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Embria backs 10K Riders to transform co-development in mobile gaming

Embria announces a $500,000 seed investment in 10K Riders. 10K Riders is a publisher of mobile F2P games built around a new "creative-yet-reliable" co-development approach that unites studios around in-depth concepts, allowing them to pool knowledge and drastically improving project success rates. Founded in August 2021, 10K Riders is already working on over 100 gaming projects with 78 studios from around the world (UK, France, Eastern Europe, Israel, Vietnam, India, Canada, etc.)

As an industry, mobile gaming remains a red ocean: only 10% of all studios make more than $100k a year, with less than 1% earning over a million. One of the main reasons for poor outcomes is studios spending their scarce resources on projects that the market simply does not want. Publishers have a better understanding of the players’ needs but struggle to find enough suitable projects. Co-development is the answer: it implies publishers suggesting concepts with improved potential to studios to develop together from scratch. But co-development isn’t perfect, ranging between building rock-solid clones with much lower potential, or blindingly relying on creativity which can be very risky. 10k Riders’ approach strives to lower creative risks while retaining the increased reward potential. 

THE SECRET SAUCE

As a publisher, 10K Riders is focused on careful development of initial ideas, further entrusting them to studios with relevant experience. Each concept comes with extensive documentation and game balance spreadsheets. The partner studios gain access to asset packs and shared art direction resources, lowering risks and error costs.

Typically, up to 40 teams may simultaneously work on five different concepts. Still, each team enjoys leeway to develop their idea in their style, genre, and setting, implementing original features and mechanics that enrich the original concept. All features get a/b-tested, and the best ones are shared with all participating studios. This is how 10K Riders creates a space where all participants gain access to dozens of successful, innovative features and implementations for the price of one or two of their own. In this paradigm, even failed projects often yield substantial benefits by testing and showcasing worthy innovations.

The best studios that pass the stages of test scene, internal prototype, and MVP UA test become 10K Riders' permanent partners.

The approach to work with 10K feels like the future of publisher-developer partnerships. The 10K team immediately charmed us with its professional and friendly atmosphere. They make decisions based on data and always explain why decisions are made, while always ensuring those decisions are made together with our team. 10K is confident, supportive, and collaborative, and we feel we can make better games working together with them,” Tom Bagstevold, Ascended Studio, Norway.

We’re developing the product for the new market for us and wanna thank 10K Riders for all the consultations we’re getting from them! We highly appreciate all the attention and research on similar games and product advice we get. We look forward to launching our game together,” Tran Viet Duc, DD game, Vietnam.

The idea behind the co-development model belongs to Ilia Tumenko, CEO and founder of 10K Riders. Ilia worked as a publishing director at AppQuantum where he was responsible for launching and promoting such hits as Gold & Goblins ($7m/90d), Idle Evil Clicker (10m+), Dragon Champions ($1m/29d), Idle Light City (5m+). Previously, Ilia was CEO of a consulting studio where he helped promote  TanksAlot (10m+ downloads), Day R Survival (10m+), Art of War 3 (10m+), Human Evolution (10m+), Decentraland ($1Bn+ value).

10K Riders plans to use Embria's investment to expand the pool of game studios, grow its in-house team of producers, analysts, and game designers, and invest in strategic priorities, such as its own R&D and hybrid publishing.

The mobile gaming industry is in choppy waters right now, and we want to offer it our approach that can serialize success. We strive to share the knowledge and resources with the studios, offering a predictable path from the concept stage to launch, in a joint effort to release excellent games,” said Ilia Tumenko, founder and CEO of 10K Riders.

Investing in 10K Riders is a perfect opportunity for Embria to support an experienced, ambitious team. We share their vision of talent support, and we see great potential in the co-development of mobile games,” said Stan Gorozhankin, Head of Analytics at Embria.