The relentless growth of the mobile game industry has resulted in the rise of a new breed of publishers who seek out exceptional mobile developers and help bring their products to market. One of the mobile publishing success stories is Scopely, which was formed in 2011. Scopely has revealed a strategic partnership with Digit Game Studios, making a multi-million dollar investment in Ireland’s largest games developer as part of the multi-game publishing deal.

“Scopely is the partner of choice for the world’s leading free to play game developers,” said Tim O’Brien, Chief Revenue Officer, Scopely. “We are looking to partner with the world’s leading mobile game developers of specific genres, and see Digit as an emerging market leader in strategy games.” Based in Dublin, Digit Game Studios is Ireland’s largest game developer, with an international team with collective experience working on successful browser, console, MMO, mobile and social games. Digit’s first title, the fantasy strategy MMO Kings of the Realm, launched in Septemeber 2014

“We’ve gotten to know many well-known publishers and chose to work with Scopely because we believe they give us the best chance to build the games we aspire to make and turn them into huge commercial successes,” said Richard Barnwell, founder and CEO, Digit Game Studios. “Partnering with Scopely enables us to quickly grow our team and focus on building incredible strategy games with the confidence that Scopely can bring them to a large audience. Currently, we’re adding new features to Kings of the Realm and scaling up our studio to launch an all-new title together, with iconic, world-leading AAA IP, that we feel has a chance to be huge.”

Walter Driver

Walter Driver, Scopely CEO, spoke with [a]listdaily about the deal and its implications for Scopely, and what he sees for the mobile gaming industry ahead.

Has Scopely made such a large investment before in a developer?

Scopely is the partner of choice for the world’s leading game developers. We craft each partnership based on what makes the most sense in that context and increasingly we are seeing situations where developers are looking for both investment and publishing — so we will be active investors where it makes sense for both parties.

This large investment is being used to develop a title based on a major IP. What are the advantages of licensing in today’s game market, and will we be seeing more of this?

Major IP can assure your product will have an audience in a more mature market where there are well over two million games for consumers to choose from. Scopely’s deep connections in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles provide unique access to major brands and opportunities to create compelling touchscreen experiences with beloved IP.

Digit has built a game that’s cross-platform between mobile OSes and the desktop. Is this something you feel is important for future titles, and does this mean Scopely will now be publishing on the desktop as well as on mobile?

Digit has developed excellent cross platform technology, though the primary focus of the partnership will be on touchscreen devices (mobile and tablet).

How will you market this new title from Digit, and will there be any differences in marketing strategy from other Scopely titles since it’s based on a major IP?

Scopely has now launched five consecutive #1 games on either iOS or Android, and we are going to leverage the marketing technology and infrastructure we have built to develop custom strategies for this specific IP, which will be a very fun game to market.

How does Scopely see the mobile market changing over the next year, and how will this affect Scopely’s publishing strategy Will we see more title or fewer, different genres of games, or a focus on different platforms?

Scopely is focused on working with leading developers in specific genres and developing deep long term relationships with those developers. We will see the largest publishers focusing on fewer, bigger, better releases with significantly larger development and marketing budgets. We will continue to see a huge number of releases in the market as a whole but will see the Top 50 Grossing increasingly controlled by incumbents with the necessary resources, infrastructure and expertise to scale games to significant revenues.