Interview with Garth Chouteau of PopCap Games

18 05 2010

PopCap Games was started in the year 2000 by John Vechey, Brian Fiete and Jason Kapalka in Seattle Washington. The developers first title was a simple gem-swapping game named Bejeweled. Now 10 years later Bejeweled is still adding to its already amazing 50 million units sold, not to mention during this time PopCap still managed to produce other quality games like Peggle, Plants vs. Zombies and Zuma just to name a few. Over the years PopCap has cemented its name as a top tier developer as well as a fan favorite.

I recently had the unique opportunity to interview VP of Communications at PopCap Garth Chouteau. In this interview he reflects on the past 10 years as well as gives us a glimpse of what the next 10 years may hold for PopCap and the industry as a whole.

Continue Reading for the full interview.

CONTINUE READING

Advertisements




Interview with Nicholas Holland of Side Hobby

26 10 2009

I wrote a brief article not too long ago about a recent iPhone obsession of mine called gpsAssassins; if you haven’t checked it out please do so. Due to that obsession and my obvious persistent nature I recently had the opportunity to ask Nicholas Holland CEO of Side Hobby, who developed gpsAssassins, a few questions about their game along with the overall challenges that arise when developing for the iPhone. Check out the full written exchange below. Enjoy!

CONTINUE READING





Interview with Sev1512 of PlayStation LifeStyle

18 03 2009

PSLS

In this month’s interview I had the special opportunity to interview Sev1512 Owner/Editor-in-Chief of a highly successful PlayStation centered website located at PlayStationLifeStyle.net. During this exchange we discussed many things such as: his experience creating and running his own website, his background and a few of his favorite games. Check out the full exchange below.

BTDP: First off, tell me a little about yourself.

I am owner and editor-in-chief of PlayStation LifeStyle. I am a 26 year old union carpenter from Boston turned gaming journalist. I am a family man first. I love my wife Karissa and my daughter Ava, who was just born this past September. I have been gaming since I was 3, and have owned every major console since the NES.

Editors note: Congrats on the baby, my daughter is truly a blessing but has me wrapped around her finger. Be careful! 🙂

BTDP: At your site, http://playstationlifestyle.net, viewers can find relevant PlayStation news. What else can any viewers expect to find?

At PlayStationLifeStyle.net you can find reviews, trophy guides, and a thriving community. Not only can you find those things, you encounter our personalities and our love for gaming as well. We are gamers, we made our site for gamers, and we write our reviews and news from a gamer perspective.

BTDP: When did you first start PlayStation LifeStyle? How did you come up with it?

I wanted to have a site that talked about how PlayStation is part of my life and the lives of most PlayStation gamers like myself. Thus PlayStationLifeStyle was born. I created PlayStation LifeStyle on May 19th, 2008, so as you can see we have come a long way in a short amount of time.

BTDP: Your site was initially a wordpress.com blog, correct? What was the process you took to present day?

Well, I had some friendly acquaintances that worked at SCEA, and I was privy to some information, so I decided to create a wordpress blog. On March 26th, 2008, I created sev1512.wordpress.com.  It became rather successful quickly, so I decided I would take it further. We actually remained on the free wordpress.com service up until March 1st of this year. I got sick of all of the limitations, so I switched to my own host, and I chose to use a customized wordpress.org setup.

BTDP: What was your motivation to start your site?

My motivation, honestly, was to live a life-long dream of being part of the gaming industry. As long as I can remember I was reading EGM (may it rest in peace) and thought, “Hey, I could do that”, and here I am today, reviewing games, talking to developers, and publishers, I even attended last year’s E3, and intend to again this year.

BTDP: What did you hope would come from your site?

Well at first I wasn’t sure at all what I wanted out of my site. I mostly wanted to expose info that wasn’t yet ready to be uncovered. But that didn’t always work in my favor. It pissed of quite a bit of developers and pissed off Sony, which is counter-productive when running a PlayStation website. So I had a policy change. Now my main goal is to bring PlayStation gamers the news that they want to read, as well as giving the users a community where they feel like we are one of them. We read our news. I can’t tell you how many times I visited my own site only to read news I hadn’t seen yet. We post the news we (and consequently, gamers) would want to read.

