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In the Spotlight: Sunday’s Publishing Team

Working and publishing with Sunday is an opportunity dozens of studios have already benefited from. We coach and mentor every single one of them, we relentlessly test prototypes, analyze data, and use the findings to fuel monetization possibilities to the absolute max. That’s how hits like Fall Break, Ragdoll Smasher, Plug Head, and Zoologic with over 20 million downloads came to life and brought their respective studios to light. But who’s behind the success of Sunday’s publishing department? Today, let’s dig a little deeper into the internal processes of Sunday as a hyper-casual publisher and meet the people behind the smash hits.

Meet the Team

The publishing team at Sunday is a diverse bunch of people whose talents and charisma spread way beyond. Here’s the mighty eight:

  • Balaji, Head of Publishing, is a business guru with tons of patience who can keep a cool head for the whole team and always drives it forward.
  • Haluk, Senior Publishing Manager, is a huge sports-head with an empathetic heart. Always in a constant productivity flow. 
  • Berksu, Publishing Operations Manager, is the heart of the team with a larger-than-life personality. Lovingly described by other team members with “these things won’t run without her!”
  • Kerem, Publishing Manager, always knows how to take a raw idea and put a creative spin on it. Loves feeling the wind in his curls when sailing.
  • Arda, Business Development Manager, is equal parts wit and charm. He also has a quickly growing obsession with smart home gadgets, but we love that.
  • Johan, Publishing Manager, is a game designer who switched sides to turn prototypes into hit games. He loves taking things into his own hands — even cutting his own hair! 
  • Anirv, Game Designer, is the only team member working from our Indian office. An avid gamer with a history of occasional modeling gigs, even for L’Oréal!
  • Alireza, Unity Integration Manager, is a passionate gamer with an affinity for music production. Single-handedly accumulated 3500+ hours in Dota. Is he ever going to stop? No, and that’s the level of commitment we always aspire to have.

All these little quirks contribute to the spirit of Sunday and make it extremely easy for external hyper-casual studios to connect with our publishing team on a deeper personal level. Actually, it’s absolutely in Sunday’s nature to go beyond strictly professional boundaries. Even though the team dedicates 100% of its resources to releasing revenue-generating titles, there’s always a time and a place to have a personal chit-chat, laugh a bit, and connect. Our Senior Publishing Manager Haluk even admits that the hardest part of the job is by far when he has to say goodbye to an external team, simply because he gets too attached.

Day-to-Day as a Hyper-Casual Publisher

The publishing team at Sunday takes good games and turns them into great ones with the power of their accumulated experience and expertise. This is one of the most important assets that they offer to young studios that already have great ideas and all the drive in the world but still lack that insightful industry know-how to get them on top of the charts. With Publishing’s collective experience in the game industry hovering around 50 years, they are perfect mentors.

A day in the department is a whirlpool of calls with studios, daily feedback, coaching, KPI tests, and more feedback. Ideation — either together with external teams or on their own — takes a big chunk of the workload as well. Finding and fostering the next hit game with long-term profitability could be the biggest thing on the Publishing’s plate. We’ve crashed their ideation sessions, and it’s exhilarating to see prototypes emerge from, at times, something as little as a hand-drawn picture and a bright idea.

When discussing aiming puzzles at a recent meeting, the publishing team explored every possibility of reinventing the genre. What else can you possibly aim and shoot besides the regular ammo? How about portals? Or magnets? Anti-gravity soap bubbles? Wait, that might be it — should we test it?

Focus on Success: The New Product Strategy

In the month of writing this article, Publishing is focused on aiming puzzles, but why just them? It’s a part of Sunday’s new product strategy that will help us keep making cash cow games despite the market’s saturation or the gloomy state of the global economy. We’ve already touched upon it in the interview with our MD Christoph, but here’s how the new strategy works within the publishing department’s workflow.

Every month, instead of indulging in the blue sky thinking, they take a single focus genre and work within one promising direction backed by research and strong KPIs. This turns Sunday’s Publishing and all of the external studios into a hub where forces are joined (kind of like when Power Rangers turn into a Megazord): while one team is hitting the wall, another one might have already overcome it, and will share the solution. 

This time the team is neck deep into so-called aiming puzzles, a prospective hyper-casual genre that’s been around for a while but, according to our data, still grosses millions of downloads every month. 

To create a hit game, partner studios will aim at evoking the sense of familiarity within the target audience while also introducing exciting novel features. In theory, familiar game elements, when reinterpreted by adding some novel features, be it mechanics, game loops, or color palettes, bring a higher chance of making a hit game. To aid the external studios with this, Publishing is armed with not just experience in the industry, but also a pack of exclusive Sunday tools that facilitate the process from ideation to global launch. The pack always includes step-by-step guides and breakdowns of each genre’s remarkable elements that make the ideation process so much easier.

If we’re relying on familiar elements to evoke the desire to play a game, how do we make sure that a studio doesn’t produce a clone without any growth potential? At least 30% of the final product has to bring the element of innovation, and our publishing department can teach external studios how to question their project and push the novelty factor further when needed. So far we’ve noticed that when external studios work in this laser-focus mode they tend to produce ideas more easily. Besides that, when they mix and match familiar hyper-casual gaming staples with novel elements and their unique ideas beyond the genres, it sets the stage for ideas with the hit energy to emerge.

Tips for Publishing Hyper-Casual Games with Sunday

For every hyper-casual game that our Publishing has launched, there were at least 100 unviable prototypes that had to be killed. It’s a part of the game. Not the best one, but definitely the one that allowed our team to increase efficiency, act quicker, and work smarter. It also helped us make this list of tips that would help a studio release a hyper-casual hit with Sunday: 

  • For a higher success rate right off the bat, back up your idea with data: let’s focus our attention on ideas with a higher chance of becoming a hit.
  • In the beginning, be ready for a marathon: an average game that gets to be published is tested relentlessly and sometimes receives up to 10-20 updates before the launch. It takes time and resources, but it’s absolutely worth it.
  • Make room in your schedule for weekly or even daily meetings. We prefer close collaboration with external studios — from ideation to the launch — and we need you to be on board. 
  • Do not get attached to your games too soon: if they are not marketable, you’ll have to move forward, and it’s completely OK!
  • Learn from failed prototypes and use your mistakes to keep improving. The bar for quality is very high right now and it will only keep rising.

Ready to Do It?

If you’re on the lookout for a publisher that offers cutting-edge technology, daily personable collaboration, tons of invaluable insight, and a history of hit games, Sunday is exactly that. Take a minute to get in touch with us: tell Sunday about your team, share your portfolio, and, who knows, this application might just as well become the beginning of your success story! 

Interested in publishing with Sunday?

Ready to begin your success story?