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Skrivet av Per Stolt  • 30 mars, 2024 17:04


Interview: Ace St. Germain VD Beyond Frames

Ace St. Germain (CEO) Beyond Frames

This is an interview in a paid collaboration.


Despite a tough stock market for gaming stocks, Beyond Frames (VR, Virtual Reality) has emerged with an acceleration in their income. Instead of solely focusing on developing their own games, Beyond Frames is also assisting other gaming companies in reaching the market with their games as a publisher. This strategy has decreased Beyond Frames’ overall risk and catapulted their income, now enabling them to release multiple games in a year. In this interview, Beyond Frames CEO Ace St. Germain will explain this strategy in detail and provide an update on the current status of the company and its future direction!



1: Refresh our readers’ memory – what kind of company is Beyond Frames?

Ace St. Germain (CEO) Beyond Frames: Beyond Frames is a video game publisher and studio group primarily focused on the development of immersive interactive entertainment. We’re best known today for developing games for XR and special computing platforms like Meta’s Quest headsets, the Apple Vision Pro, and more.

For those unfamiliar with the “XR” term, it’s an umbrella term that covers virtual reality, mixed reality, and augmented reality.

We have ownership in 3 studios, Cortopia Studios at 100%, Moon Mode at 55%, and Odd Raven at 38%. We are also a games publisher, meaning we fund, market, and distribute games for our internal studios as well as external partner studios.

We’ve begun laying the foundation for adding non-XR PC and console games to our portfolio as well, but it is early days for those efforts.


2: What makes Beyond Frames “better” than your competition?

Ace St. Germain (CEO) Beyond Frames: As a business, we have a strong focus on portfolio diversification and using data to make informed decisions about what kind of games we invest in. We also spread out the risk of our portfolio through selling percentage points of a game’s revenue share to partners.

Many of our competitors are dependent on launching a limited amount of games, sometimes only 1 every several years, entirely funded by themselves. This high-risk/high-reward strategy pays incredible dividends if a game sells well, but since the games market is a hits-driven market, we’ve found our strategy a more measured approach toward year-over-year growth.

Since implementing this strategy, we’ve more than quadrupled our revenues, vastly improved our bottom-line performance, and improved our position compared to our competitors as a leading provider for XR games for players and platform owners like Meta, Sony, and Bytedance.


3: Explain what a “Publishing Deal” means compared to develop a VR-game yourself!

Ace St. Germain (CEO) Beyond Frames: Developing a game internally means building a game using our internal studios. Typically, these productions are co-funded through partnerships with headset providers or external publishers.

A publishing deal with an external studio means using our resources to fund, produce, market, and distribute a game for that external studio.

In exchange, we take a revenue share on all sales of their game. Since the studios are external, our only limitation to scale is cash, so it allows us to put a lot of games in market in a short period of time.


4: How do the risks and opportunities for revenue and costs differ between these two branches?

Ace St. Germain (CEO) Beyond Frames: When developing a game ourselves, we typically receive much higher margins and ownership of the intellectual property we create. Developing in-house also builds a growing knowledge-base and proprietary tech stack that allows us to build better and faster with every new project.

We also have reduced risk of game quality issues and much more control over the creative direction of our games since we’re doing everything in-house. One added risk is the long time-to-market since it takes around 18 to 30 months to develop each game.

The market can shift a lot in that time but pays off well when you manage to develop a hit game.

When publishing a game for an external studio, we receive less margin on sales since we invest less. When it comes to development risk, it’s more about guiding the studio to making the best decisions possible for the games they’re making. With external publishing, hit games still make great returns, and any games that underperform lead to limited losses on our end.


5: Can you walk us through the list of all the VR-games you published and developed in-house! Including what’s in the pipeline!

Ace St. Germain (CEO) Beyond Frames: That’s a decent-sized list now! Between 2016 and 2022, Beyond Frames launched 1 game per year for a total of 5 games. After adjustments to our operations, we launched 5 games in 2023 alone.

For our in-house line-up, Cortopia Studios’ first game was Wands, a player versus player competitive magic shooter where two opponents attempted to eliminate each other using magic spells. Down the Rabbit Hole was their second game and is a storybook puzzle adventure inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Wands Alliances, Cortopia’s third game, is the spiritual sequel to Wands, where we pumped up the magic-based multiplayer action to 3 players versus 3 players.

