Saturday, September 27, 2008

Casual Games in Nintendo DS and WII

Nintendo DS and WII are bring in more casual games.
As compared to Playstation3 and Xbox, the two games console are targeting the major market of casual players.
This bolds well for small games developers.
We hope our website will be able to help more games developers sell their games as well too while waiting for people to discover their capabilities.

Gamerenkei debugging

Recently we are debugging and improving on our website.
We realised that there are many problems during the testing phase.
Some of the improvements that we have to keep in mind:
1. Interface for payment
2. Simple and logical steps to upload games + information
3. Interface of merhanise upload
4. Keep information simple yet sufficient
5. How to display all the modules yet within the page and at a glance

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Capcom goes casual games

Capcom goes casual via hunt for sports games:"Japanese publisher/developer Capcom has revealed it wants to sign up sports games developed by independent studios in the West as part its bid to target the casual games space."
Casual games are playing more and more important part of the gaming industry.
WII has helped to emphasis the importance of causal games that target the majority of the world. Not the hardcore gamers but casual gamers.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Website Design Considerations

Website design always looked simple. After looking into many successful website, there are many micro details that plays a part in their success stories.
Our previous website layout looked simple and insufficient, therefore there is a need to revamp the whole website.
How to make an interesting and complicated website look simple to use? What attracts the users first is not the complexity and strong capabilities of the website. Mainly is the appearance, simple interface and human touch in short.

Website Meaning: Start from the explanation of website: eg Flickr, there is no full page explanation of the website, instead just 4 keys phases;
a)Share & Keep in touch
b)Upload and Organise
c)Crop fix edit

Sign up: Simple, catching but friendly sign up picture is important. How to attract user to sign up? Short time process, value added propositions for users etc. For eg. Tumblr, Sign up in 10 seconds. This implies short sign up process, thereby attract the masses.
There are many details which requires our attention to improve on our website.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

BandMerch: An almost GameRenkei equivalent for music

BandMerch is an online store that sells merchandise for bands. This is another venue for independent bands have the option to monetise their music beyond pure sales. Personally, I think the concept is great. Of course, it will be better if it can do something like what we are doing: allowing fans to create and upload their hand-crafted merchandise.

Nevertheless, BandMerch is an assurance to us that the merchandise model is good bet to go into. We feel confident having a place to let fans do their things for the games they love is going to enhance the developer-gamer relationship.

On a related note, I also came across an old Wired article that talks about letting fans create logos for their bands. This is way cool and something for us to consider as we continue to develop our platform.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

29 possible ideas for our platform

This list of 29 ways to monetise games intrigues the hell out of me. Our current merchandise platform can be viewed as a solution to number 27 on that list.

In the coming days, our team will be debating on which of these ideas is suited to build into other products. One particular thought in my mind is the tournament model. I am been thinking of how to build that kind of model for games without requiring any changes on the developers' end.

One simple way is to have a tournament system that can be used alongside any names. The developers can assign the tournament rules with a few clicks with the rest of the heavy lifting done by the software, including pricing of tournaments, collecting performance data during tournaments, progression rules et al.

This is just one possible tool we can build. If you have other ideas, do put them in the comments as well.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Casual Games Association

There is a professional international trade organization called Casual Games Association . It is founded to facilitate a healthy and stable global casual games industry. Primary services include professional conferences, industry research and a magazine.
The Casual Games Association hosts three yearly conferences in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and North America. Each conference spans several days and offers the very best of the casual game industry in the form of presentations, demonstrations and networking.
This organization is a good opportunity for exposure and marketing of own products.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Music vs Games

Last.Image via WikipediaI am constantly amazed by the innovations seen in the music industry. We have seen the likes of MySpace, and Pandora coming out of nowhere and becoming important players, within the space of 5 years. Today, I read abou another cool music company, Topspin, which is offering a set of tools for fans to connect with their favourite bands. All these left me wondering, what is the equvialent of all of these cool stuff for games?

Nevertheless, I am happy we are trying to do something similar for the game industry. Through our merchandise platform, we hope to enable fans to create hand made stuff for their favourite games. We think this is important becaseuse it enables fans to express their love of the games, something we can think of ourselves doing.

We will be posting videos of our status very soon. If you like to follow our adventure, do keep this blog.

How big is the video game merchandise market?

