Neil: The whole point of building HeroEngine is so that they can work faster. I mean, some teams want to spend five years building a game and with HeroEngine, they'll be able to a lot more and better game in the same amount of time. Other teams want to build a game in a year and they'll be able to build a game of professional, commercial-grade quality using Hero Engine.
The other advantage is, that building this technology is really expensive and time-consuming and it costs a lot to maintain. The more teams you have using HeroEngine, the more cost-effective it is for everyone, because you're spreading the development burden across a lot of different companies. So it really makes sense. There's really a scale economy for the industry to move toward using HeroEngine for development.
How difficult was it to keep your full collaboration with BioWare under wraps?
Neil: Well, you know the fact is that we weren't able to talk about this for two and a half years, so we were ready to burst! It was our first deal for the engine. It's just incredible to hit a home-run right out of the gate. In fact, not only to hit a home-run but they were selling us on why we should license it to them before we felt we were ready. So it was an amazing opportunity and really launched us into the engine business.
Take that and multiply it by twenty and that's really what we're doing in the industry at this point. We're working with major studios and major super-exciting projects all over the world at this point. For a company like ours -- we've been developing online games ourselves for 20 years and the typical online development project, you're spending a long time working on one game, and here -- we get to participate in projects all over the industry with some of the best teams out there. It's just... It's an amazing business. We're loving life.
So, Bioware was actually the first company that signed with you when you started pitching HeroEngine?
Neil: Yes, in fact... the way it really started in 2005, we showed a very early version of Hero's Journey at E3. Gordon Walton who hadn't joined Bioware but was getting ready to start his studio visited our booth, and we're old friends, and we said "We want to show this to you" and not only did we show him the game, but we said "Look at the tool-set we built for this!" And he looked a the tool-set and he went "... we gotta talk."
"We're starting a studio. We have a major project and as soon as we get everything in place, we want to license this technology. Are you willing to license this out?"
And we said, "Well, we intend to license this out, but we assumed we'd have to ship a game first!"
And he said, "We don't want to wait. We want it now."
We probably wouldn't have started licensing the engine until this very year if we'd have been spending all of our time working on our own game. Instead our own game is on the back-burner and all these people are licensing our technology from us. It was the opposite process of what we had expected, but it was certainly a very exciting and high-class way to have a sudden shift in your business model.
"Hopefully we'll have some announcements to make over the next few months. We're out showing Hero's Journey in its current stage to people and letting them play it, log in when we're not even around, and then hopefully lining up partners all over the world."
Neil: It is a going concern! It's actually looking fantastic and is really fun. Even though it's still got a long way to go in terms of getting the content in and polishing it, but it's really going to be great.
Hopefully we'll have some announcements to make over the next few months. We're out showing the game in its current stage to people and letting them play it, log in when we're not even around, and then hopefully lining up partners all over the world. I'll be traveling next week and hopefully build up the team and actually let people see what we've been working on all this time.
Great to hear, sir. Thanks so much for your time.