June 16, 2024

Mikayla Macfarlane

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Inside Typical Gamer’s $2M bet on Jogo, his own UEFN studio

7 min read
Inside Typical Gamer's $2M bet on Jogo, his own UEFN studio



For the last year, Fortnite creator Andre “Typical Gamer” Rebelo has worked behind the scenes diligently for a different kind of gaming achievement. Instead of focusing solely on battle royale records or content, Rebelo has made a name for himself in Unreal Editor for Fortnite (UEFN). In addition to his nearly 24 million followers and 105 million monthly views, Rebelo and his team of 20 developers are the sixth most popular UEFN creators.

Formerly exiting stealth mode, Typical Gamer is launching his own UEFN studio Jogo and serving as CEO. The name comes from the word for play in Portugese — Rebelo’s native language.

Together with COO Chad Mustard and CTO Mark Price, the team plans to incubate top talent and push the limits of UEFN. And Rebelo is making a massive bet with his own money to make it happen.

“Jogo is developing the next age of Fortnite Games. Today, a lot of Fortnite maps are combat based, but Epic wants it to be a place where all kinds of games can live and find an audience. We’re going to be ushering these new genres in and we’re spending big bucks to make that happen. We’re making a $2 million bet so we can recruit triple-A talent,” Rebelo told GamesBeat in an interview.

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Road to Jogo Studios

Jogo Studios leadership met years ago through Fortnite. One reason why the team gelled so well was that Rebelo, Mustard and Price all have experience making content and developing games.

Mustard is also content creator with 900,000-plus subscribers specializing in Fortnite Creative. He also happens to be the brother of former Epic Games Chief Creative Officer, Donald Mustard.

Price has worked in the gaming industry since 2009 including a stint at Activision. He exited a developer coaching start up in April 2022 and began making tutorials for UEFN’s programming language Verse as soon as it became available.

Meanwhile, Rebelo learned PHP when he was 12 to make mods for games (and earn a bit of money on the side).

When UEFN was announced, the team behind Jogo were off to the races. Speaking a common language, the team banded together with a grand vision to build “the Pixar of UGC.”

Typical Gamer and Jogo Studios have published seven UEFN maps so far.

“Our biggest aspiration is to make IP that lives in and outside of Fortnite. Its is a natural stepping stone because that’s where a lot of my audience lives and breathes, and it’s where we can provide the most value to the most people right away. But we want to exist on other UGC platforms, maybe in media shows, memorabilia, all that stuff. We want to create these IP’s that people know and love through UGC platforms” said Rebelo. “We’re making a big bet on being able to launch our own IP in this UGC space.” 

In a testament to the speed and flexibility of UEFN, the studio published its first game Fortnut in less than two months. Its miniature perspective has carried over into subsequent releases, particularly Toy Bed Wars. Today, Jogo Studios has developed and published seven titles that reach an average of 20,000 players daily.

Bringing Triple-A talent to UEFN

Over the last 12 months, Jogo Studios has developed its processes and talent to work best in UEFN. Of course, there are pros and cons to working on an emerging platform.

“Epic Games opened the power of Unreal Engine to a UGC market. We’ve got access to these powerful tools that I’ve been working with for years. They did strip some things down, but on the flip side, normal game development sucks. UEFN is amazing because now we get to focus on the fun parts, the things that make players happy. You’re not rebuilding an engine from the ground up again like you do at a traditional studio,” Price told GamesBeat. “You also have to readapt yourself as a team or developer coming from the industry into a smaller release cycle. We build things more quickly so you have your failures and successes more quickly too.”

Given these faster turnaround times, Jogo Studios has focused on iteration. In particular, the team has revised and streamlined maps after launch to best meet the expectations of Fortnite’s audience.

“We’ve had to strip down some of our games from what we thought was fun and completely rebuild them to make them as basic as possible,” said Mustard. “Our most popular game right now was very different than when we launched it. In triple-A development, you can’t make the same kinds of adjustments after launch.”

In addition to learning more about the potential of UEFN internally, Price has spearheaded efforts to bring in new talent. Jogo Studios is hiring with plans to scale to 35-40 developers before the end of the year. One hurdle to getting to this point is that developers are not always aware of UEFN’s potential.

“I’ve talked with AAA engineers who have no idea that you have the power of Unreal Engine at your fingertips in UEFN, and you can make anything because you don’t really see that out there right now,” said Price. “There’s always a light bulb moment when you talk to someone who’s AAA and you explain everything that’s possible here.”

Creators diversifying Fortnite

Epic is charting a course to build up Fortnite and its various modes into a brand new gaming platform. On top of UEFN’s roll out, Epic added Rocket Racing, Fortnite Festival and Lego Fortnite in the last year. Additionally, Disney’s $1.5 billion investment into Epic will fuel its expansion efforts and give potential partners more reassurance that the platform can be brand safe.

Ultimately, UEFN helps Epic round out its offering to players. Instead of developing every experience in-house, Epic has built an accessible toolkit for developers to reach its playerbase. During the first year of UEFN, more than 130 million people have played the 80,000-plus creator-made maps. In turn, Epic has also paid out $320 million to creators as engagement rewards.

Typical Gamer joins a number of other content creators that are branching out into game development and publishing. This is a natural choice as these creators can market their own games and maps to their existing audience. Of course, UEFN is a natural option for Fortnite personalities to diversify their own incomes and reach their primary audience.

“Typical Gamer has made content for over a decade. We’ve heard so many stories about long-time fans introducing their own kids to Fortnite or his stream,” said Nick Brotman, SVP and talent manager at Night Media. “The possibility of capturing audience anywhere from six to 35 is attractive. Fortnite is the only UGC platform with that kind of generational reach.”

What’s next for Jogo Studios and UEFN

The competition to establish a presence on UEFN is heating up. Jogo Studios is hiring talent to continue to build its library of maps, developing them in parallel. This content will continue to live on passively generating revenue, which is critical given the source of its funding.

“At the current moment, we’re completely funded by myself and from the profits that we’ve been making,” said Rebelo. “That doesn’t mean that we won’t seek investors in the future, but we’re very confident and we’re making a big bet on ourselves.”

Part of this confidence comes from the inevitable improvements to UEFN’s tools and capabilities.

“There’s still things to be ironed out with tools, Verse, publishing, the algorithm and discovery, but its come a long way,” said Mustard. “The thing that gives me the most hope is Epic’s announcement at GDC that they’re going to build Battle Royale on UEFN in 2025. That’s a massive commitment and it’s exciting for a company like ours. As they get into the tools, they’ll add and fix things.”

As an example, Mustard pointed to how Fortnite Creative maps currently struggle to support more than 50 players. Obviously, Epic will have to address this limit to accommodate its current maximum lobby size of 100 players.

As competition (and alleged DMCA takedown manipulation) heats up, Typical Gamer, Jogo and its leadership believe that the UGC content market can grow to 10 figures in the coming years. This will accelerate if Epic’s Verse API lives up to its hype as the programming language of the metaverse.

Until then, Jogo Studios is embracing its namesake as it looks to establish its own UGC-native gaming IP.





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