Season 3, Episode 6

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This is a transcript of one episode of the Samsung Developers Podcast, hosted by and produced by Tony Morelan. All episodes of the podcast can be found at Buzzsprout. A listing of all podcast transcripts can be found here.


Host

Tony Morelan
Senior Developer Evangelist, Samsung Developers

Instagram - Twitter - LinkedIn

Guest

Miklós Váradi, Tiny Digital Factory
Games, Galaxy Store, User Acquisition

Miklós Váradi, Product Manager at The Tiny Digital Factory, the gaming studio behind the motorsport racing game GT Manager.
Not only do we chat about the challenges of releasing GT Manager worldwide during the pandemic, but also the different promotions related to the version of GT Manager available on Galaxy Store.

Listen to this episode on Buzzsprout.

 

Topics Covered

  • The Tiny Digital Factory
  • GT Manager
  • Publishing on Galaxy Store
  • Mobile Development
  • Marketing
  • Discoverability
  • Monetization
  • Galaxy Store Badges
  • Best of Galaxy Store Awards
  • Diversity and Inclusion

Transcript

NOTE: Transcripts are provided by an automated service and reviewed by the Samsung Developers web team. Inaccuracies from the transcription process do occur, so please refer to the audio if you are in doubt about the transcript.

 

Tony Morelan 00:01

Hey, I'm Tony Morelan. And this is the Samsung Developers podcast, where we chat with innovators using Samsung technologies, award winning app developers and designers, as well as insiders working on the latest Samsung tools. Welcome to season three, Episode Six. On today's show, I'm joined by Miklós Váradi, Product Manager at the tiny digital factory, the gaming studio behind the motorsport racing game GT manager. Not only do we chat about the challenges of releasing GT manager worldwide during the pandemic, but also the different promotions related to the version of GT manager available on Galaxy store. Enjoy. Hey, Miklos, thanks for joining me on the podcast today.

Miklós Váradi 00:46

Hey, Tony, good to be here.

Tony Morelan 00:49

So tell me who is Miklós Váradi.

Miklós Váradi 00:53

So I am Miklós Váradi. I'm Hungarian living in France since 2014. And now working at the tiny digital factory, where combining two of my passions gaming and motorsports. I currently live in New York. And I like going out so my motorcycle brand not working.

Tony Morelan 01:10

So not only are you working within motorsports, but for fun you also like to get on your motorbike and drive around the country.

Miklós Váradi 01:19

Yes, that's right, for me, is the best way to ease your mind when you're not working. So yeah.

Tony Morelan 01:25

So tell me what is your role at Tiny digital factory.

Miklós Váradi 01:28

So I work as a product manager since January 2021. And my current missions include partnerships, management with drivers or brands. And the management of the community is a big part of, of my five missions, and also managing all the communications and marketing aspects of our game GT manager.

Tony Morelan 01:50

How long have you been at a tiny digital factory? Did you say

Miklós Váradi 01:54

since January 2021.

Tony Morelan 01:57

And what was your journey? How did you end up working in motorsport gaming?

Miklós Váradi 02:02

Yes, so after graduating from high school in Hungary, I came to Paris to obtain a degree in accounting, and then I made like a career or throwing choice and started a Sports Management Master. And during that period, I worked at Sichuan racing in the communications department, which then led me to the tiny digital factory.

Tony Morelan 02:20

Wow. So you got your degree in accounting, I'm assuming there wasn't much of an adrenaline rush in accounting, and that's probably your need to get into motorsport.

Miklós Váradi 02:29

Yes, that's why that's why that's why I wanted to change afterwards. I was always specialists for motorsports. And then I had this opportunity and I just took it and, yeah, it, it changed a lot of things for me.

Tony Morelan 02:45

So tiny digital factory is an independent developer and publisher specializing in Free to Play mobile games with a strong focus on racing in motorsport management. Tell me, how did you guys get your start? What is the history of tiny digital factory?

Miklós Váradi 02:59

so the tiny digital factory was created in Canada in Montreal in 2015. And, as developer the studio has a strong track record with the Roller Coaster Tycoon touch that we could develop to the Atari and f1 Mobile racing, which was made with Code masters and EA, and now we are specialized in motorsport games, and we became an independent publisher in 2021.

Tony Morelan 03:27

Wow. So not too long ago that you guys became an independent publisher?

Miklós Váradi 03:32

Yes, that's right. GT manager is actually our first game as a publisher. Yes.

