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In this groundbreaking collection of 15 interviews, successful founders of entertainment software companies reflect on their challenges and how they survived. You will learn of the strategies, the sacrifices, the long hours, the commitment, and the dedication to quality that led to their successes b
Contents About the author vIl Foreword.,,。,,,,。,,,,。,,,,,,,,,。,,,,,,,,,,,,,。,,,,,,i Acknowledgments.......................xi Introduction X Chapter I: David Perry.……………. Chapter 2: Emily Greer Chapter 3: Doug Whatley 43 Chapter4: lan Bogost∴…∴∴7l Chapter 5: Victor Kisly 93 Chapter 6: Richard Garriott 107 Chapter 7: Gaute Godager Chapter 8: Ilkka Paananen ,,,,,l83 Chapter 9: Jason Kapalka 2 Chapter I0: John romero∴… 23 Chapter II: Ray Muzyka Greg Zeschuk ,26 Chapter 2: Raph Koster 28 Chapter 3: Reynir Hardarson .................................315 Chapter 4: Riccardo Zacconi 335 Chapter I5: Neil Young∴…∴……349 Index 389 Introduction On October 14, 2008, Richard Garriott de Cayeux became the first video game developer to travel into space, a journey made possible by a true spirit of adventure and a fortune earned as a role- playing game pioneer and entrepreneur Richard's fascinating story, from teen game developer to astronaut, is just one of the 15 diverse, detailed and enlightening interviews with 1 6 industry leaders in Online Game Pioneers at Work Like Garriott, video games have come a long way over the last 40 years. From the lab to the arcade, and from the arcade to the home, the video game market continues to expand. There are not only new platforms and genres, but new and exciting ways to discover, buy, and play video games. There are effectively, whole new worlds to explore The Internet has made a significant contribution to the advancement of the video game as an entertainment medium and as a business, connecting a diverse number of players around the world and frequently at scales beyond anything we would have ever imagined Indeed, many of the creative and business leaders in this collection of interviews have at times commented on the pace at which the online game will displace other forms of interactive entertainment Online games are everywhere Theyre on mobile phones, tablets, and virtual reality headsets. They're digitally distributed, streamed in real time, and played in web browsers. Theyre free-to-play, buy-to-play, and subscriber-only. Theyre social, casual, and massively multiplayer; theyre sandboxes, theme parks, and virtual worlds Theyre esports, played by amateur and professional cyberathlete, covered by ESPN, and watched by audiences rivaling those for other sports and competitions More than just an entertainment product category, online games have produced wide-ranging social benefits, too. Online games connect disparate groups of people within safe, virtual spaces, enabling players to communicate, cooperate and learn together more effectively without the physical and social boundaries that hold us back in the real world While some developers of serious games construct virtual environments where we can practice vital workplace and emergency response skills, others create online experiences from which we come away better informed xiv Introduction In Gamers at Work: Stories Behind the Games People Play, published in 20 12, I spoke with 18 founders of successful console and Pc video game companies about their stories and what we could learn from them i wanted to learn about the challenges of entrepreneurship, and specifically, how those who had gone before managed to come out alive and on top With Online Game Pioneers at Work, I continue that good work through interviews with 6 founders of successful online game companies but with an eye toward the shift to the online future of video games. In this collection, you will enjoy some of the deepest treatments of the business of video games, as well as some of the most exhaustive and illuminating interviews with working ounders of major entertainment companies I hope the questions I've asked have revealed insights into online games that you will find informative, uplifting, and never less than entertaining organ Ramsay Founder president ceo Entertainment media council CHAPTER David perry Cofounder gaika After a two-year stint at Virgin Games designing and programming video games such as Disney s aladdin, Cool Perry founded Shiny Entertainment in \99 Alds. David Spot for 7UP, and global gladiators for Mcdo Shiny Entertainment developed a number of hit games including MDK, Sacrifice, Messiah, Enter the Matrix, and Wild 9. but the studio was best known for earthworm Jim. Earthworm Jim quickly emerged as a global franchise replete with a TV series produced by Universal Cartoon Studios, a Marvel comic book series, and fast food promotions with the Carls r and Del Taco restaurants. Over the years, Shiny Entertainment has changed hands many times, passing from Interplay to Atari to Foundation 9 and finally to amazon com In 2009, Perry cofounded Gaikai, a technology enterprise that built the fastest proximity network in the world, enabling gamers to play major video games with only a web browser. Three years later in July, Gaikai set a Guinness World record as the world s most widespread cloud gaming network, and Sony Computer Entertainment acquired Gaikai for a staggering $380 million Today, at Sony, gaikai's streaming technology powers several key features of the play station 3 and the playStation 4 Ramsay: Before you founded Shiny, you worked at virgin? Perry: Yeah, I grew up in the UK and ended up at virgin Games in Irvine, California. They had asked me to come out and make a Mc donald s game