Today’s episode is with Adrian Djura who is the CTO of Eipix Entertainment. Adrian went in with no venture money and began as a co-founder of Eipix Entertainment. He then used the money from their first contract making their video game to bootstrap their company and grow from 2 to over 300 employees in six years. They are making 20 games per year and are a world leader in global gaming. Adrian wrote the scripting language to efficiently develop the game. During this episode, he talks about VR and consumer behavior along with the game he designed in partnership with Amazon Alexa called “Path of discovery Europa” which can be played through the use of Voice.
Time Stamped Notes
1:26 Quality Products with Games
Adrian explains how hard it is to achieve quality in gaming as a lot of the time, budget is something you need to be conscious of and it’s difficult to push the limits. Because EiPix Entertainment is independent, they have freedom to create the best quality that they can and are aware exactly of their budget parameters – because they set them. The most important part for Adrian and his business partners were to be independent.
3:11 Finding Quality Companies to Push Product Forward
The problems Adrian faced with investors were that they wanted to see what he had done before they invested in something – and if this was not to be the case, you’re very unlikely to be given a chance. In one instance, they designed a narrative game product to demonstrate their capabilities. Some feedback given to Adrian and his team before the product was revealed was that they would struggle to write a narrative game because English wasn’t their native language. However, what they designed exceed expectations.
4:20 The Hiring Process
Adrian believes that everybody who has a passion will learn a lot of things. It’s important to look at potential when looking for a candidate and just how quickly can they learn. Don’t judge someone by something that they know but something that they can learn and how fast they can learn. Joel also agrees with this and explains that when he hires, one thing he looks for is the knowledge gaps in his potential hires. From there, he then asks them for a follow up interview to go and learn something they don’t know and explain it to him. This is so important as tech moves so fast and to have the ability to learn something new and come back and explain it thoroughly is such an important skill. One of the things Adrian did in the recruitment process was that he made a test for new programmers through the scripting language he designed himself. This is the language that needed to be learnt in order to make the game. Over time it proved to be the best recruitment tool. The people who know something and don’t want to learn cannot solve that. It was those who were willing to try that were hired. This was a strategy to filter out and find the brightest and motivated people. Now, the first 30-50 hires of his company are still there.
10:06 Origin Story
Adrian had a few start ups that failed. He had worked with Mirko, who is now the CEO and manager of EiPix Entertainment. Knowing Adrain from working together many years ago, he approached Adrian with a couple of other people with different backgrounds with this idea for a gaming company. Mirko saw the opportunity in games as the market was not overcrowded and was stable so this way it was easier to know how good those games would sell. The idea was to try to make a demo and to see if strike a deal with a publisher to publish the game. The demo was made with minimal funding and in the highest quality. Eventually, Victor Deals bought the game and decided to publish it. Advanced money was received and people started to be hired. Given that the coding for a narrative game takes about 6-9 months to develop, Adrian and his team have worked out efficiencies to scale and increase the productivity. Here is how they have grown in development:
2012 – 1 game
2013 – 8 games
2014 – 15 games
2017 – 23 games
Currently, EiPix has the most published Hopper Games in the entire world.
14:11 When will VR arrive
Adrian believes VR is almost here but it’s not here yet but will be within the next year. He will have a separate team for VR and push more projects towards it. Currently, VR hardware is being invested in largely and because of that, you will see content in 5-10 years being developed. Right now developers are on their own to make something that can be profitable in VR. A few games can be pushed to the consumers who would want to try these games in VR.
19:15 – Partnership with Amazon
EiPix designed a free game available on Amazon Alexa. EiPix did this in partnership in an attempt to try and asses the market response so when it’s ready, they can execute.
Adrian’s strategy is:
- Go into a market with freemium
- See adoption rate and response
- Inject a monetisation stratergy
24:06 Advice to Adrian’s Past Self
Adrian’s advice to himself is to work more with people because he knows it’s very important. He was working with people a few years ago but never enough. He also wishes that at the time, he would have found more people who can help develop the company – primarily in middle man management with a set of leadership skills. When you grow – you are missing those people.