As part of our ‘2021 in Video Games’ interview series, we chat with video game professionals about what 2021 means to them and the industry. In this article, we catch up with Tim Repa-Davies, a gaming attorney at the media and tech law firm. Sheridans.
Tim’s primary focus is to help independent game developers resolve the various business and legal issues involved in running a start-up game business, as well as providing expert media finance advice regarding fundraising. game development; and video game tax credits.
Tim Repa Davies
Gambling Lawyer, Sheridans
How did 2021 treat you and Sheridans?
Despite the obvious challenges that arose in 2021, for Sheridans, 2021 has seen our Games team grow stronger. The core team of Alex Chapman, Alex Tutty and I remain and we have hired some very good lawyers to build on our expertise and ensure we continue to provide the gold standard in legal advice to our clients across the world. video game industry around the world. We have also opened a new office in Berlin which has been fantastic.
Not only that, but we continue to be ranked by legal publications like Chambers & Partners and The Legal 500 as one of the best law firms in the world supporting developers, publishers and other game businesses. We have also been recognized as “Best Law Firm in the Games Industry”At the Pocket Gamer’s Mobile Games Awards, which was cool 🙂
From a personal and professional perspective it was also wonderful to see the in-person events making a comeback with the Develop conference in Brighton, UK and Konsoll Connect in Bergen, Norway, two highlights for me this year. I have also been fortunate enough to provide volunteer support to some very worthy causes that work to make the gaming industry a better place, including Safe ohyou are beautiful World, Limthis To break, and Gamesaid.
From a personal perspective, I was promoted to Partner in June 2021 and was delighted to speak at my very first GDC (albeit online) over the summer as well. I also married my longtime partner (having delayed our marriage from 2020 due to covid), and was fortunate enough to buy a house, so 2021 has seen many great life events take place. produce a few months apart!
What evolution or trend marked you in 2021?
This year, I have made no secret of what I think about the state of most of the publishing agreements that are used by publishers, and what terms and conditions they contain are objectively unfair (see my series of “Contract Killers” articles available on my LinkedIn and Blog). It seems that there are more and more publishers every day, and more complaints from developers about operating conditions in the contracts that these publishers use (a case of this type covered in Game World Observer here).
I’m not against more publishers being active in the industry, and the increased influx of cash is (hopefully) good for developers. However, as a developer-focused lawyer who also acts for independent publishers, I would like to see more publishers follow the lead of Raw Fury and White Thorn Games in making their contracts available to the public. None of these contracts are perfect, but they give developers an idea of what to expect, and it keeps that knowledge from being hidden behind a locked door.
I hope my articles on ‘contract killers’ and subsequent discussions at GDC will also be helpful for developers to highlight what they should be looking for in their publishing deal and have the confidence to. request changes if they deem them fair and reasonable.
What do you expect from the gaming industry in 2022?
I expect 2022 to continue to bring more investment into the games industry, and M&A activity to continue as investors put money into the industry (although maybe at a slightly slower pace than we saw in 2021). Mobile / free-to-play regulations are likely to make things more difficult for mobile developers and publishers as UA costs continue to rise. Blockchain technology and NFTs, along with the discussion about their applicability and suitability for games, are unlikely to go away anytime soon!
What third-party titles were you personally excited about as a player?
I am a huge Arkane Studios fan, and Death loop did not disappoint! Hitman III Also blew me away. The level design is second to none, and I had so much fun replaying them over and over again (especially on Dartmoor!).
At the sea by Inkle Studios really surprised me (in a good way), and I also really enjoyed to the east (Chucklefish / Pixpil), Mind scanners (Brave at Night / The OuterZone) and Last stop (Annapurna / State variable).