Why hit developer Nordcurrent is moving to publishing

Nordcurrent, a leading mobile game developer with a rich history, is now branching out to become a publisher of games for other studios. The company recently established Nordcurrent Labs, with plans to launch its first game under the label – the pixel-art RPG, Greedventory from Black Tower Basement. In an exclusive interview with the Nordcurrent team, we explored their focus on mobile gaming and how they aim to expand their publishing platform further.

Mobile Focus: Nordcurrent’s Primary Business

Although Nordcurrent started in 2002 developing games for consoles and handhelds, the company shifted its primary focus towards mobile gaming in 2011. Having gained immense experience in the industry, the company is now making steady progress towards publishing games for other small-scale developers across all platforms. “The Nordcurrent Labs publishing label and a dedicated team were established to support indie developers in publishing their games,” says Andrius Mackevičius, Nordcurrent’s indie games publishing lead. “While mobile games account for over 95% of Nordcurrent’s revenues and will continue to be our primary business, Nordcurrent Labs will expand its reach into other platforms.”

Inspiration and Unification Through Quality

Nordcurrent’s primary focus has always been on the quality of art and storytelling, which is crucial for positive player experiences. While Nordcurrent and Nordcurrent Labs are separate entities, there is a unified approach that encompasses all their games. According to Mackevičius, “Nordcurrent and Nordcurrent Labs are separate businesses, as the PC/console space differs significantly from the mobile market. However, one aspect that unifies our approach across all our games is a focus on the quality of art and storytelling, which is crucial for a positive player experience.”

Revenue Growth and Future Plans

Nordcurrent’s success is evident, with a significant 42% increase in revenue this year. The studio released two titles, Happy Clinic and Murder By Choice, that quickly became hits, attracting millions of players and generating substantial revenue. “Nordcurrent aims to leverage our multi-million player base for newer games and to foster connections among games and communities,” says Simonas Sturys, Head of Marketing at Nordcurrent. The company plans to expand its reach to new platforms by porting its already-released titles and releasing high-quality new games throughout the rest of the year.

Overcoming Challenges: Discoverability and User Acquisition

Discovering new and compelling games faster than competitors and managing visibility once a game is released is a constant challenge for the studio. “Visibility becomes a challenge once a game is released due to the sheer volume of games hitting the market on PC and consoles every month. To overcome these hurdles, we rely on talented teams who deeply understand the market and know how to navigate each unique situation,” explains Mackevičius. In addition, stricter policies regarding personal data protection have made targeting new players through user acquisition more difficult. To overcome this challenge, Nordcurrent plans to focus on branding and explore new channels, collaborations, and influencers.

Trends to Look Out For

It’s intriguing to observe the significant changes in the PC and console industry as it gradually moves towards consolidation and mergers among major entities, says Mackevičius. It is exciting to monitor emerging genre trends and witness how they reshape the industry and subsequently influence other platforms, such as mobile. One notable example is Vampire Survivors, which not only established a new sub-genre but had a similar impact on mobile, where developers now have a new genre to explore. Nordcurrent’s team keeps up with the upcoming trends in the industry and strives to stay attuned to the pulse of the market, helping them tackle future challenges with greater ease.