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Seamus Blackley: iOS is the "new arcade", 99c the "new quarter"

Xbox co-creator mixing Atari vets with young interns at new iOS start-up

Seamus Blackley, who co-created the Xbox at Microsoft, has founded a new start up making iOS titles, investing personal money into the venture, but also raising investment from THQ.

Innovative Leisure also employs what Blackley calls the "dream team" or "Jedi Council" of veteran programmers from Atari's golden years, when the company dominated the arcade cabinet business with titles like Asteroids and Centipede.

Speaking to VentureBeat, Blackley said he sees iOS as the "new arcade" for gamers, with the common 99c price point representing the "new quarter" for a new generation.

"We are looking at the new arcade, and 99 cents on the iPhone is the new quarter," Blackley told the site. "People are playing on all these new devices and are finding the joy of the arcade games."

Hires at the start-up include Battlezone developer Ed Rotberg; Ed Logg, who co-created Asteroids and Centipede; Owen Rubin, creator of Major Havoc and Space Duel; Rich Adam, creator of Gravitar and co-developer of Missile Command; Dennis Koble, Tim Skelly and Bruce Merrit.

"We had that big collection of games, and we love the history of game design," Blackley said, referencing the 'Supercade' of restored cabinets he built with Innovative Leisure co-founder Van Burnham.

"I'm lucky because I love games and following that love has always done me well. Once we figured out the iPhone is the new arcade, that games from the old days fit this new audience and their on-the-go lifestyle, we knew what to do. There is already a group of people who know how to operate and innovate in this space. They had the longest string of hit games in history. And they wanted to get back together again."

The team will use the Supercade as a base of operations, taking inspiration from classic titles.

Because THQ helped to fund the project, despite continuing financial uncertainty, it has first refusal on any of the games.

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