Moon Mode launched a game called Spacefolk City which is a whimsical city builder set in space where the player develops a vertical city for a community of food-themed residents.

Odd Raven launched Carly and the Reaperman which is a 1 to 2-player co-operative platformer (like Super Mario) where one player plays as Carly who jumps across obstacles and the other player takes on the role of the Grim Reaper who can use their giant hands as platforms for Carly.

Our publishing lineup in 2023 began with Silhouette, a puzzle game controlled entirely by casting shadows on walls with your hands. The next was Mixture, an action-adventure title with unique VR controls that allowed the player to control two characters at once. ARK and ADE was the third in our publishing lineup, which is an arcade shooter styled like a retro 80’s arcade machine with lots of fun references to 80’s pop culture.

The fourth game in our 2023 publishing line up was Ghosts of Tabor which is probably what we’re best known for now. Ghosts of Tabor went on to be 2023’s Game of the Year at the VR Awards and one of the best-selling titles of the year. It is an extraction shooter, which means multiple players load into a map with weapons and other gear and attempt to find and escape with game rewards before other players eliminate them. We finished 2023 by publishing Outta Hand, which is a story-driven platformer that uses unique VR movement mechanics and is the second best-selling game in our publishing portfolio.


Video ovan: Winner of the VR Game of The Year at the VR Award – Ghost of Tabor
Källa: Youtube
Developer: Combat Waffle Studios
Publisher: Beyond Frames
Länk:  https://youtu.be/7WzDWvDg0JI


For the games currently in pipeline, we have 3 games in production at Cortopia, 1 game in production at Odd Raven, and 3 external publishing titles.

For Cortopia, the first game in their upcoming release slate is an owned IP, which was co-funded with 4.6 MSEK by an outside partner. Their second upcoming game is a sequel to one of the best-selling VR games of all time, which was fully funded by a partner publisher with 28 MSEK.

The third in their upcoming lineup is a VR title based on one of the highest-grossing action entertainment franchises in the world, which is currently co-funded with 25.6 MSEK from an external party. While we’re not ready to disclose more information, we’re very excited about all 3.

Odd Raven is currently working on a non-VR title with an undisclosed publisher.


For upcoming publishing titles with external studios, the first in our lineup is Toy Monsters, which is a mixed reality tower defense game reminiscent of Electronic Arts’ Plants vs. Zombies game. The other two titles are being developed by Combat Waffle, the studio behind our hit game Ghosts of Tabor. GRIM is a multiplayer survival crafting game similar to RUST, but in VR. Silent North is a VR multiplayer survival horror game similar to Day Z.

All-in, we have 7 games releasing over the next 3 years already in production and we expect to add more to our lineup in the near future.

Video ovan: Toy Monster (Publisher Beyond Frames)
Källa: Youtube


6: Tell us a bit about yourself – who is Ace St. Germain?

Ace St. Germain (CEO) Beyond Frames: I’m originally from San Francisco, California in the United States. Working in games was a dream of mine from the age of 3, so much so that I have up a well-paying job after university to take a minimum-wage job opportunity as a game tester at PlayStation.

I was so broke that I had to buy all my food on credit cards, which I wasn’t able to pay off for years! Looking back, that decision wasn’t very financially responsible, but ultimately led to good things.

My experience landed me a job in advertising sales with Future US, the American subsidiary of Future PLC, a UK-based leading media company in games best known for PC Gamer, Games Radar, and more. I eventually made my way up to being the US-side Publishing Director for Future’s game portfolio.


Through the work, I had an opportunity to partner with hundreds of game studios and publishers over that time, which is still a network I tap into today.

I used that network to strike it out on my own and ran a white-label consulting company that did behind-the-scenes marketing executions for major video game companies around the world. At one point, I got the idea to help games companies exploit their non-video game rights to make brand extensions like comics, television, film, and toys.

Those conversations led me to an introduction to Ellation, a Chernin Entertainment and Warner/AT&T joint venture that also owned the anime streaming service, Crunchyroll. We had a similar interest in tapping into games for their greater intellectual property value, so I dropped everything and joined Ellation to help them build a new subscription video service for “nerds” and stepped into Hollywood for a couple years.


That new network opened up a lot of doors to IP, content licensing, and relationships with agencies, producers, directors, celebrities, and content creators.

