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Next-gen consoles don't offer "anything that new" - Kixeye CEO

Next-gen consoles don't offer "anything that new" - Kixeye CEO

Thu 07 Nov 2013 3:36pm GMT / 10:36am EST / 7:36am PST
MobileBusinessSocial

Will Harbin talks about Kixeye going mobile, and what new platforms mean to him

Kixeye has made a name for itself as a social game company for hardcore gamers, with titles like War Commander, Battle Pirates and Backyard Monsters. Kixeye stands out among Facebook companies not just because of the hardcore focus of its games, but by the high rate of monetization - Kixeye's games generate revenue per payer at 20 times the usual rate. As CEO Will Harbin put it, the company "monetizes revenge" for its business, and business is good.

However, social games have lost the rapid growth of years gone by, and now mobile games are the hot market. Kixeye, not unaware of the trends, recently introduced its first mobile game, a version of their social game hit Backyard Monsters. GamesIndustry International spoke with Kixeye CEO Will Harbin about mobile games, Kixeye's plans for the future, and his view of the industry.

While mobile remains a booming sector, currently all eyes in the industry are on the new consoles that Sony and Microsoft are about to launch. Harbin isn't terribly impressed with the next-gen consoles or their potential. Will they bring attention back to the console market? "I think a little bit, [but] I don't think there's really anything that new with this set of consoles," he said. "In prior console cycles there was more of a hook. The hook this time is weaker; it's more of the same but the same is pretty good. People who want a good, polished first-person shooter single-player experience are going to be able to scratch that itch. It's certainly not as exciting as developments on other platforms."

Harbin's equally unimpressed with Valve's introduction of Steam Machines. "It's curious to me because Steam already has a good thing going," Harbin commented. "Steam Machine is very much a console device, and already all of their users are on a pretty competent PC. I think it's curious news by them. Frankly, I think it's the wrong direction for them. I wish they were doing other things, making more games."

"I don't think there's really anything that new with this set of consoles"

Will Harbin

While mobile games are an important area for Kixeye going forward, Harbin doesn't see them as well-suited for all types of games. "Mobile is very well suited to RTS games, or any kind of strategy games," he said. "I don't believe mobile is very good for first-person shooters, and there's some question about whether it might be good for MOBA - there are some that have tried it and failed. That is something we're still exploring. We have a MOBA that's coming out soon for browser; we're still debating whether we will port that or create a tablet client."

Backyard Monsters Unleashed is only on iOS right now. "We don't have any plans for Android right now," said Harbin. "We enjoy working on the iOS platform and it seems to mesh well with our audience. We're going to stick with that for a little while."

As far as iOS hardware goes, Harbin said the new iPads are interesting and will allow Kixeye to deliver a higher level of polish. "I still would really like for the tablet designers out there to figure out the other control scheme issues and how we can bring PC and console gaming experiences to tablets."

Overall, Harbin tries to keep Kixeye focused on creating good games more than anything else. "We've tried to remain very agnostic when it comes to platforms and technologies," he said. "We just want to be a good game maker, not a good browser game maker or a mobile game maker. We believe a good game can be tailored and put on a wide variety of platforms."

Read more about Harbin's thoughts on mobile games and the industry on our sister site, the [a]list daily.

22 Comments

Pete Thompson
Owner / Admin

147 63 0.4
Hmm, better graphics and new features = yep I'm sold, gimme my new consoles... :-)

Never played a game on Facebook, and I cannot see that changing anytime soon.. I don't take much notice of games on FB at all and the last FB game I actually knew the name of was Farmville, and that's purely because I got tonnes of annoying invites every bloody day!
Not really got into mobile gaming either, but liking Smartglass a lot :(

Posted:5 months ago

#1

Frank Trottier
Analyst programmer

21 18 0.9
"I still would really like for the tablet designers out there to figure out the other control scheme issues and how we can bring PC and console gaming experiences to tablets."

This guy goal is maily to attract the custumers from traditional markets. This means that he has more to lose if those markets come back strong. Not that good for his pocket.

"We've tried to remain very agnostic when it comes to platforms and technologies,"

Now I believe that quote explains the rest..

Posted:5 months ago

#2

Anthony Chan

83 68 0.8
@Frank - +1. I like how many industry participants say things that are absolutely biased and self-serving. But I wonder if GamesIndustry should take some of the blame, as I feel they are sensationlizing certain quotes that fit their own agenda :(

The new generation of console will definitely be exciting for the couch potato :) I myself am looking forward to it and pretty much ignoring the naysayers. Afterall, if I wanted a PC I would get a PC, but I actually want a no fuss device that connects to my home theatre and uses a controller 100% of the time :)

Posted:5 months ago

#3

Anthony Chan

83 68 0.8
@Frank PS I love your avatar pic!

