That seasonal blog post

It is that time again where we wish you all the best for the coming year. 2013 is holding a lot of promise for ICO Partners, some of which we should be able to discuss soon, others that are still in early stages, and all of them quite exciting.   Anyone whom I ran into last month probably knows from my raving rants at the time it was taking, but we have finally moved into our new offices. We have roughly doubled the size of the space we were in, as well as improved our autonomy. The offices are still in Brighton and very close to the train station for that matter. The details have been updated on the Contact Us page, but here they are again, for good measure: ICO Partners Office 6, 10 Fleet Street Brighton BN1 4ZE United Kingdom   More news from us very soon, but meanwhile…



Come work with us!

  • ICO Partners is expanding – we are looking for a Senior European PR Executive. The description is the following :

Skills and requirements:

Graduate in public relations, journalism, marketing or related programme

  • Fluent in English and another European language

  • Minimum 3 year’s experience in a position involving contact with the media

  • Experience of people management preferred

  • Strong communication skills, both spoken and written

  • Ability to work with and analyse data

  • Self-motivation and sense of initiative

  • Interest and knowledge of online games is a plus

  • Skills and experience in online video marketing and communication (Youtube, Twitch…) is a plus


  • Managing relationships with journalists in one or several European territories
  • Managing relationships with clients
  • Team management responsibilities based on applicant’s profile
  • Writing of Press Releases and Media Alerts
  • Developing and updating media lists and contact databases
  • Participating in daily media relations tasks, including collection and analysis of press coverage, reporting, organization of events, working with related service providers to support projects, etc.

The job is full-time and based in Brighton, UK. Salary to be negotiated depending on experience.

If you feel you would fit the bill, please send us your CV and cover letter to We look forward to hearing about you soon!

New website for ICO Media

A short update to point you in the direction of our new website for ICO Media, our comprehensive PR service.

ICO’s PR activity has grown significantly since we started it in 2009, but we always kept it under the ICO Partners umbrella, mostly as a way to keep things simple. As it has grown significantly lately, we have decided to give it a proper space on the Internet with the launch of our ICO Media website. It’s light, simple and (hopefully) straight to the point:

So please take a few minutes to check it out:

This is as good an opportunity as any other to remind you all that we will again be at gamescom again this year. You can contact usto arrange a meeting – or just drop by our booth to say hi – we are in the Hall 4.1, booth number A014.

New report out – Client-based MMORPGs in Europe

client-based-mmorpgs-europe_coverWe are very happy to announce that we have released our first market report directly available on the website. This is a very specialised report as we looked into client-based MMORPGs specifically, with a deeper look on how they perform in the largest countries of the region (UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Poland).

Here is the top-level bullet points on what you can find in it:

● General overview of the market: global size of the market, respective size of the key countries, business models popularity.
● Key data for the main countries: market size, preferred payment types, most popular games per language.
● List of the client-based MMORPGs in service Europe.
● Profile for each publisher with estimated revenues.

If you are curious about it, I strongly recommend to have a look at the table of contents of the report, and Joost from SuperData Research (we partnered with them on that report to make the research as complete as possible) has an article with a few key insightsfrom the report:

● The client-based MMO market totalled $1.3 billion across its major markets in 2012.
● Three publishers dominate the space, generating 70% of all revenues.
● Germany is the largest European client-based MMO market with €474MM in 2012 sales, more than double the size of the UK market (€281MM) and France (€222MM).

Since the inception of ICO Partners, it has always been our objective to provide more than our usual bespoke reports that we build for our clients. It took us some time to get to the point where we were able to build that first market report, and Diane has spent all her time for the past few months on it. Now that it has arrived, we have other segments of that market that we really want to dig into. You can expect more content on the Publications section of the website this year.

Gstar 2012

Every year, like clockwork, in the early days of November, we fly to Korea to go to Busan, in order to attend the Gstar.  We will be there on Thursday and Friday, on our very own booth, as usual.

If you find yourself in the neighbourhood, you should definitely give us a shout and come say hi to Diane and myself (Thomas)


Gamescom roll call!

Unsurprising fact of the week (month? year?): the whole team is headed to Cologne next week for GDC Europe and gamescom. Here’s where we’ll be:

Thomas and Diane arrive on Sunday, and will be at GDC on Mon 13th and Tue 14th. They’ll be taking meetings in our B2B booth, located in Hall 4.1, A012, until Fri 17th.

