Six months was the time frame for Abraham Cózar to get his career as a video game designer off the ground. The project of the 35-year-old Valencian from the town of Meliana was to develop educational applications for struggling schools. Despite good intentions he floundered.
Despite this Abraham Cózar didn’t abandon his dream of creating a method that would allow a young audience to learn and have fun at the same time thanks to technology. Cózar decided to try again in 2015, this time on his own because he could not afford to hire anyone. His savings were not enough for him to live.
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Cozar’s start with the Chibig company
From a small room, converted into a studio, Abraham Cózar started designing small mobile games that he was testing on the market. “Speed was key. It’s not easy to find a product that is successful,” the telecommunications engineer recalled. In six months he developed six video games. It was the last one, Deiland, that worked. This resource management game focused on children and was inspired by the story of The Little Prince, and acquired millions of players in just a few months.
This laid the foundation of Chibig, which has now become Cózar’s video game studio, and a small company with great potential. Proof of this is its track record since then: the next video game, Ankora, had similar success to its predecessor. Lanzadera, the accelerator of Mercadona’s owner, Juan Roig, signed in 2017, gave them a more professional workspace and helped take more steps in the business world. In 2018, Deiland made the jump to the video game console format (PlayStation 4) and later to PC, with more than 30,000 units sold.
Crowdfunding campaign – great help for the project
However, the real success of the Valencian studio would come with its latest project: Summer in Mara. To finance this video game, more ambitious than the others, Cózar decided to resort to a crowdfunding campaign through the Kickstarter platform. “Crowdfunding is a very useful financing format in the world of video games because it allows you to validate the product before launching. Usually, you are working for a year, sometimes longer, designing something that you don’t know if it will be profitable afterwards,” Cózar points out.
Abraham and his company had already tried the formula with Deiland when, in order to translate the game into more languages and add details that had been left out of the funding, the company asked their fans for $11,000 (€10,000). The fans responded by tripling the required figure. For Summer in Mara, the company asked their fan base for $22,000 (€20,000). By February 2019, thanks to the crowdfunding campaign he had raised $255,000 (€230,000), becoming the third most successful video game in Spain.
Cozar’s marketing strategy
Cózar recalled that the marketing and communication strategy was fundamental: “It doesn’t matter if you have a very good product. You need to make yourself seen. This market is saturated with hundreds of games that come out every month and making yourself visible is fundamental.”
The entrepreneur confessed that success, which came totally unexpected, overwhelmed him. In addition, last year his company received $167,000 (€150,000) from the European Regional Development Funds as part of a program to boost the video game industry in Europe.
Chibig, which started out with a turnover of just $333 (€300) per month, surpassed $333,000 (€300,000) per year in 2019, making a profit and expanding its workforce to eight people. Summer in Mara will see the light of day in February next year, and for the moment, the Valencian studio is already managing two other new projects to be launched later.
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First published in EL PAIS, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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