GamesBeat

YoYo Games launches a series of Chrome games with the flip of a switch (exclusive)


YoYo Games is launching seven new games on the Google Chrome Web Store today. It certainly hopes to sell a lot of them, but the bigger point that it wants to make is that it can publish these new versions of its games with lightning speed because it uses its cross-platform development tool.

The Dundee, Scotland-based company is making the announcement today at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco. The launch of the seven Chrome browser games, which were previously released on Android, is part of its ongoing campaign to promote GameMaker: Studio, its cross-platform game development tool which it sells to developers. The company releases hit games and makes money off them, but it does so mainly to show off its tools, said Sandy Duncan (pictured), chief executive of YoYo Games, in an interview with GamesBeat.

Those tools make it easy to publish games on any platform and have them run at native performance speeds. That is, the games can run as if they were authored specifically to run on that particular platform. A variety of rivals claim that, but Duncan says that YoYo Games has proven that it can do so with its published titles.

“We eat our own dog food,” he said.

YoYo Games launched GameMaker: Studio as a $99 tool for professional game developers in May. The tools are based on free versions of the GameMaker, which were originally released in 1999 by game creator Mark Overmars and have been downloaded more than 10 million times. For the past six years, YoYo Games has been working on beefed up versions of the development tools so that they can be used to make games that can easily run across many different platforms, including Windows, Mac, Facebook, Android, iOS, HTML5, and Chrome. GameMaker has a community of half a million registered users and is offered in more than 5,000 schools.

“We have added so much value to the platform over the years,” it justified a paid version, Duncan said.

The new Chrome games include Karoshi, Pollushot, Reflexions, Simply Minesweeper, Simply Solitaire, Simply Word Search, and Skydiver Mach II. Those games will now be available to hundreds of millions of Chrome browser users. The company used its HTML5 format export tool to easily publish its Android games to Chrome with no additional coding resources required. The Reflexions game reached No. 3 on the top paid apps rankings on Google’s Android Market (now dubbed Google Play).

Duncan, who grew up in Scotland and was previously head of Microsoft’s Xbox business in Europe, said he joined the company six years ago and funded it to help it achieve its dream of creating a cross-platform development tool. It uses a flexible GameMaker Language that can be easily adapted to better performance. The tool has a drag-and-drop user interface that makes it easy for game creators to quickly adapt a game to a new platform and doesn’t require specific programming experience. The cost of creating a game with GameMaker: Studio is about $15,000, Duncan said.

YoYo Games now has 20 employees, including a number of people who previously worked at Realtime Worlds, creator of All Points Bulletin. Duncan said the company would begin a new round of fundraising soon. Rivals include Spaceport.io, Z2Live, and Unity Technologies.

In the coming weeks, YoYo Games plans to embed lots of new services within the tools. You will, for instance, be able to quickly add payment options or ad networks into a game simply by selecting options within GameMaker: Studio, Duncan said. Normally, it takes weeks of integration to embed such services in a game.


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