We have been asking ourselves this question since the start of our project. The answer? Nobody knows. The closest I have come across is this paragraph from the Escapist magazine:

Of the 15 gamers I talked to on the subject, most seemed interested in more traditional merchandise, like t-shirts, soundtracks and figures. Even those who said they weren't really interested in merchandise tended to have purchased at least something that qualified, though often these were items that tied into their specific, personal interests, such as art books or concert tickets. But when asked about the coolest merch they'd ever bought, it was clear that uniqueness played a big part in determining cool. Answers ranged from game music piano scores to a Metroid Prime studded-leather wrist cuff.

Based on the above, let's say 20-30% of gamers do buy merchandise. Is that big or small? We know really know and frankly, we don't really care. What we want to do is let gamesr connect to each other through game merchandise. In our web service, fans of a game have the option to post pictures of their hand-made merchandise for other fans to see or buy. This is what we want. Fans of games sharing their love through creating their unqiue items.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Dota Allstars 6.53 NEW HERO - Rattletrap

New hero released in Dota Allstars 6.53. It is called Rattletrap!

See how the 3 skills combo are used to kill opponents easily!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wall Clocks

Chanced upon these wall clocks and looking at how Avatars from games we play can be as a creative part of our home decors.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Dota Allstars Wiki

Dota Allstars, So many heros and how do you classify them?
See click to see classification of heros like AOE, Assassins, Disablers, Nukers, Pushers, Support, Tankers and Stunners

Snowy Merchandise

Snowy is a simple game which to win, you need to throw the snowballs at the monsters until they become a big snowball. Then come close and kick it! To win over the Bosses you should hit them with big snowballs. If you think the game is cute, see how you can possess the items with your snowy game from cafepress!!

Snowy Wall Clock

Snowy Jr. Spaghetti Tank

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Singapore first DS game - DropCast

DropCast is first DS game produced in Singapore. An exciting character based action puzzle game. This is a good example of what Singapore is promoting casual games about.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Another batch of cool merchandise

I keep finding more and more cool merchandise. As we aggregate these merchandise ideas in our blog, we will be able to detect commonalities and hopefully build a cool interface where users can create their own merchandise base on their favorite games.

Bubble magnets

Pacman Keychains

Mario Towels

Tertis wallet

Saturday, June 21, 2008

What kind of things make cool merchandise?

I have spotted some items that are really cool as merchandise. While we will not be making them available as yet, they will be on our minds as we update our platform!

Q-bert earings

Apple Keychain

Storm Troopers Cuff Links

and Get Ready for this, Master Chief Mug!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pull factor in the Internet Space

Sites like that not only allows me to upload images that I like. It allows me to print it on items that I can choose from the whole list on the site.

There are not many sites that allows users to upload images and have them printed on a wide selection of items. I think this is a great business model moving forward and there are things that our startup can learn from. In our current social society, allowing users to be able to select what they want and understanding what they hope to see is definitely not only a pull factor and also a plus point to any startup or business.

We have been thinking of how we can have a different edge of marketing to users who visit our site and keep their interest there and at the same time help our contributors who put their games on our website to have another form of reach with their supporters. So I think the cafepress model will be something we should and can leverage on for our Startup.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


GDC, a very big gaming event is going to happen in Paris. What is GDC? The Game Developers Conference (GDC) is the world’s largest professionals-only game industry event. Presented every spring in San Francisco, it is the essential forum for learning, inspiration, and networking for the creators of computer, console, handheld, mobile, and online games.

This is a great event not to be missed. This event attracts over 16,000 attendees, mainly are programmers, artists, producers, game designers, audio professionals, business decision-makers from all over the world.

Below is a brief outlook of the event
* 8th Annual Game Developers Choice Awards
* 10th Annual Independent Games Festival
* Game Connection
* Video Games Live
* G.A.N.G. Town Hall Meeting
* IGDA Annual Meeting
* Art War

Good luck and have fun!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Deciding a Roadmap

I have been thinking and trying to come up with a roadmap where it will give us proper direction on what we have to do and help us move forward. People may think that start ups are easy but it is not so. Everything that we hope to do, I keep thinking if we are on the proper track in the business sense. I guess it makes sense and is important that all businesses need a proper roadmap as a form of direction for the start up to move towards to draw the users we hope to attract to our platform. Isn't this how your MNCs come up with their mission statements which are made to serve as a direction for all their staffs?

After going through books and textbooks(yes, you will be surprise it helps), I realised that having a roadmap is like looking for a process which is back to fundamentals and this is where your textbooks becomes useful. with the help of books, I came up with a rough roadmap, which will of course be enhanced along the way to be more in tune with our start up which I find quite useful to share.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Mainstream retail is not the only distribution platfrom

Just saw this article on how one new startup called Cinetic Rights Management are helping film makers, who are unable to get cinema distribution, to get distribution on alternate channels such as web, mobile and cable on demand.

