Game dev is a dynamic industry – here, unlike in many other sectors, things happen overnight, so you have to make quick decisions and nimbly adapt to changes. This year, Ten Square Games celebrates its tenth year on the market. To go from a ten-square-meter room in Wrocław to a company with 420+ employees across five offices in Europe was a fantastic journey that I was honored to watch from the jump seat. I have been part of many events when the ability to change quickly was decisive for the company’s success and growth. Do you want to know why “change fast” is one of TSG’s values? Here it goes.
Sometimes changes are for the better, sometimes quite the opposite. Quick decision-making has allowed TSG to grow and jump onto the podium of the global mobile gaming industry. As simple as it may sound, we don’t have a long decision chain. No committee does approvals – when someone needs to buy a course or when a new business opportunity becomes available – we quickly decide whether we are proceeding with it or not. This allows us to operate efficiently in a very volatile business. In many companies, the mere consideration of specific solutions takes a long time, while we simply cannot afford this luxury in gaming. Find a few examples below.
The first opportunity we seized successfully was a long time ago, in 2012. Our largest game was Let’s Fish, and the Poland-England World Cup qualifying match was being held at the National Stadium. The competition turned out to be a failure because the stadium transformed into a giant puddle just as it started raining heavily. The Internet was immediately taken over by memes that ridiculed the Polish “national swimming pool”… and we ran with the idea. The next day we made a fishery based on it – placing it in the flooded sports facility. Let’s Fish players could pick out balls, soccer shoes, and other football-related items. This joke could only work thanks to our quick reaction. If it had been made a week later, no one would have been amused anymore. The fishery was very popular and became one of the legends of Let’s Fish.
Another, much more recent example is the first month of the pandemic. When it came, everything changed immediately, including the ad prices. Many companies had their marketing budgets already allocated and didn’t want to change them. We did the opposite – we took the risk by increasing our advertising funds, and we acquired many new players, thus accelerating the company’s development.
The latest example is the opening of an office in Berlin. One day, the Management Board discussed this topic, and after the agreement was made, we registered the company the following week. Unfortunately, government procedures are a bit slower than our decision-making process, and we had to wait a while for our German entity to be registered.
Something we learned during our decade in game development is a model in which we quickly launch a new title, then swiftly check how it performs, and either invest in it if it works or scrap it when it doesn’t. Sometimes it is much better to stop a project at an early stage rather than supply it with time as well as human and financial resources.
The portfolio of Ten Square Games includes at least twenty titles, including What Animals Say, Apple Squash, Robinsons, Space Defense, Let’s Farm, Jungle Wars, Opposites, Mushroom Hunt, Let’s Hunt, Soulbox, Fishing Battle, Golf Royale, Flip This House, and Solitales. In the course of producing these games we tried different options. We are now recognized for our most successful clashes, but the fact that we found our niche does not mean that we are resting on our laurels. It is quite the opposite – some projects get scrapped, others are born. Our people are aware that even if the game they are working on is scrapped, we would invite them to join another team because we have plenty of ideas for new products. We are open to our employees’ ideas, and everyone can submit their game idea pitch at any time.
So what is “change fast”? It is about reacting quickly when we see a business opportunity. It is about giving players fun, addressing their needs, removing blockers, and not waiting too long to implement decisions but acting on them instead. In my belief, it is “change fast” that led Ten Square Games to where it is now, and, hopefully, it will push us higher.