Dave Perry: The Kikizo Interview
Huge interview with the games veteran and Acclaim CCO on California, cloud gaming, beast riding in Top Secret, MMOs success, Phil Harrison and Atari, returning to Earthworm Jim, and why a single console future will never happen.
Kikizo: You're as well know these days for the various projects you have set up around the industry, as much as a games designer. You've have GameConsultants, GameInvestors, Game Industry Map, and other projects on the go. And you mentioned IBM and Google. But how can you bring it all together - how can you perhaps be at the helm at the birth of something like cloud gaming?
Perry: I don't want to stand there and pontificate, and have everyone think, "well that was a bunch of bullshit". So what I did was, I back it up with facts, and I haven't really presented the facts [publically]. But we have been working on this for the last year. There is something that investors find very scary: the concept of what they call the 'funnel', where you pay to advertise to people; you bring them to the top of a funnel, and then as they go through the funnel, you lose a whole bunch of them, and only a few pop out of the bottom. Now, a lot of gaming sites ask you to register before you can do anything. And people say, "ugh... I don't want to register... I can't be bothered... I don't want to be spammed for life..." - they just won't register. Then you say "here, download this 1GB or 2GB client", and they say, "ugh, I don't want to download that" - you know... they start, and they see the bar that says 'three hours to go' and then they just quit. So that whole idea is killing the funnel as well. And the third is when you try to do the Vista install, it's like, "oh, you need new drivers, and you need this and you need that" - and they just fail to get it running. And so we really need to get that all out of the loop. So we asked, what technology does everyone just have? And the answer is Flash. And if you click to play on Flash, people expect to start playing the game experience. The problem is that Flash is known for being a little bit lame, right? You don't think 'Halo 3' when you look at Flash...
Kikizo: No. You might associate it with so-called casual games in their strictest sense.
Perry: Exactly. And so the thing about it is, that the Flash market is so unbelievably prolific, and yet there's not that much professional competition; it's mostly, you know, guys just having a go. So we're like, that Flash market looks really interesting, what's going on with Flash? Well Flash 10 is about to come out, and they've added 3D support. And Flash 11 is going to be full, hardcore, 3D, to the metal, so you can run your own video cards and everything straight from Flash. So, what if we were to run the entire game off servers that we own? So Acclaim has cloud servers, unlimited server space... if it took three servers on your own when you were playing, that would be fine. And we serve that experience through into the Flash client - we can make Flash look better than it's ever looked, ever before in its life.
And this model is so unbelievably compatible with the rest of the world. There's no country in the world that won't license this game from us, because they want it... you know, in Asia, they're suffering from the funnel; the Asians are making their games, and they're trying to get people to download them and trying to get people to register - everything that we know is a problem. They're saying to us, "hey, would you like to license our games" - and we do - but now, we're going: "would you like to have a game where there's no registration, and no download, and no install, that has a better experience than people can afford?" So I guess my point is, we're backing it up. We're not messing around, we're absolutely backing it up, and I think that's very exciting.
Kikizo: And when you mention "this game", are you talking about [the game known as] Top Secret, or something else?
Perry: This is an unannounced game, that we're developing internally, and it should be launched in 2009 - so it's not five years away or something; it's a 2009 launch.
Kikizo: And Flash 10 is right around the corner?
Perry: It's in Beta right now. So, the minute Beta's complete.