According to their CEO:

We’re going to make it our business to go to every portal, every mobile provider, every video-on-demand service and make the most aggressive deals we can,” Mr. Sloss said

This is what we need to do as well. Thousands of indie games have been submitted to game festivals and conferences but only a small percentage has been picked up. So, what happens to the rest? We need to help these guys get alternate distribution deals. We need to form partnerships with other smaller size distributors who are on the web, mobile and even IPTV. This what we need to do.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Customized Stuff

Customized Stuff seems to be small business to everyone. It looks like one or a few people will purchase such unique stuff. Guess what there is in the market for such customized stuff.

There are few large website providing such services to the whole world. One of such is Cafe Press. Please see the quote from the website to show the power of customization of stuff.

"Based in Foster City, CA, allows its users to independently create and sell a wide variety of products on the web. By allowing individual sellers to set up free “shops” within their domain, Cafepress makes it easy for artists and designers to sell their goods online. Over 2.5 million independent shops have been opened on Cafepress since its opening in 1999. Cafepress is a privately owned, profitable company.

CafePress offers 150 customizable merchandise items, ranging from T-shirts and other apparel items to home decor, kid & baby merchandise and political items such as buttons & yard signs.

CafePress is the leader in User-generated content, with 6 million users and 150 million+ products (10 will get made while you read this). The CafePress Marketplace is an instantaneous and often colorful reflection of the public discourse"

This will create a new market where designs are driven by the owners/ players rather than the stuff makers. Definitely this model will be better than the typical trend today.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Customised Products

How can gamers customize products from the games they played?

What will be the first thing in your mind? T-shirts and Mugs again?

In fact, there is more to this. Currently in the market, there are many items which allows the users to wrap around with. Besides the usual T-shirt and Mugs, there are also profile cards, notebooks, and mouse pad for your studies and work, physical and virtual greeting cards, bags and even caps for your personal style. Best of all, car bumper stickers and any stickers to stick your fave design onto.

With so many things to customized and own, wouldn't it be good to create your own identity? With the capabilities of the current technology, fast and cheap customization are made possible. We hope with sufficient demands, we can enlarge this area of customization for our customers in the future.

Do share with us your ideas on this. We might try to explore your idea and make it happened!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Startup Journey - Directions

There had been a discussion with my team recently to decide if we should focus on a main stream for our startup or stretch our resources to focus on two areas.

Finally, we decided we would like to direct our focus of our startup on both the independent game developers and users who explore and play online games. This will mean that we will have to come up with two separate business plans on how to attract and draw in the attention of both the individuals and independent game developers. This is a Big Challenge and it is time to sit down with the rest of my team to route out our roadmap in phases so that we do not end up missing out any major parts.

Now you know what I mean by stretching ourselves because the two focuses though great opportunities for us to tap on but alot of thoughts need to be mapped out separately to prevent any conflicts or loss of focus.

We are at a juncture where we have to assign responsibilities to the different team members to think through the main frame, draft the plans independently before we come together and have a major thorough meeting to iron out issues and feedback to come up with an ideal business plan where both focuses of our startup will be well covered.

Some inspirational quotes to share!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Gamerenkei - Identity

After one week of super busy work, finally its break time and guess where am i? I am in Korea, the place where high technology is! But yet to visit their famous IT shopping mall. (I think it should be similar to Sim Lim in Singapore and definitely better!)

Over in Korea, i can feel a strong sense of identity. The clothes they wear, the style which they created. Korea is a very modernised place, yet able to preserve their culture and create their own style. Am i going to talk about Korea today? Nope, my visit here in fact showed me the importance of identity.

Having to say so much about Korea, i felt that Gamerenkei has the ability for each individual to search for their own style. Ability to own their own unique design which could be as rare as precious watches limited to 50 pieces worldwide. Gamerenkei provides the users the capabilities to design your own clothes and products. In additional, the most important is the ability to realise and OWN the physical form with one click of the button.

For example, if you are a FAN of Dota and user of Lightning Relevant and Night Stalker, you might want to put the together 2 heros images on your shirt. Using Gamerenkei (if Dota has placed the images inside), you can pick and place the 2 images onto the shirt. After a few quick adjustments, next click and you can preview and order you UNQIUE shirt. On the other hand, you can also mass order your favourite design for many people or even for sale.

Gamerenkei hope to create a new way of owning your own unique items rather than going around the shops to look for items which might not be your preference or common else where. Hope you guys are looking forward for the launching of our Gamerenkei for a new way of having your own IDENTITY!!

