TechBA Seattle CEO Itzam De Gortari recently visited VFS to share his ideas for a successful model for video game companies in today’s competitive market. Current Game Design student Anton Ivoditov recapped the lecture for us.
Guest Post by Anton Ivoditov
Research, Evaluation, Revaluation, Management, Execute, Repeat
TechBA, an international business accelerator funded by the Mexican Economics Board has come a long way since their humble beginnings in Mexico. With eight offices across North America and Europe, including a new one opening in Vancouver, their mission seems as strong as ever. Game specialist and CEO of the Seattle branch Itzam De Gortari visited the Game Design campus to discuss the future of independent development and the trials and tribulations we face as we enter the market.
With Vancouver game design studio closures or layoffs happening at what seems to be a weekly rate, many of our young and talented students are sent scouring for work elsewhere or going independent, a risky and rewarding option. This is where TechBA comes in. So what exactly does this company do?
As explained by Itzam, TechBA currently supports hundreds of companies through mentoring, sales development, research, marketing, building management, and general business development. Companies are selected and sorted based on their readiness, innovation, potential, commitment to discover new opportunities, and growth rate. Taking proved processes and placing them into the hands of these developing businesses, TechBA helps them to become fiercer competitors. Video games and independent products should be handled no differently.
When asked by students what his commandments are for new independent gaming ventures, Itzam stressed the value of research. ‘Fake it and test it’ was a coined phrase. Fake your product, create a slice of gameplay by any means necessary, draw it by hand if you need to, and place it out for market review. Even a simple YouTube posting can create enough negative and positive reinforcement to change the direction of your venture. Listen to the client, reevaluate and fake it again. Create the value in your product before investing too much time on it. Creative energy is an intangible resource, and can be tapped very quickly.
The next subject was metrics, particularly important for ‘freemium’ games, where developers must create their own economy based on the scale of difficulty and compulsion. However, Itzam stressed that metrics as an information gathering technique is not the be all and end all of research. Developers must create and figure what statistics are important for their particular venture. Developments must separate the general info and the concrete figures that apply to the market and adjust the game in correlation to the findings. In essence, not all information is helpful.
The final subject was management. Itzam stated that the best and brightest do not necessarily fit the mold of your venture. “We select the DNA of entrepreneur,” said Itzam. His emphasis is on finding the right person for the right job. It is important to find the drive in people and select their management techniques over the need of the products ‘final’. Select the right person for management and workflow and you will be surprised when you realize that what looks best on paper is not necessarily best for the job. Find and create the processes that work best and use them to organize the best product.
On behalf of all of us at the lecture, I would like to thank Itzam for taking the time to come to Vancouver and give us his two cents on making dollars. We look forward to calling you when it is time to accelerate our own ventures in the near future.
Thanks to Itzam for his insightful lecture and to Anton for providing us with this post!