Interview: Slapdash Games CEO Marcus Hopkins
New casual games studio Slapdash Games is making mobile games, but it isn't a mobile game company. This is actually just the latest example of a trend that's been becoming increasingly more common in the last 12 months:
Mobile developer Floodgate has released a casual PC game. Gameloft is also releasing PC ports of its mobile hits. Newly-formed D2C Games (along with Slapdash) have an emphasis on mobile, but were planned from day one to release for other platforms as well.
We spoke with Slapdash CEO Marcus Kopkins about the company's ties to developer Hopkins' Method Solutions, what it's product roadmap looks like, and developing casual titles for mobile vs. PC.
Modojo: First off congrats on the new studio. I'm curious - can you elaborate on the relationship between Slapdash and Method Solutions? I'm confused about why one studio would fund the formation of another - isn't that just creating more competition? If Method will work closely with Slapdash, why have them be separate entities at all?
Marcus Hopkins: Thanks, one studio supporting another is more common than you would think. We at Method know the unique hurdles of starting your own company and we like to foster the spirit of independent development whenever we see it. Our relationship with Slapdash allows them to get a running start and rely on our established infrastructure and sales support and that frees them to focus solely on making a great games.
Method is also well equipped to quickly spread Slapdash games among multiple platforms and achieve substantial market penetration as quickly as possible.
Mo:Would you say your emphasis on the three mediums (console, PC, mobile) will be equal?
MH: We go where the fun is. Our primary focus is mobile at the moment but we have multiple projects on different platforms that we will be bringing forth within the next year or so. Basically it's about following where the great ideas lead. If those ideas fall within our current focus, then great, if not then we evaluate each opportunity on a case by case basis.
Mo: Do you intend to primarily release titles across all these mediums, or develop separate games for PC & mobile, etc.?
MH: It all depends on the title. Some games we design to target as many mediums as possible. Others by their nature will have to be narrow-cast. Obviously a title that was originally developed for a platform like the Wii will have a difficult transition over to a mobile device.
Mo: How do you view the casual PC vs. casual mobile markets, in terms of potential, ease of development, or other areas?
MH: Well they both present unique technical and game design challenges. But they are both markets that are dear to our hearts. We love quick fun community driven games and we never shy away from a technical challenge when it will improve or innovate the experience for the end user. Easy of development is always a concern when selecting which mobile platforms to support.
Mo: Do you intend on self-publishing your mobile titles, or partnering with a publisher that already has the necessary carrier ties?
MH: Probably a combination of both. Right now we enjoy the support of some very strong industry partners and we intend to keep building and enriching those relationships.
If we have a great idea that doesn't align itself with one of their strategic roadmaps, and it's an idea we simply can't pass up then we'll definitely explore other options to get it in front of consumers.
Mo: Can you elaborate on Slapdash's roadmap? Do you intend on your first game(s) being available this year, or next? If things were to go exactly according to plan, where would Slapdash be in three or five years?
MH: Slapdash will be releasing its first game this year. We are lining up distribution channels as we speak and should have news to announce soon. As to the future; with a team as talented and successful as the guys at Slapdash the sky is literally the limit.
Mo: Care to drop any hints about what your first title(s) might be like? C'mon... you can say something ;)
MH: I will have to check my Mayan calendar and get back to you... ;)