Devising creative games and business approaches are key to rising to the top of gaming in China and around the planet. US-based Froghop CEO and Founder Vicky Wu knows this as her firm takes a novel approach through transmedial solutions in the gaming sector.
After spending nearly a decade working for telecommunications companies AT&T and Nextel, Vicky started Froghop in 2000. She is also a frequent contributor to China's "Game Creation Magazine".
What was the genesis for Froghop and how was it initially funded?
Froghop set out to develop a single player and cross-platform multiplayer mobile gaming solution that alleviated the various limitations of mobile devices, and the distracted environment that typically affected the users.
Froghop was built on a database-driven foundation that included device libraries, trigger management, cross-platform play/chat capabilities, and a point conversion system.
Initially positioned as a premium mobile games developer, Froghop later realized that its technology could be put to better use among persistent virtual worlds (PVWs), so Froghop introduced transmedial access to the gaming industry, and the ability to access real-time game world information through mobile devices.
We are privately funded, and Froghop's transmedial solution originated because we were trying to find a solid business model to apply to our existing technology. Having founded the company back in 2000, the carrier revenue-sharing model for mobile gaming didn't exist. We found that our platform was more valued among online role-playing gamers. Deemed "the Paul Revere" by gamers, Froghop provided a way for guilds to effectively react to in-game disasters and communicate with each other about defense strategies.
These humble beginnings eventually gave rise to a full spectrum of product modules tailored specifically for the changing needs of persistent worlds.
How many staff do you have and where are your offices located?
Froghop has 6 staff, and a development house that's equity partners with us that adds another 10+ people.
What are Froghop's main services, and why did you choose these to focus on?
With the foundation of its database driven cross-platform technology, Froghop introduced the concept of transmedial access by offering middleware and software solutions, allowing gamers to access to game statistics, game content and game community from mobile phones.
Froghop also custom designs integrated cross platform solutions that include mobile mini-games that tie into the MMOG"s main virtual world.
In addition, Froghop provides ongoing support and maintenance. Due to rising demand, Froghop has also added a creative consulting arm to ensure applicability and usability within clients' transmedial strategies. The creative services can be utilized alone as an internal management planning tool, or in conjunction with Froghop's technology integration.
What sort of customers are you getting for these services?
Froghop's clientele are mostly game publishers and developers. Historically, these are Massively Multiplayer Online game developers and publishers. However, we are starting to see an increasing amount of casual games developers who are looking to enhance community via mobile. We are also working with mobile games developers looking to add depth to their storylines and increase player loyalty through our cross-platform infrastructure.
What types of business are you doing in China?
Most of our current China relations is related to a "value-chain" formation so that our platform is optimized for use in China. Froghop is focused on expanding business relationships to domestic Chinese game companies.
As a regular contributor to the Chinese-language "Game Creation Magazine", how do you see China's game business development compared to that in America and Europe?
I have found that the process of developing relationships like a jigsaw puzzle, where each puzzle piece represents a question you have to ask to piece together the whole picture. Once you have all the pieces, you've got something fantastic to show for it, but it takes a little longer to get there.
What are some challenges you see to operating a gaming development business in China?
I am still in the early stages, so I'm still learning a lot. I think once I become more firmly established, I'll be able to add some more insight to this. Some differences I've seen and have learned to make note of is how regulations and relationships are very regional. What works for one area in China may not work in the next.
What advice do you have for other companies looking to enter this gaming space?
I think forming alliances and partnerships is important, whether you are a foreign company looking to enter the China game market, or whether you're a domestic Chinese company looking to get into the game space. The videogame industry is a rather difficult industry to enter as a whole, and is a lot easier to do so if you have various industry folks who know who you are, and are interested in seeing you succeed.
I think most already know the importance of establishing a strong network, and I think it's an important point to emphasize. No one company can do everything, so it's good to know which companies need to become part of your value chain of success. Through those networks, you can also share best practices, technology resources, and creativity.
When you have time to relax, what types of computer games do you like to play?
Ghost Recon, Halo 2, SS Tricky, City of Heroes, Jade Empire, Darwinia, and Guild Wars.