CHIBA, Japan – Spanish indie video games are on display at the Tokyo Game Show, one of the biggest fairs of the international gaming industry.
Three projects from Barcelona – Undercoders, Appnormals Team and Abylight Studios – are among the 70 projects selected as participants in the 21st edition of the fair where all are looking for local publishers to release their work.
“This is a great opportunity to get to know publishers, to know how things are done and precisely what is sold,” chief designer David Jaumandreu, who founded Undercoders in 2005, told EFE.
He added that the fair, which opened on Thursday, “brings them a little bit closer to market opportunities which would otherwise be impossible.”
Undercoders is participating in the Tokyo Game Show for the first time, with the offering “Conga Masters” – already published in Europe and the United States – which has received an encouraging response at the event. It is one of the eight finalists of the Sense of Wonder Night category, a prize which will be awarded on Friday to the most innovative ideas at the event.
The lack of companies in the Spanish gaming industry a decade ago has no bearing on its prospects given the boom in games designed for smart phones.
However, Jaumandreu lamented that the majority of the current companies are small or foreign, leading to a lack of continuity in projects and significant overseas recruitment, which characterize the volatility of the Spanish gaming sector.
According to the Spanish association of video game developers DEV, there are some 480 active companies in Spain. The figure is slightly misleading given that around 95 percent of them are micro-enterprises, with most working on their first-ever project according to Jaumandreu.
“Many amateur companies have emerged and unfortunately many fail, and in reality only some 100 companies have lasted more than five years,” Jaumandreu said.
The main objective of Spanish companies is growing and ensuring stability by having a large and steady team.
Iñaki Diaz, co-founder and art director of Appnormals Team, which has put the psychological thriller “Stay” on exhibition, also shares this vision.
The medium-term objective of his company, which currently focuses on the development of indie titles with little visibility and funding, is being able to survive and ensure that the projects are cost-effective.
“If we are able to make five, 10, 15 or 20 games, surely one will be excellent and successful, but that will take many years. Survival is the biggest success,” said Diaz, who believes that events like the Tokyo Game Show are important for expanding horizons.
Apart from the indie developers, three other Spanish companies – Badland Games, Orenji Games and Stage Clear Studios – are participating in the event’s business area and have received funding from the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade.