Guest post by David Scanlon. Director of @StartupGrindDUB. Originally published by Startup Grind, the global entrepreneurship community. Now with NDRC as well, as Venture Investment Lead.

“People have this perception that [building] games is like weird magic – it’s not, it’s like most other businesses… the only difference is that the products we create, our people have a massive passion for” — Richard Barnwell

At our most recent Grind in Dublin, I was fortunate to have the founder of Ireland’s leading video game studio in the hot seat. Richard Barnwell founded DIGIT Game Studios in 2012, launching the free-to-play MMO title Kings of The Realm in 2014. The studio is currently expanding as it prepares for the release of a “AAA” title later this year. Richard has an incredible wealth of experience and insight into the world of free-to-play gaming. There mightn’t be an “weird magic” behind it, but Richard outlined three key elements to their success:

Great IP

DIGIT’s development of Kings of the Realm judged the zeitgeist well, creating a richly detailed fantasy world which segued nicely into the recent “Game of Thrones” mania. DIGIT also chose their partners carefully, working with publisher Kabam, who had past experience with The Hobbit game series.

Rock-solid Tech

DIGIT were early pioneers of the seamlessly cross platform gaming experience, allowing players engage with the game on multiple devices of various form factors throughout the day. This seamless experience allowed DIGIT to acquire users through much most cost-effective channels (i.e. desktop browser) than their single-platform competitors.

Behavioral Analysis

This is probably the bit that’s closest to the weird magic: the key to successful free-to-play games is effectively monetizing your “whales,” the 2-3% of a game’s audience that generate the bulk of the revenue. Game studios like DIGIT work endlessly to create the illusion that as a player you’re exercising free will, giving you a rich, rewarding gaming experience, while at the same time controlling and crafting your game play to the point where your every choice has been mapped out in advance. Magic.

Don’t forget, tickets are now on sale for our January Grind on the 26th – please remember that after you RSVP here on you must still purchase an event ticket through Eventbrite: further information and tickets at

Looking forward to seeing you on the 26th!


If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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