Hothead Games has a slew of successful mobile games, such as Kill Shot, Hero Hunters, and the Big Win sports series. Now it’s going to share its know-how with smaller studios as it gets into third-party publishing.

The Canadian company announced today that it has created a new publishing division, taking submissions from indie studio and other small dev houses to use what Hothead has learned from years making games since 2006. Analyst firm SuperData pegged the mobile gaming market at $61.3 billion in 2018, and Hothead still sees opportunity as a third-party publisher here.

Even if free-to-play giants such as King or Supercell dominate the market, the pie is so big that even a small slice is valuable. That’s why Hothead is getting its pie server ready now after building up its own analytics, marketing, and infrastructure teams the last few years on its own franchises. It has racked up more than 300 million installs on mobile since 2011. Indies can check out what Hothead’s proposing here.

Indie initiative

“We decided that we had reached the size and scale in terms of resources, employees and the infrastructure itself where we could start using our publishing team to promote third party games,” said Hothead director of publishing Gregan Dunn over email. “The industry is also at a point where it has become very difficult for indie games to find a market. If you don’t have the proper publishing resources and expertise, it almost doesn’t matter how great the game itself is. So we figured why not take what we’ve built and use it to help some of the really great titles out there that are struggling to gain traction?”


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I asked what the revenue split would be, I didn’t get a clear answer. I asked this because, even if publishing a game and selling one is different, the is market is changing after the debut of the Epic Games Store, which gives developers 88 percent of the revenue (over the standard 70-30 split you see from the Apple App Store, Google Play, or Valve’s Steam PC storefront). Discord followed by offering a 90-10 split for its new store.

“The terms of each deal will vary depending on factors such as the quality of the game, the experience of the team that built it, and what stage of development the game is at. As developers ourselves, we understand how challenging it is to make great games, so we completely respect all the efforts that go into game design and development, and we offer developers equitable deals that give them healthy participation in the financial success of their games so that they can profit from its growth.”

2018 saw a host of excellent indie mobile games, such as Bury Me, My Love, Donut Country, and Florence. Hothead wants to be a part of such a strong independent movement. “Right now, the indie mobile scene is thriving with tons of creativity and innovation. There are thousands of passionate developers out there building incredible games — some of which will become hits, but unfortunately too many of which will never see the light of day because it has become so difficult to compete with the goliaths of the industry who seem to monopolize the app store charts,” Dunn said. “A big reason why we are launching a publishing division is to help these indie developers get their games noticed. If we can give a great game a boost and get it the attention it deserves, then our contributions will be worthwhile.” Dunn hopes that Hothead’s pie server can help take on the goliaths.

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