One headline shouts pending BC gaming industry apocalypse. Turn the page there’s a hard charging startup making serious waves.
Highly fragmented and slightly schizophrenic would be the most accurate description of the gaming industry right now. Consoles are on life support (taxpayer largess, depending on the jurisdiction) versus social and mobile gaming being white hot (at least some these local studios having the most fun).
There’s only one over-arching theme that drives the business, deliver more hits that misses, and you’ll live to play another day. Levelling up in real world of the gaming business is no small feat.
In their effort to publish a hit, former EA colleagues and now co-founders Kenny Huang (CEO) and Tim Harris (CTO) of BlueBat decided they’d build an engine first. It’s not been a straight flight-path getting to this point, but with finely tuned bat-like sonar they’re hitting a real sweet spot in the gaming business.
Kenny’s experience and conviction pointed him down the path of the most disruption, knowing that the world of traditional video gaming would be seriously impacted by the mobile and social space. Not one to sit back and watch trends pass him by, Kenny wanted to help game developers create social games more easily.
This is done by the creation of the BlueBox gaming engine. Without giving away too much of the secret recipe, whether building a social game for Facebook, a mobile game for Apple or Android, dealing with different platforms and the ever-changing “rules of engagement” (Facebook never changes the game mid-stream) can be the bane of many game developers' existence. The BlueBox gaming engine is designed to remove those friction points, and let game designers focus on building great games, and working to deliver the hits.
The BlueBox engine is a key component to any development cycle as it allows BlueBat, and many other developers, to focus on creative, high quality, high performance work. But technology aside, Kenny and Tim have focused of building a great team and creating a culture that they know works.
Their collective past experiences building this kind of tech together suggests there’s a certain logic to their game plan. Reaching out to familiar and talented friends and former co-workers, they've snagged Neil Brideau, software engineer; Johnson Yang, software engineer; Carina Kom, lead designer; Greg Hennessey, creative director; and Veronica Howes, data analyst.
The BlueBat team drooling over Chubby Bunny in 2011.
The BlueBat team is tuning the engine and happy with their first clients putting it through the paces. With the tech starting to prove itself this band of misfits, as member of GrowLabs second cohort, is busy prepping to impress potential investors at Demo Day.
What’s most impressive about Kenny and Tim’s approach to the game business is their vision; it’s not just about BlueBat. Social and mobile gaming is serious business, and these games have a far quicker turnaround time (no more two years plus to create and ship). They firmly believe the industry needs to move away from “ruthless competition," and move towards collaborative competition.
This means having gaming companies like East Side Games and Blue Bat Games help each other, but at the same time knowing that they are competitors. However the ultimate goal is to have both companies succeed, and help create those jobs for the exceptional gaming talent we have in Vancouver.