London developer Hide&Seek closes

London developer Hide&Seek closes
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

November 26th 2013 at 3:25PM

Young studio shuts doors after five years, but promises to fill Kickstarter backer rewards

London developer Hide&Seek is closing its doors after over five years in business.

The studio is famous for experimenting with non-traditional real-world gaming. Its projects have included Green Lantern and Sherlock Holmes.

In April earlier this year, the developer successfully raised £30,000 from more than 1,000 backers on crowdfunding website Kickstarter for Tiny Games - an app that housed hundreds of real-world games.

In a statement, the studio, founded in 2007, said the budgets for its agency work on cultural jobs and big entertainment projects had recently dried up and budgets had been reduced by a factor of ten.

It blamed the current financial climate for the lack of funding opportunities open to the studio.

Despite its closure, the developer has pledged ship the last of the Tiny Games Kickstarter rewards and finish its consultancy work and a game for Westminster Council's Get Home Safe campaign.

"We also knew there was no white knight of public funding out there to help us out," read a statement.

"While there is a rhetoric of governmental support for the creative industries, and for cultural organisations that innovate, our experience of funders has been one of diminishing returns. We stopped applying for things after we worked out that if you added up all the studio days that had been spent working on unsuccessful funding applications, you could have hired a whole extra person to work on making games.

"Responding to those trends, we planned a pivot to a for-customers model with Tiny Games, and we’ve been trying a bunch of other things behind the scenes. Seriously, a bunch – including pitches to investors, swinging for a huge film license, and talking to anyone we thought might
finance something like the thing we wanted Hide&Seek to be. What we’ve found is that hard-to-categorise thing about us – that diversity, that public-spiritedness, that cultural curiosity – is hard for the market to value.

"Despite all that, the brilliant, enterprising people who work for H&S (who you should totally hire, by the way) have all worked the equivalent of three jobs – maintaining our agency work, producing Tiny Games, and helping me pitch H&S as a start-up to investors. One of the reasons for wrapping up slightly sooner than we absolutely had to is to give us time to find new jobs for the team. If you’re hiring, please get in touch with me personally at alex@hideandseek.net."

Before its closure, last month Develop interviewed studio director Alex Fleetwood about Tiny Games and the studio's hopes for the future.