Game to go places? He's the go-to guy

Veteran local entrepreneur David Ng hopes his new start-up will bring about a sea change in the way mobile games are being published and marketed.
Veteran local entrepreneur David Ng hopes his new start-up will bring about a sea change in the way mobile games are being published and marketed.ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

David Ng wants to help budding mobile game developers 'conquer' the world - and quickly

After starting up Japanese game maker gumi's global arm in Singapore in 2012 and snagging an unprecedented deal last year to make a mobile game for Disney's animated movie Big Hero 6, veteran local entrepreneur David Ng is on to yet another whirlwind adventure.

This time, it is with his own mobile game start-up goGame, which he hopes will bring about a sea change in the way games are being published and marketed.

The five-month-old Singapore start-up has secured "multimillion dollars'" worth of funding from a Japanese video game giant, a deal which will be announced tomorrow.

The 48-year-old former CEO of gumi Asia wants goGame to become the platform for budding game developers hoping to reach a global market. And he promises to help them do so in less than two months.

This process traditionally takes four to five months as it involves going through game publishers. The latter also typically takes a huge 70 to 80 per cent cut of the revenue made from the game, which has resulted in some developers limiting their launch to a few markets.

GET GOING

Many developers do not realise that it is not enough to just make a good game. Among many things, success requires marketing, language localisation and using analytics to study the apps' reach.

MR DAVID NG, on his new start-up, which aims to help budding game developers reach a global market - and in less than two months too.

But goGame cuts out the expensive middleman. It will take only a 10 per cent cut of any revenue in excess of $100,000 from developers.

Through its self-service portal, developers can publish their games much faster. The portal has all the necessary tools to ensure that developers are ready for business from day one. These free tools include links to advertising and social media networks, and payment options for users in different regions.

The portal also provides - for a fee - data analytics tools to help game developers understand and respond quickly to customers' changing demands and needs.

"Many developers do not realise that it is not enough to just make a good game. Among many things, success requires marketing, language localisation and using analytics to study the app's reach," said Mr Ng.

The firm employs more than 50 people in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines. Taiwan and Thailand.

"Our aim is to accumulate a billion gamers in our ecosystem. Then we can also look to advertising for additional revenue," he added.

This revolutionary business model and Mr Ng's track record were what sealed its recent "multimillion-dollar" shot in the arm.

Since starting gumi's Asian arm in Singapore in 2012, he has successfully localised gumi's mobile fighting game Brave Frontier for several markets. The title has been translated into 12 languages, and garnered more than 20 million downloads.

In June last year, Brave Frontier joined the top 10 grossing games in the Apple and Google Play stores.

Mr Ng snagged another first for gumi Asia when he won a coveted contract to create a mobile game for Disney's Big Hero 6. Creating the design, animation and story of Big Hero 6: Bot Fight took less than four months, a process that typically takes at least nine months.

"While I reminisce about the past, I look forward to the future and the hope that it holds steady, especially with the support of my investors," Mr Ng said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 02, 2015, with the headline 'Game to go places? He's the go-to guy'. Print Edition | Subscribe