Fast-forward, my wife found an opportunity that moved us to Stockholm, Sweden. Despite my distance from San Francisco, my network was an attractive value for the Amazon-owned streaming platform, Twitch, who were looking to expand their non-gaming vertical at the time. I joined them for a couple years as the Head of Content Programming, splitting by time between San Francisco and Stockholm.

Eventually, I realized I needed to live my life fully in Stockholm instead of half in the US and half in Sweden. After a stint consulting, I received a fateful call from Beyond Frames, and here we are. 20 years later and the games industry is still as thrilling for me as it was when I was 3!


7: Tell us more about your latest VR-game agreement (March 1) with a funding deal of 2.5 million USD!

Ace St. Germain (CEO) Beyond Frames: I can’t say much about the game itself, unfortunately. What I can say is that the undisclosed title is tied to a multi-billion US dollar entertainment franchise. Our goal was to secure the rights to the game which we were certain would secure funding for the development.

The $2.5 MUSD (approx. 25.6 MSEK) covers a large portion of the total development costs. In exchange, the funding partner will receive a revenue share against the game once the game goes live. The $2.5 MUSD will be paid out in tranches based on milestone deliverables between 2024 and 2026. For some clarity, the payments for this will ramp up in 2025 compared to 2024.

For the record, I know some investors are a little frustrated about our lack of information behind deals like this. To those people, I hear you, but our commitment to discretion is key to our partner’s trust, and that trust is why they’ve committed intellectual property and cash to our studio to make these games happen. We will announce more as soon as we’re able to.


8: What’s the status regarding VR equipment, which top tech companies offer this, and what kind of implication does their competition have on the game-developers?

Ace St. Germain (CEO) Beyond Frames: Meta, Apple, Sony, Valve, HTC, and Bytedance are the biggest players in the industry. Each one is trying to win over players to be the leading headset.

This competition has been great for developers since each tech company understands that content drives headset adoption, so they’ve been pouring hundreds of millions of USD to generate more games for the space.

Whether it’s funding for an exclusive game or porting, these content dollars help studios build and grow.

Video ovan: Example of Meta (fd Facebook), Virtual reality head-set Quest 3.
The games in this video don’t necessary have to do anything with Beyond Frames.
This is just a video showing what VR and Metas head-set are about.


9: What is the current view of the market growth on VR-games?

Ace St. Germain (CEO) Beyond Frames: VR has been steadily growing over the last few decades, but more explosively in recent years. Even discounting the astronomical growth during peak-COVID lockdowns, growth of VR since 2019 has been steadily moving upward.

Related, despite experiencing post-COVID economics which have devastated many areas of the consumer electronics industry, Meta achieved over $1 billion USD in VR-related revenues in Q4 for the first time since they entered the space.

A lot of these growth metrics are driven by improvements in technology. Improved tech has led to smaller, cheaper, yet more powerful devices that are overall more consumer friendly. We see that as these improvements are made, adoption increases.

We know the technology will continue to improve and think it’s reasonable to believe that the trend line of adoption will improve alongside it.


10: Which game is your best-seller right now, and why!

Ace St. Germain (CEO) Beyond Frames: Ghosts of Tabor is our best-seller and a best-seller for the industry overall. The genre for the game is called an “extraction shooter”, which means players load into the game and attempt to find in-game gear and rewards and then extract at a designated point before other players eliminate them.

There are many potential reasons for its success, but understanding why a game is a hit or not is more of an alchemy than it is a science. I can share 3 values that we believe are major contributors:

  1. The social aspect: The game is designed for tense social exchanges. Each opposing player is a potential friend or foe. These encounters make for incredibly tense moments that rely less on gun mechanics and more on social engineering. This is both fun to play and to watch.
  2. The risk vs. reward: In-game gear and rewards are gathered from crates and other containers around large maps. The higher-value containers are located in more dangerous locations. The higher the risk a player takes, the more tense it becomes, making the game incredibly dramatic in moments, which is again fun to play and watch.
  3. The community: Last, but not least, the power of the community and Combat Waffle’s dedication toward fostering this community has amplified the game’s most compelling values. Their 90,000+ Discord channel has an abundance of YouTubers, Twitch streamers, Reddit users, and others who happily promote the game through content development and through their private networks. The feeling of missing out and the continued content creation has built a “must-have” brand around the title.

There are plenty of other reasons, but these were a few of our key takeaways. Combat Waffle Studios, led by their founder, Scott Albright, deserve all the credit for the development of Ghosts of Tabor and its community. This was exactly the kind of game and team we wanted to find and look forward to building more of our business together.


