Rachael Simpson-Jones speaks to Big Potato to find out what’s next for the fast-growing company and how it continues to chip away at the games market.
The indie games company Big Potato has earned a reputation for developing decidedly different, family-friendly party games that are quick to learn and easy to play. Becky McKinlay, head of UK & EU marketing, plus some of the other team members, invited Toy World to the company’s Shoreditch HQ to find out more.
A decade after Big Potato co-founders Ben Drummond, Dean Tempest and Tris Williams decided to put their respective advertising backgrounds to use designing games, a lot has changed. The trio enjoyed early success with Linkee and used the learnings to launch Big Potato in 2014.
2016 saw Becky’s appointment and Big Potato’s arrival at the US retailer Target, as well as the launch of Obama Llama, a release which marked a point in time for the company: it was – and remains – a massive hit. The following year, The Chameleon launched, another of Big Potato’s biggest sellers to date.
Present throughout all Big Potato’s formative years has been James Vaughan, the company’s first ever employee. Now head of Game Development, James’ latest role marks a significant shift in how the company approaches things. The inventor community has always been an important source of games ideas; moving forward, this will be balanced with in-house invention, and Ed Naujokas has been welcomed into the game development team as Big Potato’s first ever full-time inventor.
During the pandemic, Big Potato also branched out into puzzles (with a gameplay element), and the third title is launching this year. The party game specialist also began to think more about single-player games such as What Next?
“The Incubator is a new project for Big Potato this year — it’s a distribution platform for inventors and publishers,” Becky tells us. “The games will start out on Amazon, and then have the potential to move into the Big Potato catalogue after the first year.”
Other new initiatives include the Big Potato Academy, a six month internship programme which aims to give a leg-up to creative individuals who wouldn’t necessarily think of working in the board game industry.
Becky adds: “Hopefully, everything we’re doing will give people more reasons to love us as both a retail partner and games developer. We’re small but we’re growing – and most importantly, we’ve got a Big (Potato) heart.”
For more on the latest developments at the company, how the team ensures excellent retail support, a concerted push with ESG responsibilities and a focus on company culture, read the full interview, which appeared in the September Toy World Games & Puzzles Supplement, here.