Start-Up Spotlight: TeePee Games

Start-Up Spotlight: TeePee Games
Aaron Lee

By Aaron Lee

April 14th 2011 at 2:00PM

TeePeeâ??s chief on the dawn of their multi-platform discovery service

Discoverability has been a constant issue for participants in the digital market.

TeePee Games aim to solve this with their discovery and distribution service for web, social and mobile games.

Though their garb and business cards playfully suggest otherwise, this London-based start-up has heaps of collective experience, with members from Player X, Zed Group and Sega.

CEO, co-founder and chief TeePee Tony Pearce enlightens us about TeePee’s past and, more importantly, its future.

How did you start your company?
The idea for TeePee Games was spawned last year, shortly after I departed my previous company, Player X. One of the main challenges we faced at Player X was filtering through the vast number of mobile games on the market, which is an issue that’s increasingly recognised as being a significant problem for consumers. As the casual games industry matured, the number of games available across social networks, Flash gaming sites and smartphones increased at a massive rate. Did you know there are over 35,000 games in Facebook? Most people cannot even name the top five.

Finding good casual titles has become increasingly difficult with such a crowded marketplace, great games are failing to achieve the prominence and level of play they deserve. I saw a gap in the market to resolve these problems by creating a single platform that would bring together the discovery, distribution and delivery of good, quality content which is selected for you personally.

How many people work at your company?
TeePee Games currently has four full-time members of staff: myself, Darren Newnham, Lauren Omond and Marc Woodhouse. Darren is our head of content and chief scout responsible for overseeing partnerships and managing the content we feature on TeePee Games. Lauren is our project manager and head squaw, currently responsible for managing the portal’s development and liaising with game companies to ensure TeePee Games is ready for its big launch. Marc is our designer and cave painter in charge of making the website look slick and run smoothly.

Assisting me in my role as CEO and chief TeePee, I also have a board of ‘wise elders’ who provide assistance on a number of important decision making matters when the need arises. Nick Alexander is our chairman and wise man. Charles McLeod is our non-executive director and warrior and Simon Jones is chief commercial officer and dream catcher.

What’s your company culture like?
TeePee Games has a very relaxed and open door company culture. All of the team are hands-on with tasks, chip in to get the job done and are encouraged to bring various ideas for the company to the table. In the past I’ve been well known for my ‘work hard, play hard’ company ethos, but the last three months have been very much ‘work hard, work hard and work harder’ in order to get TeePee Games in to its beta stage. The team are due a night of playing hard soon in the name of restoring universal balance.

Tell us a little-known fact or anecdote about your company.
The company name, TeePee Games, actually came from my initials: TP. However, it was never meant to end up as the name of the company. It was simply because I could not think of a decent, catchy name to call it at the time. When someone asked me what the new company was called, I said “TP Games” as a joke, but he replied with, “Oh, great name, like the Indian tribes and community.” Geronimo! I checked to see if the TeePee Games domain was available and it was. The rest is history.

What could you, and/or your team members, not do without on a daily basis?
Booze, ha! Seriously, though we’ve so far blown up two laptops in the launch process and found living without those pretty impossible. The team also relies on Skype, as we are constantly speaking with games companies across the globe and smoke signals are not strong or reliable enough. We find beating each other up with tomahawks pretty therapeutic during launch, it’s good to let off steam. The shaman also helped with various hallucinogenic drugs to keep us on track.

Why did you decide to enter the casual gaming market?
To aid discovery of great content, mostly. As mentioned earlier, the proliferation of titles has been truly epic, so many fine games simply don’t get the attention they deserve. By championing these titles while providing profiled recommendations for several huge sectors and formats, we’re providing a unique service that the casual gaming space has sorely needed for a long time.

What games/tools/services have you made since forming, and how have they been received?
Since the company’s inception, we’ve been working on the development of a discovery platform for social, smartphone and online Flash games. TeePee Games features an incredible discovery engine, called Geronimo, which works like Amazon’s recommendation and Apple’s Genius playlist, by learning and growing with each user. This allows TeePee Games to build a detailed profile of every gamer’s preferences across a multitude of gaming platforms and, in turn, allows personal recommendations to be made and tailored specifically to each user. TeePee Games has incorporated a range of social features to encourage use as a daily online activity - a community element will aid social interaction, while rewards and loyalty points will help to incentivise gameplay. So far, feedback from our beta testers has been incredibly positive and we’re very thankful to all them for providing us with extensive feedback, allowing us to make a number of improvements to the site.

We’ve also developed a TeePee Games Android app which can be downloaded from the Google marketplace for free. It provides users with access to a range of Android titles included in our directory, allowing them to view ratings and the games to be downloaded directly through the app.

What are you working on right now, and what stage is the project at?
At the moment the TeePee Games discovery portal at www.teepeegames.com is our main focus. It’s currently in an open beta phase and has been since mid-March. We should be ready for an official launch in the next few weeks and will kick off with around 300 Facebook, 100 Android and 2,500 online games.

We are also developing a great Facebook app which will allow you to do everything within our own Facebook page without having to go to the external web site. The early demos I’ve seen of the app are excellent. We can integrate the website, Facebook and Android all together, building a brand across all these platforms. You will also be able to log in via the web or Facebook page and all your saved games and loyalty points will seamlessly appear across each platform.

What are your aspirations for the company?
We want TeePee Games to become ‘Pandora of games’ - the only destination required for finding and discovering games that are targeted at you. TeePee Games currently features Facebook, Android and online Flash games and we aim to expand our catalogue to include titles from a variety of other platforms. We’re particularly keen on growing the portal with content from additional social networks and mobile devices such as BlackBerry and iPhone and hope to do so in the coming months.

Who do you admire in the games industry and/or beyond?
Gary Bracey, for being the first person to license a game in the UK and not letting his scouse roots hold him back!

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your company?
TeePee Games is on track for an official launch on May 1st. However, you can still play on the website now while it is in beta phase. Please check it out, we would love to get your feedback: www.teepeegames.com.

We’re always on the lookout for new games to include on our portal. Developers and publishers who would like to get their social, smartphone or online Flash games featured on TeePee Games can contact Darren Newnham.

Lastly, for the latest news and updates check out our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter @teepeegames.

Want to be featured in our Start-Up Spotlight? Contact Aaron.Lee@intentmedia.co.uk with details of your company to be considered for inclusion.