11: Do you have any “reviews statistics” or “similar” that you can tell us about!

Ace St. Germain (CEO) Beyond Frames: For those interested, there is a way to look at the total amount of reviews and extrapolate potential sales of a game. The rule is that reviews represent around 1%-3% of all sales. Said another way, for every 100 sales, 1 to 3 people leave a review. This holds generally true for games reviewed on Steam and on the Meta Quest store.


12: Do you see any need for financing in the near future?

Ace St. Germain (CEO) Beyond Frames: There’s no explicit need, but there are a lot of compelling publishing and M&A opportunities in the market right now. If there’s a deal to be made to accelerate our cash flow generation, it’s something we would consider for the benefit of our growth and profitability.


13: What are Beyond Frames’ main challenges in the next 12-18 months, and what’s the plan to address them?

Ace St. Germain (CEO) Beyond Frames: Our greatest challenges are making and finding great games, and doing so in a way that improves our bottom-line. While “great” is subjective, when it comes to internal development, we’ve tried to focus our upcoming slate on games with built-in audiences.

This allows us to address very specific player needs and reduces the guessing game of figuring out if there’s an audience for what we’re making. On the efficiency of these titles, we’ve gone through great lengths to ensure each of our internal productions is co-funded by an external party, which brings down our overall risk substantially.

For external studio publishing, we’re constantly refining our framework for how we select games and ways to spread the risk.

This means transferring some of the risks that would typically be placed on us as a publisher and spreading those risks to the studio we’re working with, headset partners, and other parties. Part of our analysis when taking on a game is whether or not we believe we can successfully transfer those risks based on the studio’s competencies, partner demand, player demands, and more.


14: Where do you see Beyond Frames in 3 years – and why should one invest in Beyond Frames?

Ace St. Germain (CEO) Beyond Frames: We officially don’t provide forecasts, so my comments here are more about our goals:

If I were to look into a crystal ball, I see us being the home of some of the biggest titles in XR with a compelling lineup in the non-XR PC and console market as well. We’ll be generating positive cash with our catalog and continuing to re-invest in new titles. Near the end of that 3rd year, my goal would be to move into brand extension of our strongest intellectual properties to build a greater ecosystem of content and other products for fans to immerse themselves in, which comes along with new revenue and business lines to continue diversifying our business.

As for a reason to invest, we believe that if you want to be part of one of the greatest providers of immersive content in the world, then Beyond Frames is where you want to be. Since changing our management and strategy, we’ve had an incredible track record of converting investment into growth and profitability.

Between 2016 to 2021, Beyond Frames went from an annual average of 1 game released per year and 20-25 MSEK topline. The introduction of a new management team was completed at the beginning of 2022, we raised a 42 MSEK round during Q2 of 2022 and a new strategy was implemented by Q4 2022. From that strategy we ended 2023 with over 130 MSEK topline and positive EBITDA with 7 games in pipeline, and nearly 60 MSEK in production funding.

Whether you’re a legacy investor in Beyond or a new investor, we have a lot going on to be excited about.

Diagram ovan: Beyond Frames intäkter de senaste 8 åren (diagram källa: Börsdata)
Länk till Beyond Frames Q4 2023.


15: Can you mention anything about the size of in-app purchases (DLC)? Do you see any growth in this?

Ace St. Germain (CEO) Beyond Frames: In-app purchases have become a fast-growing segment of the VR market. Not many games have succeeded with it, but those that have seem to be experiencing tremendous upside. Speaking specifically about our own games, Ghosts of Tabor’s attach rates, which is the KPI used to measure how many DLC units are sold compared to the base game, are in-line with some of the most successful live-service games in the PC market.

As adoption for VR increases, we see games-as-a-service becoming a more viable model for others. We’re happy to be among the few for whom it’s already working.



Dagens Börs tackar Ace St. Germain (CEO) Beyond Frames för en mycket intressant intervju och vi önskar honom och Beyond Frames all lycka till i framtiden!


Diagram ovan: Beyond Frames dagsdiagram (diagram källa: infront)

Beyond Frames satte ett nytt All Time High under 2021 på 44,00 kr, det året uppgick intäkterna till 23,7 MSEK.
Senaste året 2023 presenterade Beyond Frames 137 MSEK i intäkter.