Tony Morelan 03:37

It's amazing. So you said that the tiny digital factory first began in Canada, but most of the team I understand they work and live in in Lyon, France. Is that correct?

Miklós Váradi 03:46

Yes, that's right. So we have two studios, one in Montreal, Canada, and the other one in Lyon, France, where most of the team

Tony Morelan 03:54

is located in how big is the is the team right now.

Miklós Váradi 03:57

Currently, we have 27 members, and we are still growing as multiple recruitments are taking place as we speak.

Tony Morelan 04:06

27 may be small for a company, but that is a pretty good size for an independent game studio. And what's the best way for someone to apply for a position at Tiny digital factory.

Miklós Váradi 04:16

So if you want to join our team, there are multiple job openings currently on our LinkedIn page. So you can come there and check them out.

Tony Morelan 04:25

So let's talk about the relationship with Samsung and tiny digital factory. How did that first begin?

Miklós Váradi 04:31

So the game came out in March 2021. So last year, and at that time, our team has been contacted by a Samsung Galaxy stores business team before the worldwide launch. And as they liked the idea of the game, they offered a partnership. And since the game went on to become one of the most successful racing games on the Galaxy store,

Tony Morelan 04:53

that's amazing. Yeah, so you guys won the Best of Galaxy store award for best racing game in 2021. What did it mean to win that award?

Miklós Váradi 05:02

It's an amazing feeling. Yes, so as the competition was tough with many great racing games that year, we were honored to receive this award as it was the first one for us to do as well. So we would like to seize this opportunity to thank everyone involved at Samsung place worth.

Tony Morelan 05:20

Yeah, definitely. You know, it's a fun game to play I myself was I was playing Titi manager. So it was excited to see that you guys won the award. In what ways have you guys promoted winning the award?

Miklós Váradi 05:30

This award has been promoted on our social media pages, Instagram, Facebook, and also the corporate page of the tiny digital factory. And it is displayed in our office in Lyon, and we are very proud of this achievement.

Tony Morelan 05:46

So let's talk about the history of GT manager. Can you tell me how it first became how it first got started?

Miklós Váradi 05:52

Yes, so Stefan Buddha, who is the founder and CEO of the studio has a strong history with racing games. Before he created two major franchises, which became huge successes in Europe, the Wii rally series and Test Drive Unlimited series. And after working on the f1 Mobile racing for Code masters, which is now part of EA, we worked on a racing management concept, which was initially planned to become fr manager, okay. But eventually, we decided to reposition our concept in the word of GT cars, under the name of GT manager.

Tony Morelan 06:28

That's interesting. That's the fun worked on f1 Mobile racing, that then wanted to switch gears in and create more of a risk management style racing game. So GT manager was officially launched in spring of 2021. Correct. But you did a soft launch prior to that, is that is that right?

Miklós Váradi 06:47

So in our case, GT manager was available on only in a few countries during the soft launch. And this helped us do to improve the game, develop new ideas, and also create a core community for our game, which has stayed there since the worldwide launch.

Tony Morelan 07:05

And you know, your timing for the release of GT manager, I thought was great, because it really kind of coincided, at least in the US with a big push in motorsports, you know, I think we can all look to Netflix, and the release of the f1 series strive to survive. The popularity in the US for motorsport has really increased in the past several years. So your timing for GT manager was I thought was perfect.

Miklós Váradi 07:29

Yeah, they definitely helped us to have that in the US, because we still have a strong user base in the US. So it was definitely a good moment to launch the game.

Tony Morelan 07:40

So tell me, how did you go about building GT manager knowing that it is a mobile game.

Miklós Váradi 07:44

So we thought motorsport enthusiasts would like to play a motorsport game, which could be more comfortable to play on the go. And this is how the idea of an accessible management game came up. And after a few play were prototypes, we found that addictive core mechanic, which was based on traditional RPG loops and strategic skills. GT managers, a game gives a new experience in the racing genre, as players can manage their GT teams through various managerial aspects and over their progression. They unlock new buildings, new stuff and new cars, until they reach the top of the leaderboard.

Tony Morelan 08:23

Yeah, I think that's what I love so much about GT manager is it's not a behind the wheel racing experience. It's truthfully, the manager of the racing team. So you know, building your factories lining up your sponsorships, taking care of your drivers, your parts on the car. I mean, it's, it's not only just race day, but the entire experience of managing a racing team.

