The publisher isn't after the big guys like EA or Activison, and so have focused instead on niche markets like space 4X, which has proven the "most important for us."
While the bigger houses might scoff at a million sales as being a so-so result, Iceberg can enjoy them for the significant successes they are, and so can the devs.
We had a chat with Iceberg's CEO Erik Schreuder, and asked why they decided space 4X is the business to be in.
"We came up with a strategy - We’re a medium sized publisher, we can only do so much, we’re not going to make the next Call of Duty or anything. We decided we’d try and stay smaller, stay niche instead of being all “me too” in the more competitive genres," Erik told us in .
"There are bigger publishers out there who have killed licenses and franchises that sold 1 million copies, because it wasn’t enough. Obviously for a mid-range publisher that is a great number to achieve. And I think 4X CAN achieve numbers like that." Iceberg publishes games they'd like to play themselves.
"After we got our first 4X with Iceberg – Armada 2526, then we did Star Ruler, and then we got Endless Space and Stardrive, which were two of the most hyped 4X games going into 2012," Erik continued. "That really got us involved in 4X, and then people started to look at us as the ‘champion’ of the 4X genre, and since then we’ve also picked up Horizon and Star Lords. We’ve gotten more and more entangled with the 4X genre."
"There are still some other really good 4X games not tied to Iceberg, like Sins of a Solar Empire and GalCiv, it’s not like we do ALL the 4X games. But I’d say about half of all the 4X games at the moment are coming from us. I don’t know if that makes us the ‘champions’, it’s not like we had a strategy where we wanted to become the champions of 4x, it just sort of happened to be a genre that worked for us, and it’s a genre we personally like."
Space 4X is no easy genre to break into for studios - each IP must have its own siren call.
"It’s important for developers to bring something different to the table. Most 4X gamers I think are looking for the classic style, 8 races, and one planet start. But they’re also looking for a look of lore, story and background. Basically they want a living universe that would play out in the movies or something like that," explained Erik. "They want a sandbox GTA style 4X game based on strategy. Not a space SIM, like X:Rebirth or our own Starpoint Gemini 2."
"...In the last two years, out of all the genres we focus on, this has been the most important for us. I can see why people would say we’ve played a role in being the advocates of 4X. We want to be in the mix, we don’t want to be all powerful."
Check out our full interview,, with Iceberg Interactive's Erik Schreuder for more on space 4X.
Iceberg has published Armada 2526, Endless Space, Gemini Wars, Star Ruler and StarDrive.
Iceberg happy to 'be in the mix' with space 4X, "don't want to be all powerful"
20 January 2014 | By Simon Priest