmedia storytelling e.g. video games choices in films?

Bandersnatch, the interactive series, which was part of Black Mirror, gave us a glimpse of how TV and Movies are looking at ways to make their medium more engaging and attractive to new generations. Gen Z are born gamers, they are used to having an active role when it comes to consuming entertainment. When playing a game, you decide what to do next, which bubble to pop, which monster to kill, which path to take to discover the world you’re in. That’s so different from passively consuming a movie. 

So when I look at the future of entertainment, we have to consider how our brains are evolving to desire experiences that make us feel truly connected with each other. Not isolated in a world, but bridging between online and offline in a seamless way. What we’ve been seeing with parties and events transitioning to online during the pandemic, this is only the beginning and a very clunky way to connect still. 

At the same time, in a world where our anxiety levels are increasing, I see games being created to trigger the oxytocin (our “love” hormone), as opposed to dopamine (our “drive” hormone), becoming more and more relevant.

What tips do you have for gaming startups on branding and online presence, especially post-COVID?

Consumers are overwhelmed with content so finding a way to capture their attention is the best piece of advice I can offer. Generally, attention spans are getting shorter so brands need to find a way to cut through the noise, create an emotional engagement and monetise an audience.

The good news (for Bossa at least) is that companies who lead with authenticity, with the ability to adapt and iterate content, can swing their sails to catch the winds of trends in the attention economy and really succeed!

When you were little, did you ever think that you’d be between the Top 50 Women in Tech and amongst the Most influential in Creative Arts? What does it mean to you aside from being an incredible career achievement? 

The word that my parents and cousins used to use to describe my behaviour as I was growing up is ‘challenger’. My motivation to start new companies, start a YouTube channel, a podcast or become a better keynote speaker or leader was never to win a prize but to provoke change, spark new perspectives, new ways of seeing the world. 

I’m absolutely thrilled and humbled to get those accolades. But for me, the meaning of it is about opening doors and ears for people to see you can be whoever you want to be. Everyone can challenge the rules of the world and how society wants us to behave. It’s all about being open to embrace changes, and following your curiosity.

What advice would you give to someone that wants to dive into the video gaming world?  

If you want to be a games creator, make a game. All the tools are free or easily accessible nowadays. If you want to learn the basics of game design, the best book to read is A Theory of Fun, but learning about psychology can also give you so much edge. 

If your passion is to be a games artist or games marketer, pick a game you love and re-create its characters or universe, or make an incredible video or social media strategy to launch that game. Then go to LinkedIn or Twitter and find the studio behind that game. Send them what you’ve got. Showing your work and passion means so much more than saying you can do it.

Having won a BAFTA is an incredible career achievement, congratulations. Do you see awards shows like the Golden Globes or the Oscars introducing a Video Gaming section in the future? 

I can’t see why not! When Gen Z becomes the new leaders and directors driving decisions about these awards, I truly hope they challenge the status quo and bring new and adapted-to-the-new-world-categories into these Awards. 

We noticed you run a YouTube channel giving advice to ambitious founders. Could you tell us about the more standout failures/learnings? 

I fail every day. All founders do. We’re half scientists, half artists. That’s how our brain gets wired once you become an entrepreneur. Scientists and artists know that only after hundreds of experiments and ugly paintings you can truly achieve something good or have an ‘a-ha’ moment, or find your unique style. It’s hard, because only a few people see failures or constant change as incredible opportunities to learn. 

When I started my YouTube channel, I was craving to show the world the real behind the scenes of the life of an entrepreneur. I don’t know if all my videos showed that, but certainly the one founders empathised with most was the story of the break-up with one of my business partners in a business I started that I ended up closing after a couple of years. 

These hurdles don’t get discussed and while I went through a massive pain during the process, I was told in confidence by more seasoned founders that this happens more often than we know. 

With my new podcast Hyper Curious (launch on 30th July) I want to unveil the areas we don’t speak about, chew the fat and get to the realities of the life story of those leaders in their industry. I want to demystify the perception of success being someone on the cover of the magazine. It takes lots of hard work and courage and discomfort to fail in order to succeed.

Video games have always been something more directed to the male, white, cis audience. Have you seen a change in that in the last few years? 

Millenials and Gen Z are much more committed to fight the big problems we have in the world – be it climate change, BLM, diversity, sexism, depression, etc. As they enter the workplace or start their own games studio, they want to be on the driving seat of this change. And the leaders of today have the duty to listen to them, to do things differently, and create worlds and characters that do represent the wide range of the 2.7 billion gamers in the world. Games are media, and so we do have an opportunity to shape how people see the world. 

How is it for you to be a female founder in the video gaming world? 

I feel I have a big responsibility to be the role model I never had. My role models are my mom (who’s a massive high achiever) and people like Bjork, David Bowie and Maya Angelou. People who dare (or dared) to be original, who found their voice, who influenced millions of people to reinvent themselves. They show it’s possible to defy the constraints of what society expects from you. And I find this so much more inspiring than lots of business leaders in our current world. 

Being the odd one out as I grew in my career and now as a female founder has been lonely at times, required me to develop a really tough skin, and sometimes accept that people will perceive me as pushy (instead of assertive or driven). So I wish I can inspire more female (and other unrepresented) founders to join this tribe of challengers and be brave to create the new world they want to live in. 

EU-Startups