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Kerb launches new games studio

Interactive advertising agency sees opportunity to monetise quality online games content

Kerb, the digital engagement agency best known for its viral advergames, has announced that it is to form a new company - Kerb Games - to utilise its own IP in the browser-based persistent online games space.

The company, headed up by Jim McNiven, has also appointed Criterion co-founder and ex-EA VP David Lau-Kee as a non-executive director, and is currently at work on a rebuild of its popular Project Rockstar title.

Kerb, which has reached over 350 million people with its advergames since 2004, will continue its work in the marketing space, with Kerb Games drawing on technology and expertise as it launches new games during the rest of 2009.

"The fact [is] there's a market now that's sophisticated enough," McNiven told GamesIndustry.biz. "We've been making games, but the internet's been a place where people don't pay for content. That's always been a mantra, really, and something we've learned to accept in the last decade - but now that's changed.

"Now people are viewing it as another entertainment medium that they're prepared to pay for because the quality is up there now, as good as the quality of the other entertainment they pay for.

"So really the distinction between the Kerb and Kerb Games is that Kerb will always be an interactive advertising agency, and Kerb Games will be simply about monetised gaming."

And David Lau-Kee added: "The games industry has for too long relied on either accident and circumstance or imported IPs and outrageous marketing spends to generate its hits - user engagement is either random or paid-for.

"At Kerb games, we're applying years of experience of web analytics, viral marketing and web community development to truly engage with our audience - our games are ground-up designed for the web-connected, Games 3.0 generation."

The full interview with Jim McNiven, in which he explains what he sees as the opportunity for Kerb Games, is available now on GamesIndustry.biz.

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