We Love Games


We think it goes without saying that here at CloudKid, we love making games. We also love playing games. We even love making sure our fellow cube-mates have seen this video for this really cool game that we’re playing. This one, on my screen. Look here. I’m serious. You need to – no stop doing that, download this game right now.

So, we decided we would share our wealth of information with you…as well as give us an excuse to talk about games.

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Kickstarting Creativity

OK, we know at this point there have been millions of blog posts and articles about the awesomeness that is Kickstarter. Like many others, we’re continually inspired by the potential of the platform to allow a new means for great ideas to take shape. With this week’s success of Ouya, a new open source gaming console that broke Kickstarter records by raising over $2.5 million in its first day, we were reminded of the disruptive and exciting potential of putting the power of content and product creation into the hands of the masses.

As an artist-driven studio, it is easy to become frustrated from time to time by the hoops that require jumping through in order to get content distributed to consumers. The reality of the entertainment industry has long been that very few large, powerful conglomerates have held the keys to the kingdom of both financing and distribution. Because of such constraints as corporate identities, branding cohesiveness, and bottom line profit potential, there is only so much risk-taking that can happen with content backed and distributed by large companies. We’re not saying that great content doesn’t make its way out there under this system, or that grass-roots distribution with the advent of new technologies hasn’t made an impact of its own. The challenge of adequately funding cutting-edge content and products for wide-spread distribution, however, has long been plaguing small creative companies and individuals.

As the thriving open marketplace for mobile apps has proven, there is a massive desire for a lower barrier for entry that allows a number of smaller content creators to coexist with larger players.  As previous Kickstarter successes like Double Fine Adventure have proven, people are willing to pledge support to see creative content come into fruition. The true power of Kickstarter is that it enables smaller entities to fund projects, take big risks, and find an audience. Ultimately, it leads to quick execution and innovation. The added beauty of Ouya’s success on Kickstarter is that it showcases a desire for disruption not just from a funding perspective, but also for future disruption in open-sourcing content creation for console gaming. We’re excited to see what happens with this project moving forward, and, more importantly, how the norms of creation and distribution continue to morph and bend in ways that we hope will yield more creative freedom in this and other industries.

Draw Something… or Nothing

A couple weeks ago, OMG Pop’s Draw Something flooded the digital world. It was more viral than Ebola. Everyone was playing and everyone was talking about it. The explosion was so significant, Zynga snatched up the NYC game company for a cool $180 million.

After a week of playing, I started to get bored – very bored. The words were repetitive, the game seemed to have no real incentive, and the “nudges” got annoying. I stopped playing shortly thereafter. I noticed that others weren’t playing as much either, so I decided to do some research. I sent three questions to the CloudKid team hoping to shed some light on the subject:

  1. Are you still playing Draw Something on a daily basis?
  2. If yes, what brings you back?
  3. If no, why did you slow down (or stop)?

Read the (not so surprising) responses after the jump…

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Back to the Drawing Board

A few months ago, we wrote a post about family-focused social gaming, which has reinvented the classic “family game night” by creating a way for long-distance family members to have fun together. This sense of connectivity – no matter what the distance – is an idea that inspires us and, these days, entertains us like no other. If you’re like us, you’ve probably been spending way too much time recently hunched over your iPhone playing Draw Something, a multiplayer game from OMGPOP (which, by the way, was just bought by Zynga for no small sum). Draw Something, like online family gaming, brings people together through an interactive, back-and-forth style format. And, we must say, it is positively addicting!

What has really drawn our attention though is the fact that Draw Something takes a very simple game mechanic – essentially, Pictionary – and turns it into an app. It’s a straightforward idea, but is one that has produced brilliant results. They’ve turned a timeless game, once played around the coffee table à la family game night, into an awesome app you can play anywhere, with anyone, at any time.  By leveraging benefits unique to virtual play — such as an asynchronous nature of gameplay and the ability to have multiple games going on at once (much like Words with Friends) — a simple concept is transformed into an amazingly viral app. As game developers, we at CloudKid tend to think a lot about game mechanics and social connectivity, and we love the idea of web games and apps that get people in dialogue with each other. We regard the social component of game design as a huge imperative, and the success of Draw Something makes it clear that traditional game mechanics with an interactive twist are on the rise.

Which makes us think… At CloudKid, we recently had our very own family game night, with such classics as Dixit and Bananagrams bringing out our competitive sides. Dixit has already jumped onboard and created an iOS app, and we wouldn’t be surprised if other gaming companies soon follow suit and venture into the virtual world. Who knows,  maybe our next family game night will inspire us to build a new social app!