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New iOS and social studio Twiitch founded in Australia

Ex-THQ tech directors and Blue Tongue founders reveal start-up

Shane Stevens and Steven Spagnolo, co-founders of Australia's Blue Tongue Entertainment, have founded a new outfit called Twiitch in their home country.

Blue Tongue was sold to THQ in 2004, whereupon Stevens and Spagnolo were given positions as global technical directors at the publisher. THQ shut down Blue Tongue as part of its extensive money saving measures last year, but the pair had already left of their own accord.

As they told The Age, they "could see the writing was on the wall" and left in 2010.

"The time was right," Stevens told the Screen Play section of The Age. "We watched the market very closely for the six years following our sale of Blue Tongue, basically not trusting where it was all going.

"Multi-year development cycles costing tens of millions of dollars just wasn't sustainable for all but a few."

Shane Stevens, Twiitch

"Multi-year development cycles costing tens of millions of dollars just wasn't sustainable for all but a few. The release of the iPhone and the explosion of Facebook caused a strategic, permanent shift towards the casual market, and that's where we wanted to be."

Twiitch is just about to put its first iOS game, Coco Loco to market, followed by a Facebook title. Spangolo sees the company's remit as "original, fun, mobile and web-based social games that anyone could play".

"It was naturally saddening to hear of the closure of studio we'd worked so hard to build, and also knowing that people we'd worked with for many years had been retrenched," says Stevens.

"However, the boxed product business is becoming increasingly difficult, and Australia is not a cheap country to develop in, so we were not so surprised by their decision. As for fearing for THQ's future, who can say, but it's safe to say it's not looking good."

Twiitch currently employs ten full time staff.

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