for them. I ended up making that game, which was called Global gladiators and won 2 Chapter I David Perry Game of the Year awards virgin games became very interested in trying to see what else we could do. i decided to stay and we ended up making another advertising "style game called Cool Spot for 7UP. Cool Spot was based on the red dot from the 7UP logo. Sega published that game and then came back to virgin with the rights to Aladdin. We made disney's Aladdin for the sega genesis and that, despite an insane timeline turned out to sell well. So, this little team had generated an awful lot of money for virgin and Sega. We thought, Hmm, maybe it's time to actually think about doing something different here At that time I was offered a job to go work at the sega technical Institute was very tempted by that, but I ended up also getting an offer from Playmates Toys, the people who made the toys for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They made a lot of money from the turtles and were interested in getting into video games, so they asked if i would join to help them do that. I told them, Well, no, why dont I start a game company and then you fund it? If you fund it, I'll give you the first three games. They agreed, and we ended up with a publisher that was funded and new to video games. They didnt have strong, preconceived expectations. Playmates really left it up to us to see what we showed up with and they put in a lot of effort to help us find licenses If you think about it, they were all licensed, so Playmates expected that we'd ust make something licensed. We were off talking to all of the studios--Uni versal, Sony, and others--trying to find rights for a new game. We were get ting very serious about knight rider remember david Hasselhoff'stv show and the talking car? We were looking at different properties, but we couldnt find the perfect fit. We finally agreed that we would make our own title. That turned out to be Earthworm Jim Ramsay: Starting a company is arguably more challenging than taking a job Why didn 't you just go work for them? Perry: I was interested in having a team and doing our own projects. I was less interested in just being an interactive management guy in charge of other people's properties, making games I wasnt so interested in Ramsay: Did you have any experience as an entrepreneur Perry: Yeah. When I lived in the United Kingdom, I first started at a company called Mikro-Gen. It was a real job, so you had other programmers there and managers. I learned quite a lot there but I was very tempted to see if I could go it alone. I did go it alone and started developing games myself. I put together a team and we made a game called" beyond the ice palace"for five different platforms. I realized that it's hard when you're relying on other people When you're just one person, you can get stuff done but when you,ve got five people, you're responsible for the output of all of them. It was hard, I was naive. I found that to be not so fun. I only did it one time and then I went back Online Gamers at Work 3 to working for somebody else. So, I flipped back to something in between, which seemed like a safe happy zone, where you,ve got some structure around you, but on the other hand, you get to really build and do whatever you really want to do. like that Ramsay: Was starting Shiny Entertainment within your comfort zone Perry: I dont know what it is about me, but I tend not to think too much before I act. If I sat and thought about it, I might have been able to talk myself out of it. Id have found all these reasons to not move forward I call it"point ing at the hurdles. You see all these hurdles and you just sit there and point at them: this is a problem, that's a problem, and this is a problem. If you don't do that and just start moving forward, usually you find yourself on the other side, wondering what happened. You dont even see the hurdles as you're just going through this whole process. Whatever it takes, it's just the next step, the next step, the next step, and then, finally, you're at the end of the track You' ve built a company and youve had to do whatever was necessary. If you needed to raise money, you just did If you needed to meet certain people in Hollywood, you just did. You found a way. that's what I like. No matter the stuff we've done, and the people weve worked with, I don' t know if you could necessarily plan it Ramsay: Did you have a business plan? Perry: no, we did not have a real business plan but we had worked out what it would cost for the team to make a game. We were surprisingly accurate We had this running joke about how accurate that actually turned out to be because we had made our best effort at working out all of the costs and it actually worked out. It wasnt a business plan though, in the sense of having fully worked out our marketing strategy and everything else. There were other people taking care of those pieces for us. We didnt have a plan that you would use to raise money or something like that. It was a little lighter. In fact, we didnt need a formal plan. That really wasnt necessary for the publisher we were with Our plan was simple: this is how much it will cost to get the game done. They just wanted to have that game, so they werent really worrying about how much money we were making. They were more worried about what they were going to do on their end and if it made sense for them. It wasnt as hard to raise money then as it probably is today. But if you find someone who wants the product, you'd probably still have the same situation today. You've just got to find someone who wants it and has their own plans for the software. There is a