Miklós Váradi 08:48

Yeah, so it's, it's a complete game that where players can do whatever GT managers are doing for their team. So I think that is why it has been a success. The recall, we are the only game in the racing management segment on Galaxy store as well.

Tony Morelan 09:06

Yeah, so tell me Are there any unique aspects or optimizations to the galaxy Store version of GT manager?

Miklós Váradi 09:12

We had a promotion last year, between September and November 2021, where the Galaxy store players had the opportunity to receive a special Samsung livery for the Ford Mustang GT four. And this promotion was available only for players to download it again from the Galaxy store. And many players are still using this, this key in as their main one so it was a successful for sure. For the for the Samsung players. And we are also planning other exclusive promotions for this year.

Tony Morelan 09:46

Wonderful. So just to explain a livery it's the look of the car what how the cars wrap the graphics that are on the car, is that correct? Yes, it is. Right. So let's talk about marketing. What are some of the tools and techniques you guys are using to promote GT manager?

Miklós Váradi 10:02

We have official pages for the game on Instagram, Facebook, and discord, which is the, I think the biggest platform for us the most important one, because it's where players can discuss about strategies or again, trade blueprints for the cars. And it's important for us to have this one. And also we have, of course, Banner promotions, on the stores, and we have a YouTube channel and get access to our badges as well.

Tony Morelan 10:33

Excellent. I would think that those Galaxy store badges really are instrumental in doing your promoting because it really helps gamers get directly to your app on Galaxy store. That's right. And I will be sharing all of the URLs and social handles in the show notes for this podcast episode. What is the URL for tiny digital factory GT manager?

Miklós Váradi 10:55

It's tiny digital factory dot slash GT dash manager.

Tony Morelan 11:00

So I understand that GT manager is your first game offered from tiny digital factory? Are you guys working on anything more that we can expect to see on the Galaxy store?

Miklós Váradi 11:11

We have started working on a new game, but we can't really give more information about it. But you can join our LinkedIn page where we will share some exciting news.

Tony Morelan 11:24

Yeah, I can't wait to find out what you guys are working on next. What do you get your ideas for, for new games?

Miklós Váradi 11:30

as it is in the DNA of the studio. Most of the team is passionate about motorsports. And it is a sports with many different disciplines that could be transferred into mobile games. And with this in mind, multiple team members are working on new interesting and innovative game ideas.

Tony Morelan 11:49

So tell me what is your workflow when it comes to designing, developing and publishing a game,

Miklós Váradi 11:56

the first step for us is to create a prototype that could be presented to our partners. And from that, we are able to design the features one by one, then develop them and test them. And that's for the publishing the communications for the game start around the soft launch. And this helps us build a strong core for our community.

Tony Morelan 12:20

How long would you say it takes to go from concept to an actually published game?

Miklós Váradi 12:25

I think it can vary depending on the project. But I would say between one and two years,

Tony Morelan 12:31

I'm sure there's a lot involved with that. Because you know, in your case with GT manager, you've got a lot of cars that have to have been licensed, you have to you know, work with sponsors. And I understand you actually have real professional drivers, the likeness of them within the gameplay. So talk a bit about you know, when it comes to licensing and sponsorship as well, specifically with real professional drivers.

Miklós Váradi 12:57

Yeah, so everything in the game is licensed the cars to drivers, we have official skins or deliveries that specific teams use in the world championships. So we have to contact the teams separately, to get the approval to use that during the game. And we also work with different partners, which is, for example, we worked with Fanatic, which is a leader in eSports equipment, and we have everything regarding the licensing is prepared well before the lunch so we can get right. Everything related to the contract.

Tony Morelan 13:34

Yeah, so I love you know, playing the game. And I see actually real Mercedes and Porsche as well as you know, McLaren cars out on the track. I love that aspect of the game.

Miklós Váradi 13:44

Yeah. So I think the beauty in that is that we don't take only one championship as an example. But we take cars and drivers from different world championships. And that is how it became a really a worldwide game.

Tony Morelan 14:02

So I can imagine there's a lot of competition when it comes to game. So what has been your strategy to help with discoverability

Miklós Váradi 14:09

we rely mostly on our user acquisition campaigns. But we have also implemented various cross promotional partnerships. To promote GT manager outside the grocery store. For example, we worked with different influencers, who helped discover potential players to play a GT manager. And also, as I said, we worked with a fanatic for the December season, and they helped promoting the game as well.

