Yuliia Zolotarenko, CEO of HitBerry Games, shared with us her thoughts on the current realities of the game industry, the Pay Per Prototype system, and is revenue sharing loss-making for developers?

Over the previous years, the world of gaming has undergone quite huge and significant changes. It has developed drastically. Now, this sphere is not what it used to be before. There are new rules regulating this market. Old approaches are no longer effective and profitable, and therefore are not something of a hot button. Working in the field of gaming, whether you are a developer or a publisher, requires keeping up with the latest industry trends and updates all the time. This is a kind of a law of survival. Once you run slow – you are left behind. This is exactly how this industry works.

The modern world of gaming

To begin, let’s figure out what the modern world of gaming is like, and what its main values are. Most experts strongly believe that since the market is different, it exposes higher standards for creating prototypes. After all, developing online games is not a conveyor, isn’t it? Today, quality is a priority, not just quantity. Simple and monotonous work “just for the record” is not in demand. Ok, in fact, it has never been. Both publishers and developers have always had the same objective – to create a real hit, but the methods they chose were different.

Yuliia Zolotarenko, CEO of HitBerry Games

Of course, delivering a hit game is not an easy task. The very last thing to do is to underestimate the skills of developers. This process takes a great deal of money, time, and effort, to say nothing of inspiration and many other things like that. No one wants to work under the whiplash, right? And building a game is often not the only task for developers. In a lot of cases, they also have to come up with an idea and create an interesting concept.

Side note: “The creation of HitBerry Games is a deliberate choice”. Interview with Yuliia Zolotarenko

Pay Per Prototype

Today a vast majority of people who have something to do with the gaming industry are quite skeptical, even negative, about the Pay Per Prototype (PPP) system. It’s high time we made it clear. On one hand, such people provide arguments that are logical enough, so they sound convincing. On the other hand, this market has so many pitfalls one must consider, that there is a reason for being against cooperating according to the Revenue share system only.

So, how do the “haters” of the PPP system argue in favor of their position?

They say that applying the PPP system means focusing strictly on the number of prototypes. This, for its part, leads to sacrificing the quality of the end product. Thus developers try to deliver as many prototypes as possible just to earn money here and now rather than wait and hope to get lucky. Does choosing such a way mean that the team simply cannot deliver a hit so they go for less but still regular money? The topic is controversial indeed.

The truth is that creating a hit is more about luck and fortune

For some developers, it takes years and years of hard-working, gaining knowledge and experience, and upgrading their skills to finally build a hit that makes it to the top. Others start their career as game developers with flying colors at once. In the process of game development, one never knows for sure what the outcome will be and whether it will succeed. It’s like a lottery. There are like hundreds of ups and downs.

Here you may think that I try to take away the responsibility from both developers and publishers. In case you think so, you’ve got me wrong. Their work is of the highest importance in the process of game development. But sometimes, no matter how good the final product is, it just doesn’t work. Why? It’s hard to provide an answer. A game must draw a lot of attention to become a hit. Recently creating a hit has become much more difficult than it was before.

Yuliia Zolotarenko, CEO of HitBerry Games

Well, as long as developers put in an enormous amount of time and effort to deliver a prototype, but they cannot be sure if it will make big money anyway, should they take a risk by agreeing to the Revenue Sharing model?

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend doing so. Judging from my own extensive experience, I am totally convinced that doing any work for free and hoping for the best is always a bad idea.

Yuliia Zolotarenko, CEO of HitBerry Games

Let me remind you that game production is a two-way process. There are always two parties – developers and publishers are partners – and both are equally responsible for the result. Just a friendly reminder – you are in the same boat. So, achieving success is impossible providing only one side does its share to the fullest. Good communication and constant collaboration are crucial. A publisher must know all the slightest details about the product they are going to sell. 

Any good marketing specialist would prove that creating a high-quality product that meets all the requirements is only half the battle. The next stage is promoting it, and that’s a real art to manage to promote it properly. 

The Revenue Sharing

The Revenue Sharing model provides for sharing the income in the previously discussed percentage terms, only (that is to pay special attention to) in case a game becomes a hit. Otherwise, the developers are left with nothing. Even if they did their best. Even if it’s not their fault. That is a proven fact – when you get something for free, you do not value it; and if you invest – you are motivated and interested to make it a hit, or you will simply watch your money burn. An investor never wants a project to turn out a failure.

As a CEO of a development team, I have worked with 29 publishers over the last year. For 17 of them, we have delivered at least one free-of-charge prototype. Here are some statistics for you. Not a single one of them has shown CPI lower than $1,25, as opposed to the paid prototypes. The prototypes we have delivered for payment performed way better and showed CPI of $0,2 – $0,9.

I can see the drawbacks of the collaboration with a publishing manager on the basis of the Revenue Sharing model at the very beginning. They tend to approve everything sight unseen. Why? Obviously – because their company spends neither a single dime nor time on it in contrast to developers.

As a rule, such “cooperation” leads to high CPI and low rating as well as mutual disappointment…

To sum up, I want to say, that there is no strict rule for each case. After all, it’s up to each company to decide on what conditions they prefer to co-work. I find such volunteering rather loss-making for developers. As a CEO, I do appreciate and value every developer in my team, and I know their time and skills cost money. I do not want to take their hard and persistent work for granted. No matter what, they do their job so it shall be paid. This is how I see it.

Check out HitBerry Games games at the link, they will not leave you indifferent: https://play.google.com/store/apps/dev?id=7988661990019523936

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