ONTARIO CREATES SUCCESS STORY: TINY TITAN STUDIOS
Thinking Small Spurs Big Growth for Tiny Titan
Indie game developer Tiny Titan Studios has grown by thinking small, according to Jeff Evans, founder and CEO of the London, Ontario-based indie company.
Poised for the April global launch of its ninth and most ambitious title, Arena Stars, Evans says: “Ontario Creates has been a tremendous partner in helping us grow, and stabilize as we grow.”
Evans’ business philosophy has been driven by seeing “what not to do” while working at other game developers and later running his first video game company a decade ago.
When he launched Tiny Titan in 2014, Evans decided to rely on “small but powerful teams” to engineer and produce games, a formula that has worked. Growth was powered by the company’s successes, not lines of credit. And overhead was, and continues to be, kept as low as possible. Meanwhile, the company has gone from a one-person operation run from Evans’ basement, to 25 employees working in a downtown space in London.
A growing fan base for Tiny Titan’s retro-inspired products keeps the free downloads coming, while revenue comes from in-game purchases and advertising.
There have been more than 13 million downloads of Tiny Titan’s games on Android and iOS phones since the start-up.
Eight of the company’s titles have been named one of Apple’s best new games on release.
Evans gives credit to Ontario Creates with helping Tiny Titan succeed. Its IDM Fund—which supports the interactive digital media sector—provided support which helped with the launch of the Dash Quest Heroes game app. The IDM Fund has also backed Arena Stars.
Ontario Creates’ IDM Fund Global Market Development program has also been crucial in getting Tiny Titan to the influential Game Developers Conference & Exhibition in San Francisco.
Help from provincial tax credits, managed by Ontario Creates, has also been key, says Evans.
Now available to Canadian gamers ahead of the April roll-out, Arena Stars is a departure from Tiny Titan’s usual retro look, says Evans. It differs from the company’s previous hits, including Dash Quest, the highest-rated adventure game in Canada at its 2015 release.
“The first thing you’re going to notice is the graphics,” says Evans of Arena Stars.
It also marks gaming style shift for Tiny Titan, which has previously focused on single-player formats. Arena Stars is a multi-player battle game set in an alternate fantasy world, with a varied cast of characters, both real and imaginary.
Having multiple projects on the go allows the company to make the most of the limited natural life cycle of a game, which will eventually start to wind down in terms of popularity and downloads, Evans says. He learned from experience the risk of spreading key people too thin at times and that some projects needed more attention at certain phases of development and launch than others. The company handles these fluctuating demands better now.
The Ontario Creates funding also helps Evans think big, mitigating the risk of upping the scale of a project, making a better game as a result.
Unlike many businesses, Tiny Titan can’t have a multi-year plan in an industry that’s constantly changing. “There could be a new way to play games in five years,” he says.
That doesn’t mean Tiny Titan isn’t looking to the future.
“We’re working smart to give us as many chances as possible for success, rather than one big thing,” says Evans.
Learn more about Tiny Titan Studios