2013 has been a big year of transitons for me. Some have been great. I moved to the USA, went from being a consultant to working in a studio again. I survived turning 40. My wife and I are enjoyed a crazy new adventure and made many friends along the way. Some transitions truly sucked though. The worst was the recent passing of my father, which was every bit as awful as you imagine it to be.
Another was the need for Jawfish to pivot out of making multiplayer mobile games. Mobile has become incredibly difficult to crack without an immense bank balance because of the escalating costs of user acquisition, and the smart choice for Jawfish became to pivot into technology provision in the casino space. While wishing them all the luck in the world, that change didn't make a lot of sense for me.
So, another transition. But this time a good one: I'm off to work with OUYA.
I've been talking about microconsoles for the best part of a year. I think there's something to them, and a number of people that I know tend to agree. Everyone knows that its still in its early days and there's half-a-hundred million problems to overcome. Yet the essential notion is worth paying attention to. The possibilities of disruption in what's still the most rigid of all gaming markets (console) is huge. To bring that App Store sensibility to TV required a bold idea, and that's why I've liked OUYA since I first heard of it. It represents something potentially game-changing.
I needed a change, and my mind kept coming around to working on the platform side again. I used to do that at Sky and found it a lot of fun, and I see strong parallels between how that business worked and how the microconsole business is starting to shape up. I particularly wanted to do that on a platform that was trying to find interesting, weird, radical and downright wacky games. So I reached out to Julie Uhrman, whom I knew a little, and she concurred.
I've met many awesome indie game makers over the last few years and hear stories about how many of them are finding new markets very challenging. I've recently experienced first hand how hard that's becoming for some. My involvement with OUYA is all about trying to help them solve that problem. It will primarily consist of working with partner developers to help bring their games to the platform and make them better. In addition I'll do some content acquisition (if you have game, get in touch) and act as an in-house advisor for those who'd like to make free-to-play work in their games but aren't sure how. I'll also do some blogging on the OUYA site.
All in all I'm very excited about taking an active role in the new frontier as well as writing about it. Who knows where it will go (as is always the case in the games industry) but it should interesting!
PS: Just as when working with Jawfish, I'll still write independently. Posts, columns, articles, and even some book material will continue to flow forth with Chinese walls firmly in place. I'm used to wearing many hats.