Posted:5 months ago

#4

Klaus Preisinger
Freelance Writing

953 804 0.8
I suppose the "new" CoD doesn't help the argument:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5E82ZkHTiVU

Posted:5 months ago

#5

Dave Wolfe
Game Developer

64 30 0.5
I'm curious what he thinks are the exciting new developments in mobile devices? It seems to just be more power, more RAM, slightly bigger screens...more of the same.

Posted:5 months ago

#6

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,205 817 0.7
I really hate these statements... anyway, regarding the new consoles, more powerful specs=equels more that can be done with software, opening more doors and tools for developers to get creative. Second they are incorporating the use of mobile technologies, touchscreens, tablets and mobile devices. Third they are also including tons of new network features such as use of the cloud, social networks and streaming content. Plus there is the whole added voice recognition technologies and smart interfaces employed by Kinect and playstation eye. 7 years ago this was the stuff of movies. What evolution do these people want, especially at the price tag they are offering? Then he goes on to say the new iPADs are interesting.... I dont know but Im very happy with SONY and ***MICROSOFTS offerings.... so i dont really buy into these statements. Unlike past generation, i meet this generation filled with lots of enthusiasm.

The user interface is important to me, as far as Im concerned a touch screen interface doesnt do it for me. Consoles offer a greater degree and options for games and even if it was just upgraded specs, still it really is all in the software, the game itself is whats important, regardless the hardware its developed on. And more RAM and CPU speeds, is never a bad thing.

***(after they removed certain draconian DRM, continuouse monitoring and mandatory kinect features, im ok with it now cause its all optional.)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 7th November 2013 9:03pm

Posted:5 months ago

#7

Adam Campbell
Associate Producer

1,120 889 0.8
That may be true in some ways and it may be a good reason not to truly adopt them for some, but how many platforms really provide something new?

Many of the things making platforms like iOS and Android attractive are starting to make next generation consoles attractive too, with Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo bringing down many barriers to development and improving and opening up various aspects such as their OS and on-line architecture considerably.

The functionality of the OS and the richness of the ecosystem are areas I predicted to be influences in the new consoles and they are. The WiiU has dropped many restrictions for small developers and it has adopted a Nintendo DS (or Tablet if you like) approach to input.

The big three consoles are offering something at the very least vastly more powerful, improved boxes, better software architecture and interfaces over their predecessors. That's what a lot of people want and will get.

Posted:5 months ago

#8

Frank Trottier
Analyst programmer

21 18 0.9
@Anthony Chan I have a little special story about this avatar. The surprising quantity of RAM in the new consoles is kind of new in comparison to earlier generations where it was a typical trade off. And this coincide with more rich open world games environment (TitanFall, Watch Dogs, Destiny).

Posted:5 months ago

#9

Alfonso Sexto
Lead Tester

717 500 0.7
"Our fighters are mopping up the last of their recon picket now, nothing serious; but I've isolated approach signatures from multiple Bruce Everiss' mobile device sale prediction arguments, make it three website hyperlinks per group. And, in about 90 seconds, they'll be all over us."

Cortana (Halo Franchise)

Posted:5 months ago

#10
How is mobile offering something new.
It doesnt offer a true block buster experience unless one day they'll implant a direct feed into our optic nerves.

Posted:5 months ago

#11

Justin Biddle
Software Developer

147 425 2.9
Before I read the article or any comments I'm going to make a wild stab in the dark and guess that Kixeye is a mobile developer. Back in moment.

Edit: Back now. What do you know. They are a mobile developer. I must be psychic :D

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Justin Biddle on 8th November 2013 12:00pm

Posted:5 months ago

#12

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,716 598 0.3
Previous console generations offered a big step up. From cartridge to CD, from CD to DVD, from standard definition TV to HD TV etc.
Xbone and PS4 are only a small progression in comparison.

Previous generation consoles at launch were the best gaming devices you could buy.
Xbone and PS4 are just re-packaged mid range PCs. You can buy better gaming devices.

Previous generation consoles had a near monopoly on video gaming.
Xbone and PS4 launch into a market were consoles aren't even the most played gaming devices.

And the last two major console launches, Vita and WiiU, both bombed.