lot less friction then and it's not like you're trying to twist anyone's arm 4 Chapter I David Perry Ramsay: Instead of a plan, you had a clear vision of where you wanted to take your company Perry: We had a general idea about how we would do an animated game with the team we had. The team was very, very good at 2D pencil drawn animation. We had done multiple games in a row that scored very high in graphics, so we'd gotten to a point where that was expected of us. We had to deliver something that was graphically very good. Luckily, we had enough talent to deliver. Earthworm Jim received multiple Game of the Year awards But it wasnt like we were just focusing on making role-playing games, simula- tions, or something else. It was very clear that we were going to make some kind of action-oriented animated platform game. The team had a funky style of humor as well which permeated the final experience Ramsay: Was there a point where Shiny Entertainment was just you? Perry: I was"technically"the original founder but a bunch of people joined me from Virgin. There were a few new people who joined shortly thereafter. It wasnt like I was sitting in an office with nobody and then slowly trying to recruit people one after another. There was a group of guys who wanted to work together right away As the founder, I was responsible for the company; however, I really should have sought advice. Let's just say there was a lot of learning by making mis takes. the rule I follow now is just to not repeat mistakes Ramsay: What kind of commitment did you make Perry: Payroll was my biggest concern, so we had to deliver If I had sat back and thought about it all upfront, I might have not moved forward The trick is to be able to pivot when something isnt working. You've got to be able to pivot and deal with it in real time. If somethings taking too long, costing too much, or you didnt get the people you wanted, it's up to you to find a way to solve that problem in real time Ramsay: Did you have a family at that time? Perry: I did, but no children It's funny It's another sort of meta theme of the video-game business. The video-game business takes up just about all of your life. the wives and girlfriends were always coming to the office because at that time, there was no real external life It's just work, work, work, work. There's a movie called Indie Game: The Movie. Have you seen that yet? You should check that out. It's a really good way to see behind the scenes of people making games. You could see how much fun it is. You can also see how much spare time they look like they have. It just becomes a way of life Online Gamers at Work5 Ramsay: Who were some of the people who came over from Virgin? Perry: There were super talented people like Nick bruty, mike Dietz, Nick Jones, Steve Crow, Ed Schofield, Andy Astor, Tom Tanaka, etc. It was a small group I think we hit around nine Doug Ten Napel was a new hire. He wasnt from the original team, but he came up with the Earthworm Jim character, which was exactly what we needed at the time If you look at the credits of Earthworm Jim, you'll see all the people who helped make it Ramsay: Had you worked with these people before? Perry: Not all of them I worked with Nick Bruty for many years. I worked with Mike Dietz at virgin. I worked with Nick Jones before in the UK. We had an artist called Steve Crow who was also British. The group was reasonably closely knit. We definitely werent like a bunch of strangers Ramsay: Did you have to really convince anyone to join you Perry: There was one guy who I was trying to get: Christian Larsen. I was very frustrated that I couldn't convince him to join. He was a key person I really wanted and didnt get. He was the fish that got away. He did the graphics for the jungle book video game for Disney and his graphical ability at the time was just remarkable. He had started a company with somebody else and had to see that through. I still wish he had joined us Ramsay: When you brought on the first nine people, you hadnt done any real planning but you knew why you wanted those people Perry: Yeah, you just believe in the people. I think the industry is still that way Gaikai was formed the same way. You find talent, you bet on the talent, and the talent sets out to make something good It's just a case of working out what that is. With really great people, you can make something fresh the real challenge is not the idea; it's finding the talent to make it Once you find them hold on tight; you'll get some really good stuff. That's what happens Ramsay: Some game developers want to start a business to make games,so they operate with the expectation that their first game is just one of many to come. Others build teams for that first game and that' s all they care about until theyre forced to care about something else. The difference is subtle but it's there Which were you? Perry: Yeah, I agree. The company was not relevant. It was not about the company at all. The company was a function to make games. There was no one who aspired to build a business. they were all about just making games and getting the next game done and hoping people like it. We very much had a focus on the next game and"this new hook is going to be cool!

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Online.Game.Pioneers.at.Work.1430241853

In this groundbreaking collection of 15 interviews, successful founders of entertainment software companies reflect on their challenges and how they survived. You will learn of the strategies, the sacrifices, the long hours, the commitment, and the dedication to quality that led to their successes b

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