Former Kuju Entertainment execs Ian Baverstock and Jonathan Newth have formed a consultancy of UK games business veterans called Tenshi Consulting, aimed at offering expertise and connections to developers, publishers and their investment partners.
They're joined by managing partner Ed Daly (pictured), who led Kuju subsidiary Zoe Mode studio from its start-up phase, forming an inital consulting group of 10
. Explains Daly: "It's almost entirely people who have created video game businesses, lots of former CEOs and studio heads and so on. We've got mostly people from around core games, but we've got some other media in the mix and that's something we're going to build on in time."
Baverstock says the aim of Tenshi is to respond to the rapid changes in the current game climate, which includes emerging markets and platforms that are clearly here to stay, but new enough that many are still refining best practices. "There are a lot of very experienced people who I think want to bring some of their experience to bear in these new areas," he tells us.
"And at the same time, there are so many little companies starting up and so many big opportunities, it's very hard to say we are all going to work in any one sector," Baverstock suggests of why a consultancy is the best way for the varied game veterans to leverage their experience.
Apart from social and casual game studio Zoe Mode, which developed games such as Singstar Rocks
and Dancing with the Stars
, Kuju's network of studios includes House of the Dead Overkill
developer Headstrong Games and Silent Hill Downpour
Adds Daly: "On a similar note, there are lots of individuals working independently on a portfolio of roles and projects, but there wasn't an opportunity to benefit from working as a group, so this really came from looking at a bunch of guys working well independently with former networks and relationships. We're adding the benefits of working as a team to that, while still allowing the individuals to retain the independence... that brought them to that kind of lifestyle in the first place."
"The creative destruction you get in a fast-moving dynamic industry feels like it's accelerated," he adds. "Studios and companies are disintegrating and then re-forming in a much faster lifecycle. People are continuing to find opportunities and grow really fast, but sometimes they hit the buffers, or they get as far as they can go."
That's where the consultancy team hopes it can help. "It's a really good time to bring a group of experts together... to assist and to provide the right sort of advice at different times in that lifecycle."
Baverstock says that in this climate more than ever it's hard to call out one single sector in the complex landscape as "hot". "Anything using digital marketing, for example, is suddenly much closer to the heart of development," he notes. "Where you've got creative talent being able to directly reach the consumer more easily without going through some ginormous retail publisher or distribution channel, they can attract the interest of investors much more easily; there's a more dynamic conversation going on between investors and the developmnet community."
Tenshi hopes to help small companies find and understand investors, just as investors are looking for people who can help them spot talent. "There's a whole new range of business opportunities bringing in people who are essential to the sector but are relatively new." The group also wants to work with brands trying to develop their first entry point into gaming, another thriving arena, according to Baverstock and Daly.
Tenshi goes live this week, after gathering its initial team of individuals, although there are still more hoped to come on board.
"The key message for us is that the opportunity is a combination of rapid change and challenges for all sorts of people inside and outside the industry, and we feel the timing's right to bring this group of individuals together."