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"Mobile is the true next generation gaming platform" - Turbo

"Mobile is the true next generation gaming platform" - Turbo

Wed 04 Jun 2014 9:52pm GMT / 5:52pm EDT / 2:52pm PDT
MobileDevelopment

Brooklyn startup signs with Nexon for inaugural game; founder Yohei Ishii on making core games for mobile

New Nexon CEO Owen Mahoney said earlier this year that he'd like for his company to be "more successful in the West with the kinds of games that will resonate with Western tastes." While acquisitions could be on the table to bolster its development talent, the company today took a step in the right direction, revealing to GamesIndustry International that it's signed a publishing agreement with Brooklyn, New York-based Turbo, a startup with backing from SoftBank Ventures Korea and comprised of veteran talent that has worked at Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Riot, Rockstar, Zynga and more.

Turbo believes there's a great opportunity in core titles on mobile and the studio came together in 2013 with a shared "desire to bring AAA ambition to mobile game development." Nexon will be the exclusive worldwide mobile publisher for Turbo's first cross-platform title, which is expected in 2015. Turbo founder and CEO Yohei Ishii talked with us about his studio's goals and ambitions and why Nexon is the right partner.

While Nexon's portfolio on the PC has something to offer for core gamers, the company's mobile lineup has been a bit more casual in nature. With Turbo on board, and other deals in place, Ishii noted that Nexon is quickly getting serious about core titles on mobile.

"Every year, the devices get more powerful, developers get smarter, the tools get better, and the quality bar of what a mobile game can achieve is raised. I believe that mobile is the true next generation gaming platform"

"Nexon is dedicated to bringing high quality mobile content to gamers, and you can see how serious they are by their recent partnership announcements with companies like Shiver Entertainment (John Schappert) and SecretNewCo (Brian Reynolds). In terms of Turbo, we aren't confining our creativity to a specific genre; we are focusing on creating AAA quality games tailored to the pursuits and expectations of the core gamer, a community that we feel hasn't been properly embraced in mobile. Since we're gamers ourselves, it's important for us to not only develop titles that get the community excited, but games that we actually want to play as well. Nexon understands this and is 100 percent in support of what we are trying to accomplish here at Turbo," Ishii said.

The mobile games market has grown by leaps and bounds in just the past few years, and while PC and consoles are still very much the home of core gaming, Ishii is confident that a greater number of core gamers will be putting more time into playing on mobile. The quality of the titles has been steadily improving, and the price is right for consumers.

"In the past, mobile was never considered a legitimate gaming platform; however that was primarily due to the quality of games that were being offered at the time. Back then, a majority of game offerings were made up of very forgettable, factory processed gameplay experiences. Recently, there's been a dynamic shift in the mid-to-hardcore gamer demographic within the mobile space, and for the first time, smartphone and tablet gamers now outnumber traditional console gamers," Ishii noted. "Every year, the devices get more powerful, developers get smarter, the tools get better, and the quality bar of what a mobile game can achieve is raised. I believe that mobile is the true next generation gaming platform, and players' outlook as it relates to mobile will continue to change as their perceptions and user habits have already started to shift more towards core."

Needless to say, with Nexon as publisher, you can expect Turbo's inaugural title to use the free-to-play business model. That, in and of itself, shouldn't be a deterrent to the core crowd in the long run, Ishii insisted.

1

Yohei Ishii (left), Nexon Founder Jay Kim (center), and Turbo Advisor Alex Iosilevich (right) hiking the glaciers of Iceland

"Similar to my previous point about mobile perception and user habits shifting more towards core, this also holds true for the platform's business models as well. It is important for us to not only create an awesome game that hardcore, articulate gamers will enjoy, but also make it as accessible as possible. The best way to do that is to drop the barrier to entry altogether," he said. "By making it free-to-play, we understand that we may run the risk of initially alienating the core gamer, whose first reaction might be one of skepticism. But this is one of the reasons I'm so excited about what we are doing at Turbo. Every employee that works here is a gamer.  When we're not making games, we're playing games, and that sets a stratospherically high bar for ensuring that all our releases provide the fun and depth core gamers come to expect with a AAA quality experience. At Turbo, quality and knowing our community is what matters, not of-the-minute trends."