Posted:5 months ago

#13

Justin Biddle
Software Developer

147 425 2.9
If I recall correctly (and I fully admit I maybe wrong). Pre-orders for both of those were not good. Whereas pre-orders for PS4 and XOne are reportedly much much higher. While I fully accept these pre-orders will be dedicated console gamers, if they really are going to fail I would expect them to show a similar pattern to vita and WiiU before I used those two as evidence of why the PS4 and XOne will fail

Posted:5 months ago

#14

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,210 2,051 0.9
Bruce, the Virtual Boy, nGage, Sony PSX, Sega Dreamcast and a few others also failed. I guess that means everything else that came after them was also supposed to fail.

To the article: The article itself is not all that bad actually. He notes that a certain segment of the market will always want that bigger experience that mobile cannot provide. That's a concept I wish more mobile apologists understood.

Posted:5 months ago

#15

Robin Clarke
Producer

275 600 2.2
Not that this is news to anyone with any sense, but the last two generations of consoles have been comfortably outperformed by gaming PCs. Consoles are sold on the basis of desirable content, convenience and price.

Posted:5 months ago

#16

Alfonso Sexto
Lead Tester

717 500 0.7
A dedicated gaming platform will always have a better resource management, they are designed to be that way. They could be designed to get updates or upgrades (Saturn's expansion cartridge, or N64's memory expansion) but that was dropped for a reason.

You could buy more powerful gaming platforms, but not at that price: pay 500 and use that platform for 7-8 years with a 100% guarantee that you can run your games? Sounds like a good deal to me.

Posted:5 months ago

#17

Rick Lopez
Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,205 817 0.7
Oh and another thing to consider what do smart phones and tablets have to offer besides a touchscreen? As powerful as they become... what else can the allow players to do besides touch a screen? Sorry man but I dont buy the fact that mobile games are the future of gaming. And the limited battery life doesnt help nor does the tiny screen. I view mobile games as a novelty thing. Something to spend a few minutes and kill some time on. the only game Im currently playing is called "POU". A game about feeding a virtual pet and it has a few built in puzzle games that are actually fun. But thats it. And all the games are simple. I really doubt I can enjoy a game with the production quality and scope of mass effect, zelda, metal gear or battlefield on a touchscreen device.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 8th November 2013 4:50pm

Posted:5 months ago

#18

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,716 598 0.3
@Rick Lopez

You should try a smartphone. They have accelerometers, cameras, GPS, vibration, sound in, sound out, gyroscope, proximity sensor, digital compass, ambient light sensor and internet connection in addition to multi-touch screens. It is just a matter of developers using the creativity that they are paid for to do amazing things with these. They certainly comprehensively beat the I/O capabilities of a console.

Posted:5 months ago

#19

Carlos Bordeu
Game Designer / Studio Co-Founder

57 70 1.2
Sorry Bruce, but Rick cannot play Mass Effect, Zelda, Metal Gear or Battlefield because of / thanks to accelerometers, cameras, GPS, vibration, sound in, sound out, gyroscopes, proximity sensors, digital compasses, ambient light sensors and internet connection in addition to multi-touch screens.

...nor can he 90%+ of the core games he wants to play.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Carlos Bordeu on 8th November 2013 6:05pm

Posted:5 months ago

#20

Jim Webb
Executive Editor/Community Director

2,210 2,051 0.9
They have accelerometers, cameras, GPS, vibration, sound in, sound out, gyroscope, proximity sensor, digital compass, ambient light sensor and internet connection in addition to multi-touch screens. It is just a matter of developers using the creativity that they are paid for to do amazing things with these. They certainly comprehensively beat the I/O capabilities of a console.
Looking at my 3DS and Wii U:
Accelerometer - check
Cameras - check
GPS - no.
Vibration - on Wii U
Sound in - check
Sound out - check
Gyroscope - check
Proximity sensor - no
Digital compass - no
Ambient light sensor - no
Internet connection - check
Touch screen - check

But also:
Analog stick - check
D-pad - check
Face buttons - check
Shoulder buttons - check
3D - check
NFC - Wii U

Point is, ALL gaming devices have a myriad of interactive inputs and sensors that all for creative developers to do great things with it. Mobile isn't unique nor are console unique in that aspect. While new consoles may not be bringing much "new" to the table in regards to input, neither is mobile.

Posted:5 months ago

#21

Church

7 0 0.0
inside kixeye inside gameing and peadophile Ring Face's and facebook ids

http://youtu.be/C7HYM1KzBK8

Posted:4 months ago

#22

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