Across the world, people are engaging with games in a seemingly inexhaustible number of ways. They’re playing them, watching them, streaming them, preserving them, preserving things inside them, being educated through them, socializing in them, performing in them, getting married in them, and more. At the heart of all this activity are the people who create them: developers.
Today, we’re announcing our next wave of developer partners. They’re an extraordinary group of pioneers who have made their distinct dent (or three) in the universe of digital experiences, and helped define—and continue to shape—the industry at large. Their proven ability to bend cutting-edge technology to their creative will, and craft captivating experiences is essential to bring forth the next era of games.
Together with our partners, we’ll be exploring, validating, and integrating new gameplay and economic designs rooted in community economics, a system where the interests of developers and players are aligned. This will open up new pathways for economic and creative empowerment within the community, and allow people to engage with, benefit from, and simply enjoy games in ways never before possible.
Without further ado, these are our next four developer partners.
Gallium Studios was founded by Will Wright and Lauren Elliott, two recognized visionaries from the game industry. Wright forever changed what people thought games could be with his open-ended, unconventional games SimCity, The Sims, and Spore. Elliott, on the other hand, forged a new path for games that were educational in nature by creating the iconic and dearly loved Carmen Sandiego series.
The aggregate impact from the two is impossible to calculate, but their influence over the last 30 years can be seen everywhere. Emergent gameplay like that found in Grand Theft Auto, the rising use of games like Minecraft in education, asynchronous experiences popularized by mobile games, the gamification of real-world tasks: these can be traced back in some form to the work of Wright and Elliott.
At Gallium Studios, Wright and Elliott are once again thinking about what lies beyond the traditional game design space—but this time, they’re doing it with the community in mind.
Penrose is one of the most celebrated companies working in virtual reality today. Founded by Eugene YK Chung, previously Head of Film & Media at Oculus VR before its acquisition by Facebook, the studio creates virtual worlds that are immaculate in their sense of cohesion. This has enabled them to tell moving stories that are brilliant in both their technical and creative execution, and, importantly, feel deeply organic.
As it continues to craft new virtual worlds and evolve as a studio, Penrose will be leveraging Forte’s technology to build a robust economic foundation, adding a new dimension to their digital experiences. By grounding its worlds with a true economy driven by genuine human interactions, Penrose will be able to offer even more collaborative and consistent human experiences in their journey to empower the pursuit of meaning.
The work of Jeff Tunnell, founder of new studio Monster Ideas, has left a broad but deep footprint on the game industry. Over the course of more than three decades, he’s done everything from create genre-defining games to helping democratize game development and distribution through his work on the Torque game engine. He was also an early advocate for making games that were accessible by anyone, predating the casual games trend facilitated by social platforms by well over a decade.
At Monster Ideas, Tunnell is looking to bring one of his long gestating career goals to fruition: community integration. By making players a part of the game experience and designing around player-developer alignment, Tunnell sees a bright future where games can be funded and created in entirely new—and mutually beneficial—ways.
GC Turbo is at the forefront of a new generation of “instant” game experiences. These post-social games are built using open web standards and can be played anywhere, from a web browser to inside a messaging app. And because these games don’t have the burden of a heavy app, a proprietary platform, or other legacy constraint, they have unparalleled reach and convenience. Combine these aspects with thoughtful game design and authentic social interactions, and you can start to see how instant game experiences will play an incredibly important role in the future of games.
This forward-looking approach to games wasn’t an accident: GC Turbo was founded by Jia Shen and Tony Sun, who cofounded and served as CTO of early social innovator RockYou, and helped bring hit games like Crossy Road and Rodeo Stampede to millions of players around the world, respectively. Their skills as technologists, talents as game makers, and experience as entrepreneurs make them perfectly suited to rethink how the underlying economics of games can work.
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