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Making Magic: A Business Model for Divergent Thinkers

Guha Bala  (President and Co-Founder, Velan Studios)

Karthik Bala  (CEO and Co-Founder, Velan Studios)

Date: Tuesday, March 16

Time: 10:05 am - 10:35 am

Track: Business and Marketing, Production & Team Management

Format: Discussion Session

Vault Recording: TBD

Audience Level: All

Velan Studios was formed in 2016 to create breakthrough games that are magic. Its debut title, Mario Kart Live Home Circuit was launched on October 16, 2020, and its second title will be announced soon. The games represent Velan Studios' journey to define a culture and business model that can cultivate fundamentally new play patterns, as well as ways of bringing them to market. Divergent thinking sometimes demands divergent go-to-market pathways. In this talk, we will discuss what is needed to create a studio environment where big innovation can thrive. Topics include the pitfalls and challenges to innovation in a studio setting; a development environment to discover big ideas; the importance of team investment at all levels of the organization; the development stages of an idea; how to avoid falling into innovation decline; and approaches to idea experimentation, production, profit, and reinvestment.


Attendees will take away some useful approaches to fostering a culture of innovation, as well as thinking through the tradeoffs that need to be made in running a sustainable studio.

Intended Audience

This session is intended for studio heads, creative directors, entrepreneurs and those interested in building a healthy culture of innovation while balancing the pragmatic realities and constraints of game development.