You might have a decent free-to-play mobile game, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot unless you also have the players — and that costs money. That’s where Think Gaming comes in.
Think Gaming is a startup that wants to help developers pay for the ads and other promotions to bring in the gamers free-to-play apps need to thrive. Unlike venture-capital firms, the company doesn’t want equity in return. Instead, Think Gaming will dole out loans based on how high games score on its free Scouting Report, which judges the potential value of a release in several key areas. This may help small studios get the cash they need to break into the $16 billion mobile-gaming industry.
This method means that mobile developers can avoid VCs as well as publishers that may also want more in return.
“We provide funding designed for a modern independent developer: the money games need to scale their user acquisition campaigns, without the one-size-fits-all nature of a publishing model that’s past its prime,” Think Gaming co-founder Tim Ogilvie said.
To get the loan, developers need to submit their game to Think Gaming’s Scouting Report. This free process provides direct feedback about what is good and what is bad in a game, and then it provides a credit-score like number — that breaks down into four categories — that studios can easily check to see what needs improvement.
Ogilivie and his team claim that they’re using data science that compares submitted apps to more than 5,000 games. You can see if your match-three puzzler has the same “retention” and “monetization” qualities as massive hits like Candy Crush Saga or Deer Hunter 2014. The report also rates a game’s potential market size and longevity.
To snag a loan from Think Gaming, a submitted app must hit 700 in its report. This indicates it is reasonably strong in the four areas that the company considers important. The higher the number, however, the bigger the potential loan.
If a game doesn’t meet the 700 minimum, Think Gaming will offer guidance on how to best improve the areas of the app that need work.
While this idea will likely attract mobile developers, its use of data science mines only currently successful games. It may help the next big hit get its start, but it’s probably less likely that it’ll have any hand in funding the next big leap in gameplay innovation on mobile.