Two years ago we made the decision that after spending all of our adult life in the games business it was time to try something new, to push ourselves beyond the boundaries of what was comfortable. Today we’re announcing that we’re returning to games and this post is about that…
A LITTLE HISTORY
In the summer of 2008 we founded ngmoco:), one of the first of a new generation of mobile game companies. At the end of 2010 we sold it to become a part of a company whose mission we believed in, where we stayed for two more years before leaving and ultimately founding a new company, N3TWORK, which iterated on a single idea of organizing content around your interests to what it is today.
This is not a post about those years or the learnings of what did or didn’t work. Simply put - we loved ngmoco:), we learned a lot at DeNA, we tried to apply our knowledge to a new product in a different medium that ultimately didn’t meet our aspirations.
We loved building our company and our product, but truth be told, we’ve really missed making games and so now, after a couple of years away, we’re coming home.
Thinking of the video games business as “home” may seem a little melodramatic, but it’s so much more than just an industry to us. We’ve grown up here. Our friends and family are interwoven into the fabric of that world, and in that way, the Games Industry doesn’t feel too different from the places we call “home”. Both are filled with people that we know and love, both have good and bad parts, both are beautifully diverse and both are constantly evolving and changing. Even though you know your way around, you’re still going to encounter something or someone new.
Now that we’re walking back through these streets it feels great. Not just because it’s familiar but because we know that this is where we’re supposed to be and it took leaving to realize that.
We’re coming back to games with a new passion and energy for taking everything we’ve learned and pouring that into building the best games and ultimately the best mobile games business possible.
WHAT WE SEE….
It’s not like you stop playing games when you stop making them. In fact, the opposite is actually true, as you’re blessed to become a player again. You can enjoy games for what they are and with the perspective of a gamemaker you can appreciate what it took to create and craft them.
We’ve been inspired by everything from the simplicity of Candy Crush, the craftsmanship of Clash of Clans, the loop beauty and depth of Puzzle & Dragons to the emotional magic of Thomas Was Alone. There have been some incredible games built over the last couple of years and in a few cases, incredible businesses along with them.
A key lesson that we’ve learned from two years building a “mobile consumer internet” service is that great Mobile experiences are about complementing, not replacing, life. It’s about building something valuable to people, with loops that span and connect sessions, that boots immediately, returns to exactly where you left the product and that continue a dialogue with the customer, even when they’re not in the experience. It’s often these simple, but essential things that are the foundation of great mobile products.
It’s with that perspective then that we’ve also been frustrated that the State of the Art remains mostly misunderstood in Mobile games. The worst offense is the charge to bring console quality experiences to mobile, which we think in doing, disrespects the very nature of both mobile and console.
The biggest hits in mobile games are almost always inversely correlated with the things we would attribute as exhibiting “console quality” - Why is that? What is it that defines a great game in this space and then how can that be turned into a great business? What has worked elsewhere in the world and is there a secret to be unlocked? How can we take these learnings and proudly talk about our games as exhibiting “mobile quality” instead of simply striving to emulate a different format?
Regardless of whether you care for the business model or the types of games that have succeeded thus far, why they worked so well here and abroad is the clue to building a new breed of games. Without that knowledge it’s going to be difficult to continue to advance the state of the art in both game design and business. With it, the mobile games industry can get to an amazing next level and a new definition of “Mobile Quality”.
There’s so much more to do in Mobile games and it’s with that perspective and sense of excitement that we’re entering this next chapter of our careers as gamemakers and in N3TWORK’s life as a company.
If you’re a player or lover of games or gamemaking – come back and visit us here at www.n3twork.com or follow us on Twitter @n3tworkco and we’ll share the journey with you as transparently as we can.
If you’re a maker of games, whatever your craft, we’re looking for the very best, most passionate, energetic and talented people to join our growing team. You can find out more here or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks and we look forward to sharing with you what we’re working on!
— Neil Young.