It stands to reason that, long before we decided to reveal Runway to the world, we’d already begun the process of picking out partners to work with and – in the case of Kingdom Clicker from Black Bears Games – set in motion our plan of action for giving an indie game the boost it needs to take off.
You don’t need us to tell you that, pre Kingdom Clicker, the actual business of publishing a game was new to us here at GameAnalytics. What gave us confidence, however, was our base in analytics. Ever since we entered the mobile analytics scene, we’ve been sure that our grasp on game data was the best in the business, and given that our offer to indies is focused on opening up soft launches to them and trawling over the data they deliver to tool up a game ready for release, we’ve always had the view that we could make a real difference.
Kingdom Clicker was the first test of this theory. Based in Russia, Black Bears Games had created the kind of spin on an established genre that was always likely to get us a little bit excited. Lavished with the kind of visuals studios with ten times the experience often fail to muster, Kingdom Clicker took the tap-happy nature of an incremental game and layered in the kind of depth few of its rivals have attempted, merging it with some battle-based empire building for good measure.
We can’t, of course, lift of the lid on Kingdom Clicker’s secrets, but often some of the smallest, most subtle changes are the ones that it’s easiest to overlook. Indeed, with a game as potent as Black Bears’, the temptation is to take it as it is and just launch. At GameAnalytics, however, we’re constantly astounding by the data we pool – games you might think should be on a fast track to success fall well short, while other slightly rougher around the edges releases get one or two elements right and take off.
Mobile’s legacy is that, along with digital marketplaces on console and PC, it has forever done away with the notion of games that are done and dusted once they’ve launched. Mobile games especially are an evolving entity, and GameAnalytics has always been part of that evolutionary process, serving up the information that helps developers make their games better. For the first time, however, we were able to begin that process ahead of the a game’s global debut.
We’ll never know how Kingdom Clicker would have performed without the plucking and preening our QA and soft launch data enabled us to entertain, of course, but what we can say is, thanks to the willingness of Black Bears to make improvements as a result, Kingdom Clicker is a better, more commercial product than it was even a few months ago.
And things don’t stop there, either. We’re going to be behind Kingdom Clicker in the months ahead, too, helping Black Bears reach out to new audiences, new markets, new prospects. Most importantly, we’re going to use our own data – what we’ve learned from this first run at the Runway model – to improve how we work with partners, old and new.
If nothing else, the unveiling of Runway and the torrent of interest we’ve had from indies to date has proved to us that, despite an abundance of publishers on the scene, for the majority of developers none has what they’re looking for. We know that, for indies with ambition, Runway is on the right track.