Of course, Turbo's core gaming mission can only be helped by initiatives like Apple's new Metal API for iOS 8, which should enable console-quality visuals to be rendered much more easily on iPhone and iPad. Ishii is definitely looking forward to leveraging the new technology. "We are super excited about what Apple is doing on the mobile front. Their recent announcements are another great example of how the mobile games platform is always evolving and moving forward. We believe there is a big opportunity for us in this space and are excited to be a part of it," he said.

18 Comments

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

892 1,327 1.5
By almost any measure, mobile is already the present generation.

Posted:4 months ago

#1

Paul Jace Merchandiser

939 1,420 1.5
Have to agree with Paul and not just because we share the same name.

Posted:4 months ago

#2

Eyal Teler Programmer

87 85 1.0
Title aside, it's nice to see a focus on hardcore mobile titles, and it will be interesting to see how they turn out.

Posted:4 months ago

#3

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
Popular Comment
I would have thought current generation smartphone were current gen smartphones, next gen smartphones, are next gen smartphones, next gen consoles were. 9th gen consoles, and next gen pc is loose because pc generations have been blurred since the move from 486 to pentium.

The generations of individual types of gaming platform really have nothing to do with each other, and conventionally arn't defined by popularity. (By console generation Dreamcast doesn't stop being sixth gen because it sold crap).

So that was just a soundbite.

Posted:4 months ago

#4

Carlos Bordeu Game Designer / Studio Co-Founder, ACE Team

69 91 1.3
In the past, mobile was never considered a legitimate gaming platform; however that was primarily due to the quality of games that were being offered at the time.
That isn't the case for me nor the other hardcore gamers around me (Note: Of why we don't find it a legitimate gaming platform for hardcore gaming - it is a perfectly viable platform for gaming). It is the very limited touch controls which aren't even appropriate to play most of the NES library (and much less games played with modern gamepads), and the unattractive proposition of playing on a tiny or small screen.

Hardcore gamers are often interested in fast paced complex competitive games: Not good on mobile. (Plugging a controller to your mobile device isn't a solution since no one can design a mobile game that depends on controllers - that market is non-existent).

Hardcore gamers are often interested in immersive cinematic experiences: Not good on mobile. (Plugging your mobile device to your home theater HDTV system isn't a solution either).

For me Apple's Metal doesn't change a thing - the processing power isn't the factor determining whether I care about hardcore gaming on mobile devices or not. And I'm sure this is the case for a lot of people.

Posted:4 months ago

#5

Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.

2,270 2,439 1.1
It bothers me that people in the industry still don't grasp the concept of a 'generation'. It's nothing more than a predecessor/successor relationship. Current generation is what is out today. Next generation is not out yet. It is what comes next. And thee is no relation to what is a certain generation in home consoles and a certain generation in mobile devices.

Home consoles tend to say within each generation of a console maker because they tend to exist in the market space for the approximately the same time periods. Mobile devices do not. They iterate annually. So yes, the next generation of mobile devices will obviously arrive before the next generation of home consoles.

Posted:4 months ago

#6

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,135 1,171 1.0
Hardcore games on my smartphones? Sry, too busy watching 3D movies on my 3DS.

Posted:4 months ago

#7

Julian Beck HR Consultant

39 45 1.2
Honestly, most of the article was quite boring to read for me - a wording discussion...very important. So those guys are proud to proclaim current smartphones are "the next-gen devices", big deal. Content-wise that does not matter at all. Surely no developer would try to realize the next part of the Elder Scrolls singleplayer RPG on a smartphone platform, it's just too big, too much details, too much to be played with "fun" while you're sitting in a tube station or in a shopping mall :)
So, no, not all gaming inventions will suddenly only happen on mobile platforms.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Julian Beck on 5th June 2014 6:01pm

Posted:4 months ago

#8

Alex Bunch Proof Reader, ZiCorp Studios

94 106 1.1
Popular Comment
Did they have to pay for this advert?

Posted:4 months ago

#9

Tim Carter Designer - Writer - Producer

576 321 0.6
The mobile gaming experience is a throwaway, time-wasting one.

True electronic gaming will always be on a large screen. If you respect it, you'll get a system to do it right.

