Swedish publisher Kinda Brave, is opening its doors today for the first time as a gaming publisher focused on sustainability. The company will be taking a long-term approach to publishing by working with small studios in a group dynamic where resources and experience are shared – and collaboration encouraged. Kinda Brave, which has already signed three development studios, wants to champion a so-called Hybrid Indie model of a publisher not just focused on commercial aspects, but on the everyday support and growth of studios and the people therein, allowing each studio to pour all time and energy into development of quality indie titles. With its ‘Sustainable Gaming initiative’ as a compass, the group has thus far seen investments of $6.3 million USD (SEK 60 million), and is now set to establish itself internationally, on the lookout for more studios and developers wanting to join in.
Björn Rudolfsson, CEO and co-founder of Kinda Brave said: “Game development is oftentimes characterized by passion. But all too often, this is used as an excuse for unhealthy working conditions and short-term priorities. Kinda Brave wants to change this by investing long-term in smaller, creative and independent teams, believing that the path to the best games is one of good people being given good continuous support. With more room to breathe and by helping each other out, you suddenly find yourself in a position where you can start looking at how you can impact others positively as well, beyond just development and publishing.”
About Kinda Brave
Kinda Brave opens its doors today with three signed studios under its belt, and already working on exciting new development projects. Headed by co-founders CEO Björn Rudolfsson and board chairman Kristofer Westergren, the publisher and its group of studios has grown to over 35 employees and has a management team with impressive credentials that includes previous roles at Mojang, EA, Raw Fury, Zordix and PlayStation. Kinda Brave has dropped traditional publishing deals in favor of acquiring or founding new studios together with skilled developers, making them members of a group invested in an inclusive work environment and fair conditions. Besides financial backing, sales and marketing services, all studios enjoy support from shared resources in the publisher, ranging from HR, recruitment and legal services to a fulltime sustainability manager – priorities that usually only a much larger outfit could justify. By pooling resources together, each studio can stay small and tight-knit, exchanging know-how and inspiration to the benefit of all.
Kinda Brave’s core values and mission; People, Players and Planet:
- PEOPLE: While People, Players and Planet are all equally important, it all starts with People. Kinda Brave has set a focus on creating healthy and happy places of work, built on foundations of equality and inclusivity. In a collaboration with RFSL, the The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Rights, Kinda Brave is set to become the world’s first LGBTQI certified gaming company. The group has also announced its sponsorship of DONNA, a local Swedish organization dedicated to getting more women and non-binary people involved in the games industry, in part by encouraging increased enrollment in game development education.
- PLAYERS: In the same vein of inclusivity and respect, and with more efforts to be unveiled leading up to its first releases, Kinda Brave has set out to become a trusted publisher in the community of players/gamers with disabilities, dedicating additional resources and development time to set a minimum standard of accessibility features for all its indie titles. Each studio will house an Accessibility Champion, with Kinda Brave financing their training and certification by the AbleGamers charity organization.
- PLANET: Through mindful choices of suppliers and manufacturers where possible, reuse of old electronics and furniture and travel kept at minimum, the whole group kept 2021’s total emissions to 90 tons of CO2, achieving climate neutrality through Gold Standard compensation. To reduce emissions further, the group is exploring ways to power and heat its offices with renewable energy and technology for eco-friendly game settings, targeted at lowering overall power consumption of Players.
In tandem with the launch of the publisher itself, Kinda Brave is spearheading an initiative called Sustainable Gaming (sustainablegaming.com) with the ambition to inspire and engage more players and developers in sustainability issues. The site will be used as a platform to showcase the group’s sustainability work – both achievements and shortcomings. Over time, Kinda Brave hopes to grow the site with educational material and resources for sharing in the indie development community.
The Kinda Brave board also includes Åsa Bredin, Head of Engineering at Mojang, Evelina Anttila, partner at sustainability-focused venture capitalist investors Wellstreet and Wilhelm Pettersson, CEO and owner of Skabholmen Invest. The focus for the group is on continued expansion with another 2-3 studios a year.
Rudolfsson continued: “We’re made up of players and veterans from the games industry who’ve all seen up close how taxing game development can be on people, particularly in the indie scene. There can be a lot of unrealistic expectations on the teams – not just from financiers, but even from the developers themselves. It’s often expected of them to handle everything between heaven and earth alone. We want to take some of that pressure off, providing safe environments for game developers to enjoy creative freedom. And we want to engage in the development of those environments long-term. We got a lot of work ahead of ourselves but sustainability remains our focus from day one.”