I came into the office as usual and endured the silent treatment for a short time before Michael asked me to have a talk. When we stepped outside he told me that things weren’t working out, that I had tried to “kill the company by turning the team against him by encouraging them to file wage claims”, and that I took credit for work I didn’t do. I’m sure you can guess whose “work” I supposedly took credit for. I calmly told Michael that firing me for the wage claims was considered retaliation and illegal in the state of California and if he wanted to fire me for cause (aka “performance reasons”) he had the right to do so, but I had evidence to prove otherwise and he still legally owed me my wages, bonus and severance. Earlier in the week I had taken screenshots of our Trello task board (Jessica was changing it around to make it look like I did nothing), I forwarded myself each work communication email, each passive aggressive comment Jessica would mistakenly post through our company’s Facebook Page and delete later (I received notifications as a page admin), every instance Michael promised payments, and of course most importantly the forged wire transfers. If there’s anything you take away from my story I hope it is this: always CYA. I packed my laptop and caught Charlie on the way out. He was more professional and cordial. We actually shook hands, thanked each other for the opportunity, and he promised to let me know when he could pay me and everyone else. I walked away with a mixed feeling of relief and disappointment before mailing off my retaliation complaint to the state.
So the mobile Gold rush is over , but I do think that for a team with “grit”, experience and decent recurring revenues from existing games this a great time to be developing mobile games. The mobile games market is expected to continue to grow by 15% per year for the foreseeable future. The number of mobile games developers is going to decrease as many will close or move on, there is going to be more consolidation in the sector and VC’s have now moved to the next trends / Gold Rush of virtual reality, augmented reality and eSports. This, added to the growing influence of YouTubers means I think there will be more space on the acquisition side. Developers will have to fund themselves from existing game profits rather than VC money and there will be less but higher quality game releases. This will be good for players and for discovery as well. The fact that the gold rush is over only means that it will be harder for newcomers or amateurs to strike gold but I do think it will actually open a window of opportunity for experienced self funded mid size developers that have the grit to push on.