Mobile video games are all the rage in terms of number of players and earnings, which are quantified by $203 billion globally during 2022, according to the gaming market consultancy Newzoo. In this context, a developer from General Rodríguez set up a micro company to compete in the market and managed to captivate a Beijing giant with his titles.
“When I was a boy I used to play ball and ride my bike around the neighborhood. Now kids are born with a different head: my two-year-old niece already plays with her cell phone,” says Carlos Sánchez, a video game programmer and one of the winners of the latest edition of Idea tu Videojuego (ITV)the City Government program to find new talent in the world of gaming.
That childhood in General Rodríguez, where he lived all his life, changed at the age of 8 when his parents gave him a console Family Game -Nintendo’s NES clone- and met a game that marked generations: mario bros.
Almost 40% of the world’s population plays video games, which represents about 3.1 billion people. Photo Juano Tesone
Carlos immersed himself fully in that lively world never to leave it again, and now, at 36, he already has his own business, always thinking about continuing to train and grow, and with such determination that his work caught the attention of a company China to be partners in a video game of their creation.
It was at the age of 20 when he decided to start learning programming. At first it was the Punto Net language: no games. He took a freelance course at Masters Motors where he was taught how to design his own game. “I liked it there. I want to continue working on this”, he thought.
The next step was to found his business. J.A.K Games It bears the initials of the three members of the Sánchez family: “J” for Javier (his name is Carlos Javier), “A” for Ailín (“my baby”) and “K” for Karina (“my lady”). “It had to be something easy and short. Forceful and with a good logo”, she explains.
Soon Carlos began uploading his games to the Google Play store and contacting organizations and companies in the sector. In 2020 he became a sole member of ADVA (Association of Argentine Video Game Developers) and during 2021 published 3 video games that already add more than a thousand downloads.
Carlos Sánchez, winner of Idea tu Videojuego (ITV)
Kospi, an adventure title for Android phones and tablets. Photo: Google Play.
In September and October, recommended by ADVA, Carlos participated in the ITV Game Jam (Ideá Tu Video) organized by the General Directorate of Youth Policies, dependent on the Buenos Aires Ministry of Economic Development and Production.
Carlos sought to continue training in that world that he was already passionate about. As part of the program he had to form a team to develop a game. The result was Kospi, one of the three winning projects. It was one of the best in terms of graphics and gameplay.
“I always worked alone. And in the Game Jam I found myself with the challenge of forming a team where all the members would contribute their knowledge to the project. Learning to work as a team was a great lesson that I learned in that program”, he said.
This is how Nico Mirabella (artist) and Jean Villegas (musician) joined the JAK Games staff. And Alejandro Garro (programmer) and Agustín (artist) and Cristian “Cyan” (musician) form a secondary support group and permanent consultation.
Parallel to Game Jam ITV, Carlos was contacted by the Chinese mobile video game distributor yodo1 Games who had been particularly interested in one of his games: The Bottle challenge. The title for Android phones and tablets consists of stacking bottles on tables and books and not falling off the cliff.
Foxy Endless Runner, one of the games developed by the small studio of Carlos Sánchez. Photo: Google Play.
“When the communication ended you don’t know how I cried. I could not speak of the emotion to tell my family what had happened, “he explained to Clarín.
The agreement meant for him a quantum leap in money that he receives for each download of the video game: “It’s worth nothing here. There or in Europe, or anywhere in the world where someone downloads the game, it costs double or more”.
Rowing against the current is a constant in Carlos’ life. Since he still cannot live and support his family with his developments, works every day in an SME that designs office furniture. “I have a motor disability and it is really hard for me to go to work every day. I dream that one day I can dedicate myself exclusively to what I like and am passionate about”, she confesses.
And he continues: “If you ask me, I don’t know anything about Netflix. I come home and when I’m not with my wife and my daughter I start programming and studying. I don’t stay still”.
In that permanent training that you mention, it is necessary to include a pitch Clinic, in which he learned how to present a project to a potential investor in 15 minutes. And the scholarship that she is managing to obtain the title of University Expert in Video Game Programming of the UTN. “I need a college endorsement. The first thing they ask you when you are going to present a project is what university studies do you have? ”, She reasons.
She also finds time to spend with her 10-year-old daughter Ailín, who has autism. “She loves to draw and you don’t know how quickly she learns”, she gets excited. In addition, ADVA provided her with an accountant to administratively put her enterprise in order and that is how JAK Games is already registered with the AFIP as a SME.
Carlos is currently developing a Voxer DEA game that has the particularity that the protagonist is a girl. “We wanted to do something different, something with a gender perspective,” she describes. He points out that his projects are quick resolution, that a user can play it by lining up to pay something or traveling by bus.
For now, its developments are limited to cell phones. Jumping to PC or to the world of consoles, such as PlayStation, Nintendo or Xbox, would imply having more resources and more professionals that you currently do not have.
However, his dream is oriented in work for children. He believes that the future of his activity lies in marketing through video games. And he sees great opportunity in the growing world of virtual reality.