Posted:4 months ago

#10

Steve Wetz Reviewer/Assistant Editor, Gamer's Glance

213 529 2.5
"While Nexon's portfolio on the PC has something to offer for core gamers, the company's mobile lineup has been a bit more casual in nature."

Annnnnndddd... that's the main point, isn't it? The core gamers prefer their games on bigger screens, in places where you can sit comforably for hours to play them. Neither of those descriptions fit mobile. And anyway, the casual gaming market on mobile is too large to ignore.

For any company with an emphasis on mobile, you'd best serve the shareholders by putting your "core gamer target" aside and concentrate on the big casual picture. I know, you have your ideals, but take a look at the top ten in iOS and Android - what you have there is the casual experience, captained by Supercell and King.com into mountains of cash.

Look, if you manage to make your AAA mobile game and it becomes wildly popular I'll be the first to simultaneously congratulate you and say I was wrong. But I seriously doubt that will happen.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Steve Wetz on 5th June 2014 6:44pm

Posted:4 months ago

#11

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

892 1,327 1.5
There's some bias showing again guys. Console boys may make a good pass at claiming the word for themselves, but when I here of "the next generation", I think of it's usual definition - the next generation of humans.

Kids are growing up with facebook, twitter and mobile games welded to their hands. They might occasionally play a console game or two, but the rest of their waking lives are spent on their phones. Sorry that's not to taste here.

Posted:4 months ago

#12

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd

1,020 1,467 1.4
It's sort of like an oil company telling you how essential oil is. Gee, I wonder if vested interests are involved here? (With you as well, of course, Paul).

Look, of course mobile is part of the future. It's just not the only part of the future, and may not even be the BIGGEST part of the future. It has yet to prove sustainable for the vast majority of its developers (don't get me wrong, consoles face their own major problems).

Posted:4 months ago

#13

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
but when I here of "the next generation", I think of it's usual definition - the next generation of humans.
The problem being that the quote was trying to say that mobile was the next generation rather than what console press refer to as the next gen, but the console press are not refering to generations of humans, or what will be most popular, but rather an established way of discribing console hardware cycles. It is not meant to say what is best out there, as any PC gamer with an expensive rig will jump at your throat to tell you, but rather an attempt of standardisation of eras of history of one subset of the technology.

To disagree with what seems to be sloganeering is not necessarily bias, mobile and mobile gaming is clearly a massive part of the zeitgeist, indeed probably far more so than any form of console gaming. But in a year of box office records, saying, "the next generation of TV hardware is going to the cinema," would still sound daft.

Posted:4 months ago

#14

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,135 1,171 1.0
Next Generation
/nɛkst dʒɛnəˈreɪʃ(ə)n/

(1) Star Trek Series about tragic fashion accidents.
(2) The product of your loins
(3) Mythical place where Nexxon predicts to find an audience which promises to earn them the most amount of money for the least amount of effort.

Posted:4 months ago

#15

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

820 653 0.8
Again with this?

Ok, I'll byte: Good to know! now please tell me when will Watch_dogs be available for my phone?
Oh? can't because of overheating? Hmmm... Starcraft maybe?
Ah? can't put a mouse on it, you are right hehe. Ok... Wolfensteing the new order?
What do you mean too much particle effects?? Ok, Skyrim then!
Battery gone in 20 minutes?
Dang it already!! Just tell me what "Nex gen experience" am I getting.
...


But, specially:

"Every year, the devices get more powerful, developers get smarter, the tools get better, and the quality bar of what a mobile game can achieve is raised. I believe that mobile is the true next generation gaming platform"
Because console programers do NOT get smarter and PC components DO NOT evolve, right? Mobile will always be step behind because, while PC's weak point is mobility, mobile's weakness its it's very nature: its a phone (Even laptops are ahead of phones when it comes to gaming)

Some companies really need to get out of their fantasy world.

Posted:4 months ago

#16

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

820 653 0.8
@Paul:
"There's some bias showing again guys."

I only see preference there. I am the first that would be happy to see something worth my time in a mobile device. But as long as companies insist in release casula games with no story, well... Nothing there for us who like stuff like TLOU or Diablo III

Posted:4 months ago

#17

Samuel Verner Game Designer

131 243 1.9
@article another day, another dreamer.

Posted:4 months ago

#18

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