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E3 Q&A: Gamevil's Kyu Lee

At E3 2006, Gamasutra caught up with president Kyu Lee from innovative Korean cellphone game developer Gamevil, noted for one-button title Skipping Stone, and bringing more games to the States now.

Brandon Sheffield, Contributor

May 11, 2006

3 Min Read

Gamevil is a South Korea-based mobile company, with titles including the recent Skipping Stone, published by I-play. Gamasutra recently covered their one button games talk at GDC, marking Gamevil as an innovator in the casual mobile field. Recently, the company has decided to self-publish in America, with first titles including the very offbeat original IP Nom, and a mobile MMO. Gamasutra spoke with Gamevil president Kyu Lee about the company's future plans, increasing notoriety, and thoughts about console gaming. Gamasutra: So what made you decide to publish on your own? Kyu Lee: Well, we wanted to have more control over our games. We also need to expand our business further into America. It's a larger market, so that was one of our tactics there. GS: Have you found it difficult to work with the carriers? KL: I know that there are a lot of reasons why the carriers are reducing the number of publishers they deal with, and I know it will be tough to break into that arena without existing brands. But at the same time, they're also looking for creative, innovative games to fill up their portfolios. GS: Have you ever considered making console ports of your games? KL: We're considering developing for the Nintendo DS. GS: Can you announce anything about that yet? KL: No… we're just doing research right now. I think we still have a long way to go with the mobile handset, and keeping focus is really important. Expanding to a different platform isn't an easy choice, and that's something we'll always keep in mind. We're a mobile game company. If we were to expand, it wouldn't be into mobile content [like ringtones or wallpapers], but rather expanding into the gaming area, into other platforms. That's the way we're looking at it. GS: That makes sense. Do you have any thoughts on the Wii? KL: Actually Nintendo is a company that I really like. At the Game Developers Conference, I liked what they said about disruption [essentially, that Nintendo is trying to shake up the industry], and that's really something the game industry has been missing for a long time. Pursuing virtual or hyper reality is one way that games should head, but on the other hand, I still want those innovative games, things that are fun because of the human mind, not because of the hardware, to come out. I think Nintendo is very good at doing that. I like the Brain Age concept, and that games are for everybody. I don' think games are just for men, either. If there's a brother and sister living under the same roof, it's always the brother's game machine. After that's evolved for 5-10 years, now it's too hard to start getting into games. That's why I think casual gamers are very important. I don't want to look at games as necessarily equaling hardcore. I like the idea of games for everybody, and Nintendo seems to agree with that. GS: Have you thought about Xbox Live Arcade at all? There's some casual stuff going on there as well. KL: I also like that kind of approach. In Korea, all the network games are becoming more and more casual. Companies like NCSoft came out with Lineage, at first. Now Nexon has come out with a casual kart racer, and it's taking off incredibly. I see other companies moving into that direction as well. I like that approach.

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About the Author(s)

Brandon Sheffield


Brandon Sheffield is creative director of Necrosoft Games, former editor of Game Developer magazine and gamasutra.com, and advisor for GDC, DICE, and other conferences. He frequently participates in game charity bundles and events.

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