Inca Games, a new incubator and publisher of independent video games, has the mission to bring games developed in Latin America to the world.
The Buenos Aires-based company has opened offices in the Netherlands and San Francisco, and its leaders are the same executive team behind Sixth Vowel Studio, the developers of the upcoming tactical role-playing game Element: Space.
Market researcher Newzoo said the Latin American region represents more than 200 million ‘gamers’ or an estimated $4.4 billion and has one of the industry’s highest growth rates, 13 percent year-over-year, making it one of the most underserved yet promising emerging markets.
Navigating the challenges of the video game business, both universal and those unique to the Latin America, led to the founding of Inca Games. As they team made Element: Space, they wanted to find a way to share their experience and learnings with other studios that share their cultural vibe and passion. Element: Space will release in the fourth quarter of this year for PC on Steam, with the possibly of other platforms to follow.
“Building a good game is hard, but finishing it and getting it published are colossal tasks,” said Javier Entelman, CEO of Inca Games, in a statement. “Latin American developers typically encounter an additional set of difficulties that block their path towards launching a game such as access to dev kits, production and go-to-market experience, funding and more. Working on Element: Space we gained an understanding of how to overcome these challenges and now want to share that knowledge with other indies by incubating and publishing their projects.”
Inca Games offers services for the region’s development community: incubation, funding, production assistance, business support, outsourcing, scouting, and overall guidance to bring their games to market. What differentiates Inca from other publishers is that the team speaks the same language and shares the same cultural sensibilities as the local developers they’re trying to help. Inca then helps by serving as a bridge with the bigger markets around the world.
Aiding the Inca Games team are several industry veterans: Sarah Stocker, who led studios and production teams at Glu Mobile, Stormfront Studios, and Sony PlayStation; and Mark Danks, who served as technical director at Electronic Arts, Stormfront Studios, and Sony Playstation on multiple best-selling franchises.
Stocker and Danks join Inca Games as directors of incubation, working with Inca’s in-house and independent Latin America teams on best practices of game development and technical direction. Elizabeth Olson, a long-time industry veteran in marketing, PR, and business development and formerly the founding editor-in-chief of Game Informer, has joined the team as marketing director.
“We’ve been consulting with development teams throughout Latin America for the last ten years and are always looking for ways to both share best practices for success and shine a spotlight on the talent in the region,” said Sarah Stocker, in a statement. “LatAm developers possess huge creativity but often have difficulty overcoming the production challenges faced when finishing a commercial product. Help from Inca Games and its industry veterans provide the best opportunity for these teams to achieve their goals and bring their unique and exciting games to market.”
In addition to curating and incubating the indie games of the region, Inca Games hopes to encourage the growth of the entire Spanish-speaking gamer community. The company plans to create a portal on its site that will enable more flexible payment options — important in a region where credit cards are not yet ubiquitous. It also hopes to partner with co-publishers to bring games from the region to a global audience and serve as a conduit for publishers wishing to enter the LatAm region.
Inca Games has three games slated for release in 2018 and early 2019. Its flagship game and most ambitious LatAm PC game to date, Element: Space, is a ‘triple I’ tactical turn-based RPG from its internal development team Sixth Vowel. Two additional games are expected from the publishing label this year.
Shadow Brawlers, a fast-paced stealth party brawler from Team Guazu, was awarded Best Game by the jury on EVA 2017 and was an Indie Prize finalist at Casual Connect USA. Gaulicho Games’ Tango: The Adventure Game recounts the history of the Argentine Tango. Inca Games is seeking a Series A round of investment to help accelerate growth of the incubation services and curate additional titles.
Entelman and Fernando Polti founded Sixth Vowel Studio in 2015. Inca Games (now the parent company of Sixth Vowel) started in 2017. The companies have approximately 60 employees between them. To date, Inca Games has raised $2.5 million, and it received about $700,000 from the Argentine government’s Ministry of Science and Technology.
The Ministry of Production chose Inca Games to be the first incubator dedicated to the video game industry, co-investing with the government in potential projects (this is historical for local industry, a first in Argentina).
“The time for Latin America is now,” Entelman said. “We want to be a beacon that shows the talent and passion of the Latin American video game industry.”