ICO booth location

The PR team will be with clients in the business centre, from Wed 15th to Fri 17th:

Jen will be with Riot Games (Hall 4.1, C051) managing press meetings for League of Legends

Nora will be with Hi-Rez Studios (Hall 4.1, B022) managing Tribes: Ascend demo attendance and SMITE match bookings

Kat will be managing the press schedule for Born Ready Games (co-exhibiting with us in Hall 4.1, A012) supporting Strike Suit Zero

Anne-Julie will be a superhero, flying in to assist where she’s needed.

If you’d like to book a meeting or meet up in the evening, please get in touch. See you on the other side…

Job opportunity at ICO Partners: UK PR Executive

It’s been an action packed year for the PR team so far — we’ve got great work coming out of our ears (not literally), and as a happy consequence of this, we’re hiring again!

This time, we’re looking for a native English speaker with equal amounts of writing skill, creative flair and love of online video games. Prior PR/marketing experience is a definite plus, but the role could also suit someone with a different background in online communication, like a community or social media manager. If this sounds like you, and you’re interested in joining a small, fun-loving (but hard-working) team based in Brighton, please send your CV to and/or ping for more info.

Here’s the job spec:


Who we are: ICO Partners Ltd., a small but fast-growing online games services consultancy and PR agency based in Brighton, UK. Find out all about us at


Who we need: A flexible, autonomous and motivated communications professional with a passion for online video games


Skills and requirements:


  • Native English speaker with very strong spoken and written communication skills

  • Minimum 1 year’s experience in a position involving direct contact with the media

  • Experience of and enthusiasm for online video games

  • Proven organisational and planning skills

  • Self-motivated approach to work; ability to work to short deadlines and under pressure

  • Sound judgement in dealing with media

  • Ability to work with and analyse data

  • Skills and experience in online marketing is a strong plus




  • Managing relationships with journalists across Europe (in English)

  • Working closely with clients to create and implement PR plans, schedules and communications

  • Drafting press releases and media alerts

  • Developing and updating media lists and contact databases

  • Participating in daily media relations tasks, including media outreach, collection and analysis of press coverage, reporting, organization of events, interviews and promotions

  • Assisting with market research projects

  • Participating in product testing as required

Remuneration : To be discussed with the candidate, based on experience

Location:  Brighton, UK

Reports to:  Head of PR

Hours:  Full-time, 37.5 hours per week


Retrospective: ICO Media in 2011

6027218091_f974cbb05dIf you have been following our activities, you may be aware that we started up a media relationship management service (also called ‘public relations’/PR) called ICO Media in 2010. We recently added a new section to our website to outline our approach to media relations for online games.

So… ICO Media in 2011 was very interesting for us. We took on more PR clients, and the team had a greater variety of tasks to juggle than in the previous year. We experimented with tools to improve efficiency, learned a lot about what works for us, and streamlined our processes quite a bit.


We had to keep an ever-present eye on our resources in order to keep with the demand from clients, while at the same time maintaining the core elements of our service, which make us unique: we liaise with media throughout Europe; communicate on our clients’ behalf with a long term, sustainable perspective; and work with peripheral media that have a relevant focus in line with our clients’ games. Here come the numbers (a few more than in the last post):


– 8 different clients: 4 short term missions that ended during 2011, and 4 longer term contracts (of six months or more), all of which are currently ongoing. Four longer term contracts is really the limit for the size of our present team.


– 34 high level press releases sent to the media in English, plus 120-some localized versions. We also sent 75 lower level ‘news alerts’ over the course of 2011, which were timed to deliver key info and announcements promptly without becoming spammy.


– We reviewed and collected close to 10 000 articles published by European professional and enthusiast press in connection with the news we distributed.


– 29 reports were submitted to clients. This includes both end-of-mission summaries and the monthly reports we provide to our longer-term clients. Our reports include statistical results, press feedback, analysis and recommendations. A lot of work goes into our reporting, and we feel that’s a huge part of our value to clients.


– 247 press meetings were pre-booked for gamescom (B2B) on behalf of our 4 long-term clients. This is the number that intimidates me the most, because I am not sure we will ever beat it! Unless of course we include all the walk-up appointments we book during this year’s show in our 2012 retrospective. :)


Really we know that numbers are just numbers, but these particular ones make us happy. Considering that our PR service will be just 2 years old this spring, we’re proud of what the team achieved last year and how far we’ve come in such a short time. Now we’re immersed in this year’s work, and excitedly approaching some new frontiers.

