Former Criterion/Rendeware CEO David Lau-Kee and Jim McNiven, founder of digital marketing agency Kerb, announced the launch of Kerb Games, a studio specializing in persistent browser-based online games.
The new company hopes to create and distribute games for what it describes as a "rapidly emerging 'Games 3.0' market," which includes casual titles offering community experiences and targeting both men and women from a wide age range. One of Kerb Games' goals is to develop titles for emerging platforms such as the iPhone.
Its primary aim, however, is to produce persistent browser-based online games that take players away from traditional hardcore online gaming environments, focusing instead on "networked and community-oriented, social-media aware settings." The developer has a number of games slated for release in the next year, which it says will promote creativity from its community by emphasizing user-generated content.
Founded in 1996, the Kerb agency specializes in "youth marketing" and the design of web sites and web-based games, counting Sony PlayStation, Microsoft, and Samsung among its clients. The company currently runs Project Rockstar, a free music-based MMORPG that has so far picked up 200,000 registered players.
McNiven will continue to lead the agency as manging director, but will also serve as CEO for Kerb Games, working on strategic development and marketing.
Prior to Kerb Games, Lau-Kee was the co-founder, president, and CEO of Criterion Software Group, the UK-based middleware studio behind the Renderware engine used in the Burnout
series and several Grand Theft Auto
He most recently joined
3D game development tool provider Unity Technologies as a non-executive chairman. Lau-Kee joins Kerb Games as a non-executive director, and will provide business guidance and support the company's growth into the mainstream games industry.
"The games industry has for too long relied on either accident and circumstance or imported IPs and outrageous marketing spends to generate its hits -- user engagement is either random or paid-for," says Lau-Kee.
"At Kerb games, we're applying years of experience of web analytics, viral marketing and web community development to truly engage with our audience - our games are ground-up designed for the web-connected, Games 3.0 generation."