BTDP: How were you able to get so much success in such a sort amount of time?

I wish I had a more definite answer for that…but I’d say it was a combination of determination, finding the right staff, and a whole lot of luck.

BTDP: How did you initially promote your site?

We did the normal social site submissions (N4G, Digg and such). But most of our readership came from the official PlayStation forums, as I was and still am an active member of that community. We also have made it on the PlayStation.Blog a couple of times now, which is an honor.

BTDP: Did you ever think you would have been this successful?

Actually, I really didn’t. I never would have imagined, in today’s world full of gaming sites, that I would be successful. I am truly lucky. I really appreciate each and every person who visits my site, and I try my best to show it. My community knows that, and I think that is why they keep coming back.

BTDP: How did/do you plan to set yourself apart from other news sites?

The majority of gaming sites’ staff seem to be very serious. When you comment on JoyStiq or other big name sites, you never hear from the authors or editors. For all we know, they might not even like gaming or even own a PS3…I live and breathe PlayStation and have for the past decade. I even game with my readers. That connection with the community is what sets us apart. Our readers aren’t just readers, they are friends that live PlayStation right along side of me.

BTDP: What were your initial plans to monetize your site, have those plans changed?

I originally had no plans at all to monetize the site. It was something I wanted to do, but since I was using free wordpress.com software, we couldn’t use ads. Making money off doing something I love wasn’t a concern to me, which is why I always took such offense to people who said “they do it for hits”…things have changed, my daughter was born, and the economy has slid into a recession. Due to those reasons exactly, I had to reconsider financial gain, and only this past month added some advertisements to the site. They haven’t really started paying off yet, but I am confident they will.

BTDP: What do you hope to gain from this site? A career?

Well, I am not really looking for a career. If that happens, great! In the mean time, I enjoy what I do, and I will keep at it as long as I can. At this point I feel I have a responsibility to my readers, and I feel compelled to fulfill that responsibility as best as I can.

BTDP: What kind of opportunities has this site given you?

It has given me the opportunity to live out a childhood dream. It has given me a chance to attend E3. I get early review copies of games and I am in direct contact with developers and publishers that make the industry I love so much thrive. All of these opportunities I am grateful for.

BTDP: What’s one thing that has surprised you through this process?

Aside from the success, would have to be the support from fans. There are a few people on N4G that love to bash me and the site. It puts a huge smile across my face when I see people come to defend me. I feel bad that they feel they have to, but the fact they feel that myself and my site are worth defending is the best thank you I could get.

BTDP: At what specific time do you remember knowing your site had an impact?

Probably when we were featured on the PS.Blog the first time. I realized then that I had at least a small effect on the gaming industry, which was enough for me.

BTDP: What has been your biggest accomplishment, regarding PlayStation LifeStyle?

My biggest accomplishment is having so many return visitors. Sure, unique are good on paper, but return visitors and regulars are what make me the happiest.

BTDP: What was your biggest mistake?

My biggest mistake was posting rumors. While I still do from time to time, I make sure I get the ok to write it up as a “rumor”, that way I don’t piss anyone off.

BTDP: What is your all-time favorite game?

That is a tough one, since there are so many good games out there. If I had to choose one, I would say it was Chrono Trigger for SNES. My favorite series, on the other hand, would have to be Metal Gear Solid.

BTDP: What is your favorite game of this generation?

Metal Gear Solid 4. Hideo Kojima is just an incredible video game designer.

BTDP: What game(s) are you currently playing?

I am currently playing Killzone 2 and Street Fighter IV.  My nickname is Sev (my last name IS Severino, after all), so playing Killzone 2 and seeing that the main character is named Sev is a real treat.

BTDP: Any advice to others trying to duplicate your success?

Persevere. Running a website can get rough and very difficult. It’s hard to get attention in such a crowded industry. As long as you are determined and stick with it no matter what, you are bound to have some success. Always remain true to who you are and remain focused on your goals.

BTDP: You recently had a major change to your site, tell us about that.

Glad you noticed! I wanted a new look, and I wanted a more dynamic and content-filled home page. So we hired the talented Nate from heroicdreams.com (whose clients include N4G, and Gametrailers.com and others) and he took my vision and made it a reality. The response from users so far has been incredible. Everyone really seems to like it. It’s much more professional looking than what we had before, and we hope that it helps take us even further, helping us to achieve our goal of growing as a reliable and trusted gaming industry news source.