Watch this space!


If you would like to know more about ICO Media and our approach to media relations, please get in touch.

Retrospective: ICO’s consulting in 2011

6027218091_f974cbb05dEvery year, we take the opportunity during holiday down time to reflect on what we have done in the previous 12 months, and to plan a little bit for the coming year. We’re just about to undertake our formal 2012 planning now, so I thought I’d share some of our findings about 2011.

We do a range of different kinds of work, so it can sometimes be a challenge to explain, but maybe splitting the summary into two parts will help to reduce confusion! In this post, I will talk about the consulting and the market intelligence work we did last year (as they often go hand in hand). In a future post, I will talk about our media relations activity.

So, looking back on what we did for clients under the consulting umbrella, there was a lot of variety:

Project management. Diane managed data analysis and focus group projects for 2 game studios over a period of about 9 months.
Project evaluation. I worked with a client’s internal team to understand the objectives of their online game service, discussed different paths to achieve them and provided guidelines to approach a key partner for negotiations. This project was specifically aimed at reviewing and adjusting their PnL.
Coaching on Free-to-Play as a business model. This was ongoing for me throughout the year. I coached executives (and their staff) to help them understand the potential opportunities for their company and the consequences F2P would bring to their day-to-day tasks, and addressed their related concerns.
Consulting on business models. A wider mission, this was related to developing opportunities for independent game studios. We worked with indie clients to review the opportunities they had with their existing models (mostly pay-to-play), and helped them to explore the possibilities of new models. We made recommendations and conducted some risk assessment.
Consulting on operations for an online game. This was a popular request in 2011 as more and more local developers delved into online game development. We worked with several clients on this to fine tune their plans, identify gaps and assess their strategies in light of industry best practices. While we worked a lot with companies new to online games, we also provided advice to established actors in the market, particularly with regard to best practice.
Game evaluation and competitive analysis. This kind of work is part consulting and part market intelligence. Last year, we reviewed games for several clients and provided feedback on their potential in the European market based on the inherent qualities of each game as well as the current competitive landscape for each, by genre and type.
Masterclasses. We work with the videogame MBA of the International Institute of Management (IIM) in Paris, and presented one-day masterclasses with them in the areas of Marketing, Monetization and Community Management.
PR and Marketing Audit. A client came to us with an executed PR and marketing campaign that had produced disappointing results. We took a look at it, identified some weak spots and likely errors, and suggested changes to help them improve results in future campaigns.
Social game analysis. We were asked to review a social game that a client felt was not reaching its full potential. We analyzed the game and its KPI, and delivered a report outlining the priority improvements they could make to increase the game’s success.
Coaching on international business development. A self-publishing studio enlisted us to help work out its international business development strategy. I helped them to prioritise their efforts and identify their key targets, and provided advice on how they might approach specific partners.
PnL coaching session & review. Diane helped a client  to review their current budget, and coached them on how best to approach their online game project PnL. This is typical of our approach to consulting: we offer clients fishing lessons as well as providing tasty fish!

Consulting missions like these are often accompanied by market intelligence requests which allow us to provide evidence for our recommendations and provide clients with a global perspective. We’re currently trying to make our market intelligence work more accessible — this is an important objective for us for 2012. In the meantime, here’s a taster of  the 2011 reports we delivered to clients:

• State of the browser games market in Europe

• State of the kids and teens online game market in Europe

• State of online FPS games in Europe

• Kids and teens online games publishing best practices

• State of online strategy games in Europe

• State of client-based MMO games in France

And of course, there’s our report on European Office Locations for Online Games Companies. After being repeatedly asked for this kind of information last year, we finally saw the light and bundled it into a commercial report, now for sale on our website.

That’s about all for our consulting in 2011, and we’re excited about this year of interesting research and diverse missions — it’s already well underway! If you would like to know more about how we work, please feel free to get in touch.

KGC 2011 – The European market: past, present and future

Diane and I are in Korea this week, attending the KGC 2011 in Daegu at the moment and in Busan for the Gstar from Thursday.

This morning I gave a lecture entitled “Past, present and future of online games in Europe” and, as usual, I am sharing the slides over here and on slideshare:

Read more