Tamalaki’s Martine Spaans on publishing and predicting commercial success in the | Pocket Gamer.biz

New for 2020, the second round of PocketGamer.biz MasterClasses are only just around the corner.

They’re a brand new series of deep-dive workshop sessions taking an in-depth look at practical games design topics. We’re working with the finest industry experts to create professional, half-day activities featuring tutorials, lectures and breakout groups, all accessible from the comfort of your home office.

There are four workshops taking place on December 1-2 where you can expect to explore a range of key games design topics, from game design to monetisation and investment. Today, we’d like to introduce Martine Spaans, owner of Tamalaki Publishing, who will lead a session titled Free-To-Play: Publishing & Predicting Commercial Success on Tuesday December 1st from 10:00 – 13:00 (UK time).

Martine Spaans started her career in online gaming in 2006 and has worked for well-known companies like Spil Games and Ubisoft before setting up her own Mobile Publishing company. By optimising the successful formula behind a great casual game she developed a good understanding of gamers needs. During the last decade she has given numerous talks at conferences and mentored indie teams regarding game design, games for women and a practical approach to mobile publishing.

Tell us a bit about your company

Let me start off by confusing you; We’re actually two companies operating as one. Tamalaki Publishing and FGL Publishing are separate entities, but as boutique publishers we bundle our strengths and operate as one.

Tamalaki publishes F2P casual games for women 30+, plus hidden object, match-3, time management and puzzle games. FGL focuses on a slightly younger audience with idle/clicker gamer, card and board games, as well as silly puzzles.

What does your role entail?

I scout new games for both sides of the business. For Tamalaki I work with our developers on a daily basis to constantly improve the games. We look at the retention, monetisation, ad placements, meta-game loop, core gameplay etc to create the best version possible of their games.

Is there anything you’re working on currently that you’d like our readers to know about?

Our hit game Home Designer Blast has been live for more than 20 months now. We took a step back and all decided to play the game from the start, every day, no cheats. It’s baffling how many tiny things there were to improve and clarify about the user experience for new players. It’s easy to lose sight of this when you’re fully focused on adding new content and new updates. I would recommend anyone with a live F2P game to do the same!

When you would be best off self-publishing vs. working with a publisher, how to calculate your marketing strategy and what to look out for in publishing contracts.

What topic will you cover in your MasterClass?

I will try to stuff as much publisher knowledge as possible into three hours! We’ve been doing this for more than eight years. We’ve seen the mobile publishing landscape change quite a bit, including launch strategies, marketing tactics, storefront best practices, etc.

I’ll highlight a few best practices for your in-game economy, but I’ll mainly focus on the economy and metrics around publishing, when you would be best off self-publishing vs. working with a publisher, how to calculate your marketing strategy and what to look out for in publishing contracts.

Who is this MasterClass for?

Small and mid-sized game development studios, working on any kind of F2P game genre.

Why is it important for your games industry peers to gain a deeper understanding of your chosen topic?

Far too often I come across development teams who seem to have little knowledge of the publishing landscape. Even if you already work with a publisher, it makes the relationship so much better if you know what they will do and how. Avoid misunderstandings and frustration when the plug is pulled in soft-launch, know what the responsibilities on both sides are and learn to understand what defines success on both sides.

Tell us a little bit about the key takeaways people can expect from the session

  • How to recognise if your game has any commercial viability.
  • The importance of session length, retention and ROAS
  • How to calculate if the game is performing well enough for sustainable user acquisition
  • What to specify in a publishing contract

Finally, what are your thoughts on the games industry going forward? What major trends do you predict over the next 12 months?

I’m keeping a close watch on Facebook’s new cloud gaming move. Of all the announced cloud gaming initiatives, it seems that Facebook will have the biggest appeal to the casual F2P audience.

Book today!

If you like the sound of Spaans’ MasterClass, be sure to book your place now – remember tickets are limited so purchase your ticket today to avoid disappointment!

Multi-buy deals and corporate discount

Want to attend multiple MasterClasses? Book three workshops and get the fourth FREE!

Booking for multiple people? Take advantage of our 30% corporate discount for groups of six or more people from the same company.

For multi-buy or group discounts, please email sally.kevan@steelmedia.co.uk to discuss your bespoke package.

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