Chillingo: Founders exit has had ‘no impact’ on our business

EA-owned mobile games publisher Chillingo says its business as usual following the exit of its two founders, Joe Wee and Chris Byatte.

The duo left Chillingo – where they served as director and general manager –at the end of last year. They had set up the company up in 2005 before selling it to EA in 2010 for $20m.

But COO Ed Rumley has told MCV that the company remains in safe hands, and that he is busy reinventing the firm to deliver fewer titles, as well as focus more on the free-to-play model.

"Thedepartureof Joe and Chris has no direct impact on the business," said Rumley.

"Chillingo continues to thrive. Developers inquire with us daily about our publishing services and how we can help their games succeed. In fact, we’re proud to have two of our recently launched titles, Ninja Theory’sFightbackand HolyWaterGames’Feed Me Oil 2,earn Apple’s Editors’ Choice recognition in the past two consecutive weeks. Our 100% Indie initiative is also doing extremely well at connecting mobile game developers with Samsung.

He added that despite losing two senior managers, there is no need to reorganise the publisher. "It isn’t something that is necessary. I’ve served as Chillingo’s COO since 2012 and spent several months reviewing our organisation. I am extremely proud of our team who are not only gamers at heart but also experts in their respective areas.

"They are passionate about creating fun games that players can enjoy. Our producers will continue to collaborate with developers to polish up games; product managers will advise on monetisation strategies, our PR and marketing team will promote all the unique aspects of each game and our business development team will strive to seek new opportunities for developers and their titles across multiple platforms. I am also now spearheading our 100% Indieinitiative with Samsung, which has brought a number of fantastic titles to their devices."

Chillingo as a business helps developers release games on mobile, and supports them with PR, marketing and even development help. The publisher can even utilise EA’s Mobile division to help smaller studios. Rumley says the team behind The Simpson’s Tapped Out advised on the creation of the recent Iron Force game.

But Rumley says there has been a need to reinvent the business slightly, to focus on fewer, freemium-based titles.

"During the latter half of 2012, I recognised our need to reinvent Chillingo," he admitted.
"We had some great successes with games but the service we supplied needed to evolve as the market did. That primary shift was a reduction in the number of games we published in order to build a business focused around freemium gaming. This wasn’t a business development problem but a cultural one as I had to change the DNA of Chillingo as we learned how to service games. Every department has been affected whether it is production, product management, graphics, engineers or publishing.

"We have achieved what we set out to do with more than 70 per cent of our business now coming from free games driven through success stories such asIron Force. Our shift to free will be even greater in 2014."

You can read more from Chillingo in next week’s MCV Magazine.

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