Founder Spotlight: Gabby Dizon of Altitude Games

Altitude Games’ goal to raise the bar for Southeast Asian game production

by Glacer Barnett


Gabby Dizon is one of the co-founders of Altitude Games, a startup with a prominent goal of housing the best mobile games throughout Southeast Asia. Starting way back in March 2014, thanks to the support of expecting investors, Gabby teamed up with four of his current co-founders to create video games. Their first game, Run Run Super V, has already been downloaded over a million times. Overall, it has launched a total of five free-to-play mobile games with 35 people putting in a collective effort of creating the best products for the company.

Altitude Games gains revenue in two ways: via in-app purchases — in which people have the opportunity to make a purchase for virtual items found inside of the game — and via video advertisements. Although a lot of Southeast Asians play games, the fact that they don’t make it a habit to regularly use credit cards comes as a hindrance for revenue. To solve this problem, Altitude Games has partnered with other mobile companies, forming co-billing partnerships with them. Such methods provide consumers with the option to make use of their prepaid load to pay for the items inside the game. The company's business model primarily focuses on getting people to purchase the items and watch the ads inside the game.


Amending the difficulties by partnering with others

In the last few years, it has become easier to produce games, exemplified by the thousands released per week. However, with these numbers, the real difficulty lies in making a game noticeable. As the rate of production becomes faster, the marketing becomes harder. Altitude Games has resolved to partner with Globe, one of the most successful telecommunication companies in the Philippines, in order to make Filipinos more aware of their games through SMS messaging.  Before launching, a soft launch process is also commenced. A game is first made available to selected markets, in order to test for its marketability. Once it has been verified, the game is released worldwide. When everything has been concluded, all that needs to be done is to have the game delivered to regular players and to have it updated with new functions.


The builder and his effort in collecting talent to aim for a common cause

Gabby is the CEO of Altitude Games. Prior to taking the major step to starting the company, he established his rich background in the tech business back in 2003 by joining the first gaming company in the Philippines to develop a PC game. In 2005, yearning for creative control over his work, Gabby began his own company for outsourcing. Unfortunately, the company was short-lived, only lasting for four years. Gabby recalls how the painful experience of having his first establishment meet an unsuccessful end, but he talks of this past blunder as something that formally prepared him for his future endeavors. 

Indeed, starting a company and prolonging its success was no easy task, so he decided to gain some more experience by joining another gaming company. For a while, Gabby created casual games for PC and mobile devices. A few years after that, in 2014, he finally created Altitude Games. There are three things that Gabby has always been interested in: games, entrepreneurship, and Southeast Asia. The combination of these subjects of interest makes up Gabby’s life’s work.

As a student, he not only took a liking to games but also displayed an interest in the stories behind the steadfast entrepreneurs who created them. An entrepreneur at heart, Gabby aspires to raise the bar of content produced in Southeast Asia. While there are startup founders with the goal of selling off their startup once it becomes successful, Gabby plans on keeping Altitude Games as his last company. His ultimate wish is for it to continually grow and become properly groomed to stand amongst the big company giants of the gaming industry.


Perhaps in the future, once Altitude Games has come into an establishment, then Gabby would like to get involved in investing, and more importantly, mentoring. It has always been one of his desires to help the entrepreneurial youth get on the right track to success.


Identifying himself as a builder, Gabby enjoys making something of value out of nothing. Gathering some of the best talents in the country and having them come together to move towards a common cause is one of his greatest pleasures as an entrepreneur. Even when he indulges in the comfort of his home, Gabby lives with a “work-to-life integration” intact. There is no separation between his work life and personal life. He can answer emails at home or take a call at midnight while being there for his children.


Resilience is the quality of an entrepreneur

In order to become a prosperous entrepreneur, Gabby believes that one must have true resilience. Going through the entrepreneurial journey, it is inevitable that one will come to face with the good and the bad. Having his first company closed down, Gabby knows the feeling of failure all too well. Nevertheless, his current success in life largely has to do with his ability to bounce back from the loss. One must also be opportunistic. Anyone can make a great product, but if the opportunity to do so isn’t grabbed right away, somebody else may take it.

While it is true that people tend to think of entrepreneurs as giant risk-takers, Gabby perceives the best ones to be those who minimize risks. For example, it was risky for his team to release a game in the market, but because of his partnerships with other companies, the chances of financial loss for Altitude Games lessened with a gain of revenue. Additionally, expanding one’s boundaries and networks is important. In Gabby’s team, there are a lot of employees from other countries. “A lot of the people with us are otakus who like anime and manga, similar across the world, overcoming the cultural differences to bring us together,” Gabby said.

Talent does not have to be restricted in the Philippines. As long as you have the talent, no matter where you’re from, then Altitude Games would be more than happy to welcome you.