Tony Morelan 14:37

Oh, that's great. Can you share what platform you're building GT manager on?

Miklós Váradi 14:42

We use a unity Ah,

Tony Morelan 14:44

so I just started using Unity earlier this year to build my first game. So it really Yeah, it's a great it's a great program, great platform. In total, how many downloads would you say GT manager has since your official launch,

Miklós Váradi 14:57

this is the official launch. It has been Downloaded by more than 1.5 million players.

Tony Morelan 15:03

Wow, that's great. And for such a young game I can really see this franchise is going to is really going to take off. What challenges have you faced? Would you say when it comes to designing and marketing the game.

Miklós Váradi 15:16

So the biggest challenge for us last year and the year before, was, of course, how we could launch the game during the lockdowns. And that has made the publishing and marketing process a bit more complicated. And unfortunately, all these phases that you mentioned, were affected by the crisis. But as a team, we managed to overcome and launched GT manager in March 2021.

Tony Morelan 15:41

Wow. So yeah, you really did launch this right in the middle of the pandemic. So I can understand that there would be a lot of challenges internally within the company, you know, dealing with the lockdown and all the effects of COVID. I do know from hearing from other developers that mobile gaming has really, really increased in popularity during the lockdown, because, you know, it is a great way for a source of entertainment. So I'm, I'm sure you guys must have seen some sort of, you know, boost when it comes to, you know, actual users playing your game.

Miklós Váradi 16:13

Okay, so for sure, in the beginning, it has boosted our downloads as well, multiple lock downs were taking place in different countries. And it just made a bit more difficult for us to work together as a team, because we weren't at the studio together. So that is why it was a big challenge for us.

Tony Morelan 16:32

Yeah, yeah, for sure. So let's talk about the music. Can you share any insight into the music that we hear when, when we're playing GT manager?

Miklós Váradi 16:42

Yeah, so we looked for inspirations from various music genres, and found a team which would have an international appeal. And there is how we picked our current music.

Tony Morelan 16:54

Yeah, I think, you know, the music really can set the vibe of the game, you know, give the user a certain feel. So I think it really is important to have, you know, appealing music behind your game when you are in the middle of gameplay. What advice would you give developers looking to bring their games to Galaxy store.

Miklós Váradi 17:14

So Galaxy store is a great place for developers to publish their games. And we have observed that a big part of GT manager players play on Samsung devices. And this made the opportunity of having our game on the Galaxy store even more interesting. If your game has a unique style, it will attract a lot of users, which has been the case for a duty manager, for example. And the Samsung team also have solid to increase the reach and the discoverability of your games, through different aspects, like promotions on the Galaxy store or Game Launcher, for example. And also with I would say that don't hesitate to integrate exclusive contents for our galaxy store users, as we discussed before.

Tony Morelan 18:00

So let's talk about diversity and inclusion, you know, within your company, what is tiny digital factory doing related to DNI

Miklós Váradi 18:09

recruitment is open to all people from minorities and promotions are of course open to all employees. And selection is made on the basis of skills and without discrimination. The studio has, of course, women in the team as well as people with immigrant background.

Tony Morelan 18:29

That's, that's great. And knowing that you are you know, becoming a global company, not just with your different offices in Canada, in France, but also you know, your reach is really becoming a global franchise with GT manager. When you're not working at any digital factory, tell me what is it that you'd like to do for fun?

Miklós Váradi 18:50

For fun? I go out on my motorcycle and go karting. So you do cardio? Yeah. With the team as well. Okay, we go out and do some go karting sometimes.

Tony Morelan 19:00

Yeah. So that's nice. So not only just playing gameplay of car racing, but you actually like to get behind the wheel and feel the speed on the track. Yes, that's right. So I know you love riding motorcycles. So I have to ask you, what would be your dream bike?

Miklós Váradi 19:16

I think my favorite bike would be the Indian FTR 1200.

Tony Morelan 19:22

Oh, wow. I love the Indian brand of motorcycles. Definitely beautiful, beautiful bikes. And we just want to thank you very much for joining me on the podcast today.

Miklós Váradi 19:32

Thank you for the invitation.

Closing 19:34
Looking to start creating for Samsung, download the latest tools to code your next app, or get software for designing apps without coding at all. Sell your apps to the world on the Samsung Galaxy store. Check out developer.samsung.com today and start your journey with Samsung.

Tony Morelan 19:50

The Samsung Developers podcast is hosted by Tony Morelan and produced by Jeanne Hsu.