Games Related Merchandise

It has been a hectic week and I managed to find time now in Korea to surf the net and do some research. Surfing the net looking for games related merchandise, I found quite of sites that have games related merchandise available. Most of them sell action figures and there are also some that have T-shirts available. There is this game website Miniclip that allows gamers to purchase T-shirts and is quite interesting. You have designs that you can choose from (related to gaming of course) or you can choose to upload a design. You can also select the type of item (round neck, long sleeve T-shirts etc) and size. There is also a site that allows you to do customization to a certain extent. Not only choosing your own design, you can write your own text as well and have all these printed on the T-shirt.

This actually prompts me to think hard about customization. Customizing your own product is in fact a very personalized experience where one gets a different form of satisfaction. Likewise for game developers, every design or game that they produced is unique. Therefore, to bring a level of personalization and customization to our start up will be something that we will want to think hard and focus on as I believe in this 21st century, it is no longer telling people “this is what you can buy or available on our site” the focus should be more towards how can I personalized one’s experience so that they will either come back or look forward for more because of the good experience. In fact, how to satisfy both viewers and developers experience on our GameRenkei website will be a very good push and pull factor for our start up and key direction for us to work towards as well.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Why do we have a company blog?

We get questions from friends asking why are we spending time on our blog when our products are not even finished. Well, there are many reasons why we decided to do it including telling potential users what the product is about, getting early feedback, keeps our morale up but most of all, it enable us to feel closer to our potential community.

That is why!

Friday, May 9, 2008

DotA Allstars

How to play DotA Allstars? You need to buy the WarcraftIII with expansion media of Frozen Throne. (The game has received many awards and is find the same developers of World of Warcraft).

However there are not DotA Allstars maps in it?! Well, you need to visit this Getdota site for the download. On the other hand, DotA can be download while in the battenet as you join the game (if they allow you to do so as downloading takes time and they might just kick you out!) Of course, to join this battlenet for an awesome games with other gamers, you need to create a battlenet account. Impressive there are also AI maps (from getdota)where you can set the numbers of Allies and Foes heros for own playing purposes. This is interesting if you do not wish to be playing noobs in real game plays.

Lastly, you can find out more form the official website for more DotA information. In this website, you get to know more about the heros, items and even see the replays posts by gamers.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Where and How to get Started to register our Start-Up?

I have been task to do the most important yet “dry” or I should say the administrative part of our Start-up. I have to set us on the right footing and make sure we go about getting our Start-up registered, accounts properly recorded, and map out our business plans and of course one of the most important thing is to plan, discuss with the team and put together our marketing and sales process.

As a Start-up, we do not have the luxury of engaging consultants or accountants to advise us with what we need to do. I have spent time searching for information online and there are a number of Business or Start-up checklists and even templates available online that is useful and helps as a guide to get us started.

Some useful sites for Start-ups:

- This website has useful toolkits and there are also examples of accounting templates, checklists even articles that are very helpful and important for Start-ups like us to learn and refer as a guide to keep us on the right track.

- A Good Summary of a list of eGuides

There is an Entrepreneurs’ Guide to Planning, Starting and Running a Business in Singapore on this website and I find it really comprehensive and useful but the only issue is that it was done in Sept 2005 and there is no updated pack so this will mean more readings to make sure I cover areas that may have been updated since then.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

We got funded!

The most difficult thing, in our minds, is to get pre-seed funding when all we got is only our idea and passion. Fortunately, we got to know of a funding scheme by MDA (IDM Programme Office) call microfunding. This scheme is especially created for startups like ours and so we applied.

The process was fairly simple. We got in touch with one of the appointed business mentor (FrontEdge Capital) that is helping MDA manage the grant. After a few months of discussions, business plan fine tuning and of course paper writing, we manage to pull the whole thing together and put in a proper proposal. Thankfully, we got funded! The team was really relieved after knowing this....

The funding is going to be really useful for us to develop a working prototype of our idea. With the money problem temporary solved, we can focus on building the best product we can. More about that in future updates.

1000 true fans

This article talks about artists needing only 1,000 true fans to make a decent living. It is a powerful story and one that we also believes in.

As the long tail stretches its length with the availability of development tools, online distribution and different means of monetization, there is a greater need for somebody to make it easy for independent developers to connect to their 1,000 true fans. Our aim is to do this.

We strongly believe that our application makes it dead simple for connections to be made between a developer and his followers. With our business tools that takes the heavy lifting off the shoulders of developers, they can concrete on making great games as well as staying in touch with their fans. This is what the next generation of game making should and is something we are working towards every single day.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Game Renkei's Site

We are so excited with our new business website. Now we shall share a preview slide of this website.

