Developing the next generation of gaming talent in unexpected places with Iron Fox Games
Dec 7, 2023
In this episode of Story Mode, Ryan Filsinger, CEO of Iron Fox Studios, discusses his journey in the gaming industry, from working in mobile gaming to founding his own studio and the importance of cultivating new talent for the future of gaming.
Olya and Ryan discuss how Iron Fox has remained successful in challenging times, the web games space and its opportunities, and how Ryan built Iron Fox over the last few years. In navigating the challenges that Iron Fox Games has experienced, Ryan reflects on the importance of diversifying revenue streams, touting it as the approach that has been key to Iron Fox's resilience. He also discusses his passion for educating and developing the future talent of the gaming industry, focusing on people and places that are often overlooked.
About Ryan Filsinger:
Ryan has worked in the gaming industry for over 15 years and began working in mobile gaming before there was an App Store. Before starting Iron Fox Games, Ryan worked at organizations like Other Ocean Interactive, Kabam, & EA. He founded Kabam’s PEI location and led that office as their GM; he was the Lead producer on the massive mobile hit Simpsons: Tapped Out; He was the Director of LiveOps for Star Wars: Rise to Power; and the Executive Producer Transformers: Forged to Fight. He founded Iron Fox Games in early 2022, where he leads a team of 27 people.
In this episode, you'll learn about:
01:06 - Iron Fox’s latest release Up Together, available to play for free on Poki.com
01:43 - How Ryan got his start in gaming and his path from QA Tester to CEO.
03:18 - Ryan’s original thesis when founding Iron Fox Games
04:06 - The plethora of projects they are working on currently.
05:04 - How Iron Fox evaluates when to say yes or no to any given project and their 2023 mindset when it comes to new contracts.
06:34 - Iron Fox Games’ mission to help build the future generation of game developers and cultivate talent in unexpected areas of the globe.
08:13 - Success story of one Iron Fox team member who was working in IT at a construction company and how Iron Fox gave him a chance to get into gaming
08:59 - How Iron Fox managed to not do layoffs and remain financially stable, despite hitting tough times like many in 2023.
12:08 - Ryan’s point of view around when to build original IP or when to license IP and how Iron Fox is currently approaching both.
15:37 - Iron Fox Games’ process for identifying IP licensing opportunities and developing original IP, which includes something they call the “meme test.”
16:53 - How Iron Fox got started with building web games and partnering with Poki.com
18:14 - How Ryan thinks about mobile versus web games, and if and when to go cross-platform.
19:06 - Ryan’s advice to gaming leaders who are in the tough position of having a really short runway and how diversifying your approach can help generate revenue in a difficult market.
20:42 - The one thing Ryan would like to see leave the gaming industry - toxic criticism from players
21:44 - How Ryan thinks of the role of community in games, and how the Simpsons: Tapped Out team communicated with their community through actions.
23:25 - How Iron Fox Games is planning to use a community approach with their own titles.
24:11 - The things in the gaming industry that Ryan is looking forward to and how he thinks these current tough times will lay the foundations for some of the best games and gaming startups that we’ve ever seen.