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What I’ve Learnt: Mike Rose, founder and director, No More Robots

Mike Rose

In 2017, Mike Rose launched No More Robots in Manchester.

The data-driven video game publisher has since gone on to publish games such as Descenders, Yes, Your Grace, Let’s Build A Zoo, Nowhere Prophet.

Before launching No More Robots, Rose was a game critic, writing about video games for the likes of Kotaku, Gamasutra and PocketGamer before discovering and publishing games for tinyBuild Games.

He shared all the lessons he has learnt…


 Which single daily habit or practice could you not do without?

I’ve become really reliant on coffee in the morning, difficult to really get cracking before I’ve downed a cup.

What’s been your luckiest break?

I’ve had so many, incredibly privileged lucky breaks in my career. I would say the most notable is how No More Robots investor Simon Carless (founder of GameDiscoverCo) helped my career not once, but twice. Back in 2009, he spotted my journalism work and asked me to write for his outlet, which led to some crazy opportunities for me. And then years later, as I was putting together the idea for No More Robots, he guessed what I was up to, jumped in my DMs, and offered me funding on the spot to make it happen. So I owe quite a lot to him!

What’s your best failure?

No More Robots has a game called Descenders, and it’s been pretty huge for us, with millions and millions of players. But when it first launched in 2018 as the first No More Robots game, looking back I don’t think I did a very fantastic job of pushing the game to the right markets and helping it find an audience.

So the initial launch was pretty flat and a little scary. However, once the game had launched and was being played by the public, it really forced me to face up to the middling job I had done, and I started going so much harder on it. I learnt a ton along that journey, and the numerous directions I took on the marketing and business side of the game have led to it being gigantic for us.

What is the best investment you’ve ever made, either financial or time?

It sounds really lame, but the best investment I’ve made is in the people around me. Rather than hiring people and them just “working for me”, I hire people with the idea that I’m going to help them get to the places they want to be.

I constantly talk with the No More Robots staff about where they’re heading, where they want to end up, and how we can help that happen. As a result, only a single person has left No More Robots in our entire six years — and that was someone who we helped to start their own company. It’s incredibly important to me that No More Robots is a vessel for people to find their place in life.

Which book would you recommend others to read and why?

My iPhone has destroyed my ability to read – I used to be a huge reader when I was younger, but I just don’t have the attention span anymore, which is a huge shame.

What one piece of advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

You’re going to fail loads, and that’s great!! As long as you keep trying stuff, and you don’t lose the passion for trying stuff, then eventually you’ll start finding all the answers or you’ll get lucky, and some of your ideas will begin to work. Getting to that point is one of the hardest bits!

Who or what has had the single biggest influence on your working life?

Accidentally answered this above with my luckiest break answer, but my old boss, now investor Simon Carless has definitely been the biggest influence for me. I can’t genuinely say I’d be in video games right now if it wasn’t for him.

Tell us something about you that would surprise people.

I’m a huge PlayStation fanboy! The video game stratosphere is definitely under the impression that my only love is Xbox, since No More Robots is such a huge proponent for Xbox Game Pass. But I’ve always loved PlayStation, and spend a huge amount of time on my PlayStation 5. I’m even wearing PlayStation pyjamas right now — the joys of working from home!

How will the COVID crisis change work for the better?

COVID definitely changed the landscape of the video game industry. Most studios worked from an office prior to COVID, and now a huge number are entirely working from home. It’s fantastic for so many reasons – mental health is better, people are not having to commute so much, you end up with more money and less stress. It’s a fantastic situation out of a horrible time.

What does success look like to you?

Success in video games is easy to describe for me: Did your video game release allow you to keep making video games? Then you’ve had success. Too many people think that video game success is millions of players, and building a team of hundreds of people, but it’s just not true. I know solo developers who sold 10,000 copies of their latest game and now have their bills, mortgage and day-to-day paid for each month from that success, meaning they can just build a new game with way less stress. Who wouldn’t say that was success?

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