With the Philippines becoming a developer hub for mobile games, startup companies now have access to more growth opportunities at hand including Google Play’s Indie Games Accelerator (IGA) program.
The IGA is Google’s mentorship and education program specifically designed for game developers that show a lot of promise. Every year, IGA takes a group of talented developers to train them and “supercharge” their growth on the Android and Google Play platform through an intensive 10-week course.
Filipino game developer Ranida Games joined Google’s IGA program as a member of its 2022 class—the sole representatives from the Philippines—to get support as it was building and improving its debut title Vita Fighters. Vita Fighters is a tribute to pop culture, anime, and many classic games in the fighting game genre, such as Sega’s Virtua Fighter, from which it takes its 3D-block aesthetic.
With just 12 team members based in Manila, Ranida had originally launched Vita Fighters on the Google Play Store. After years of applying, they were accepted into the IGA program last year, providing them the guidance they needed in improving the game and scaling up for greater success.
Aiming to win in the global arena
Vita Fighters promises to be an immersive and epic mobile fighting game appealing to both casual gamers and fighting game veterans. Ranida aims to sell the title globally, emphasizing its simplified touchscreen controls that are intuitive yet offer nuanced gameplay. With a complex combo system reminiscent of Capcom’s Street Fighter, Vita Fighters has the potential to replicate the success of popular games like Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and Call of Duty Mobile.
“Now we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with IGA. It’s just the beginning for us,” said Walter Manalo, Ranida Games’s managing partner and co-founder. “We were very much lacking in terms of how to grow our game.”
“With IGA, especially with the mentors that we had, they equipped us with tools, the mentors explained a lot of things to us,” added Ben Joseph Banta, Ranida’s CEO and studio head.
Aside from building a solid mobile video game by itself, IGA taught Ranida more tricks of the trade, such as the benefits of analytics and a customized Google Play Store page. Thanks to these, as of now Vita Fighters’ conversion rate grew to 22 percent from 18 percent initially.
“We really want to grow our business, not only in terms of downloads, but in terms of revenue,” said Manalo. “We’d like to scale up our operations and tap the global market.”
A bustling family of like-minded players
Getting into IGA not only gave Ranida a fighting chance to show what the team and Vita Fighters are truly capable of, but also a sense of community among peers from around the world with the same dreams.
“We learned that there were other IGA participants that were also experiencing all the problems that we have,” said Banta. “Everyone is learning at the same time, and we are happy to have this shared experience with them.”
“Having the chance to meet our fellow developers here in IGA, we felt like we were a family,” Manalo shared with a smile.
Beyond passionate developers and designers, this opportunity represents and fulfills gamers and enthusiasts worldwide. Thanks to Google and IGA, creations like Ranida’s Vita Fighters from underappreciated regions now offer more mobile gaming options to enjoy.