The cool thing about this website is that it provide a good overview of the business growth for the games developers. For gamers, beside buying games, they can also easily create and purchase their own mechanise online.


There is a total solution for all games developers to do their business and gamers to get their dream merchandise!

Wii Games: Rayman Raving Rabbids

I am never enticed on games for long and always needed interesting games to keep my interest going. Bought my Wii recently and was recommended the Rayman Raving Rabbids game!! Ever since, I was hooked!!! It was really entertaining, every game is fun and definitely helps one to distress and a good workout.

Searched around the web to see what I can find about the Rabbids and found out that there are not many sites on them. However, I was really impressed and immersed in the short videos of the rabbids at the various sites.

Enjoy one of the videos below!

In fact, I was looking for nice screen savers and definitely do not mind T-shirts with the Rabbids printed on them. Though I never like cartoons printed on t-shirts but the 3D graphics are really well done. The creativity behind every short clip in the game to portray the character is something I am extremely impressed. Found a site that sell some t-shirts but are too few to choose from and unfortunately the pictures are mainly in 2D form. If only the actual character can be printed on the t-shirts!

I asked myself what makes me want to get merchandise related to the game and I guess what draws me most is every creativity effort that was put in which is successfully portrayed to me who is the end user that has the main appeal factor. Now I know why this is such a highly recommended Wii game and I definitely encourage all developers out there to come up with more ideas and you never know how far you can actually reach!

Monday, April 28, 2008

DotA Allstars

Ever heard of DotA? If you are in living on the digital edge and do play games, definitely you will know about Dota. Its called Defense of the Ancients. Wow I have been playing Dota shortly after playing Warcraft3 - The frozen throne and has been playing till this very day!
For your information, Dota is a self revolution game where it is supported by a strong community of players and map creators.

Over all these years, Dota has gain recognition by the community and maps has been changed and updated by this strong community.
Without the need of big companies to support this game, it actually runs by itself and is even played in international games competition!
Next time, lets talk about how is miracle game works and why it has been gaining supporters all over the world. Ciao!

We have purchased our Domains!

You have been given a brief insight of what our platform is about and of course one of the most important things which we were really excited about was to officially get the domains confirmed for our newly chosen name.

It took me quite a while to register our domains was because of the interesting things you can read, explore and learn just from the site There are so many proposed domains from the GoDaddy site when we searching making sure what we wanted had not been taken up. In fact, through the process, I realized a lot of thoughts had to be given just to make sure that the name we want and many other names if we would like to use have to be as best and ideal search name as possible.

You will be surprised at some of the prices that you may have to pay to have a really good domain name. I really learnt a lot and that it is indeed very important to make an effort to really consider the chosen domain name and how it can eventually in all ways drive traffic to our site.

Now that we have taken the step and purchased our domains, next will be for me to do up the set ups and read through all the product info and agreements sent to me! Sigh! Yes yes, I know they are dry stuff but lets look on the brighter side, who knows I may discover something interesting and will definitely share it along the way!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

What does gamerenkei mean?

The word Renkei sound familiar to some and not to all. For those gamers who have played Japanese games, will likely to see this word before. Our meaning of our new startup 'GAME RENKEI' means GAMES CONNECTION.

In layman's term, GAME RENKEI aims to connect not just the game developers and game users, but also the merchanise production portion of the game. Merchanise portion will be a full range of solution which the users will be able to purchase merchanise from the website with their own design + merchanise. On the other end, the games developers will gain income other than just the games offered.

Game Renkei aims to be a new revolution which wil bring closer the games developers near to the world. Lets work hard towards this goal!

Beginning of a journey

Startups are never easy. After months of debating, screaming, tearing at each other's throat et al, we have finally got it together. My team are embarking on a new startup we are calling gamerenkei.

Our vision for the startup is simple. We aim to build a valuable service that is going to be an important piece of gaming's new value chain. As the web is forcing media businesses into a disaggregated model where different parts of the chain will be dominated by specialised, light weight web services. We will see production happening in one place, distribution in another, and monetisation in yet a different place.

Our startup is targeting at the distribution part of the chain where we assist independent game developers in getting their games and/or game videos across different popular services. There are for example plenty of video sharing sites to promote your game videos: Revver, YouTube, Google, Yahoo!, AOL Uncut, vSocial, Veoh, MetaCafe and so forth. Game developers will have to upload to each and every one of these services. It is a pain waiting to be solved and this is what we aim to do.

We will give you more details of our startup as we blog about our journey. We hope you can be part it. Stay tuned!