BTDP: What are your plans for the future?

I plan to relax, haha! The site change has really taken a lot out of me. All of the preparations, all of the planning…we even had some major server outages that lasted a couple days at a time. We got way too much traffic for the host we were using. We now have our own server, and things are working smoothly now. So I can finally breathe and relax for at least the immediate future.

Although based on what has happened in my life, I find that you cannot really plan for the future, you can only deal with the present as best as you can. So I take one day at a time, and try to make the most out of each and every day.

BTDP: Anything else you would like to add?

Yes, I would like to add that I appreciate you interviewing me, I wish you the best of luck in your future, and one final important thing…..

Visit PlayStationLifeStyle.net!

Again I would like to thank Sev1512 for agreeing to do this with me and taking time out of his busy schedule. If you haven’t checked out their site  filled with great writers and a solid community head over to www.PlayStationLifeStyle.net right now. I would like to wish them continued success in everything they do.

If you enjoyed this particular exchange and would like to check out any of our other interviews feel free to check them out here. Also keep the feedback and suggestions coming on future installments of this feature by leaving a comment below or emailing us directly. In the meantime check out our other articles by taking a virtual stroll around the site.

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl





Interview with Bill Seaver from MicroExplosion Media

14 02 2009

logo

This is the second entry in what I hope to be a continued monthly feature where I get the opportunity to interview someone in the gaming/blogging culture. If you would like to check out any of the previous interviews they will all be archived here as will all the future interviews.  So check back often to ensure you don’t miss out on any of them.

However, this month I was lucky enough to speak with blogging coach and social media marketer Bill Seaver from MicroExplosion Media. During this chat we discussed, among other things, the many issues that arise when starting a blog and how to be more efficient. You can listen to the entire 42 minute exchange by either the embedded audio player below or by downloading the mp3. Enjoy!

Download Link (Right Click, save link as)

Again I would like to continue to make this a monthly contribution so if you liked this particular interview then drop us a comment below, or better yet a suggestion on who you would like to see us interview. In the meantime feel free to take a virtual tour and check out all of the other articles.

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl





Interview with Doc at Sarcastic Gamer

23 12 2008

I recently had the magnificent opportunity to interview “Doc Adams”, founder of a highly successful community & blog located at www.sarcasticgamer.com. In this written exchange via email he was nice enough to divulge his experiences with his website as well as some tips for bloggers just starting out. Check out the full exchange below.

First off, Tell me a little about yourself

I’m Doc. Gemini. Gamer. Husband. Dad. Coast Guard Vet. I work in radio in Houston, TX.

At your site www.sarcasticgamer.com viewers can find relevant gaming news, what else can visitors expect to find?

Actually we really aren’t what I would call a news site. I don’t know what I would call us. It’s sort of a blog, mostly a community, flanked by some pretty killer podcasts. It’s sort of like gamer entertainment.

You were also recently involved in a charity event, tell us about that.

Extra Life was a wildly popular charity event that raised 115 thousand dollars in 24 hours to fight pediatric cancer. More than 1500 gamers from over a hundred different gaming communities participated. We’re FLOORED by the response we got… and have high hopes for the next one.

How did it turn out, how successful was it?

In so many ways yes. Monetarily the event raised four times what we had set as our goal. But more than that it raised awareness of the disease and gave a lot of people a place to talk about something that affects almost all of us in some way. All in all… a heck of a great event.

When did you first start sarcastic gamer? How did you come up with sarcastic gamer?

I was bored at work one day and just started writing some stuff. At about the same time I met the guys from GCN’s Video Game Show and Gamertag Radio. I started contributing a couple of little things to them, and when I saw the responses I realized that maybe there was a demand for that type of humor in the game-o-sphere.

From there, it snowballed into modern day

How long was it in development for?

It is STILL in development. Heh!

What was your motivation to start your site?

Boredom and the insatiable need to entertain people… or at least think I am.

What did you hope would come from this site?

I wanted to create an entertainment platform where the rules were whatever I wanted them to be. Thanks to my partners and staff that is happening. Sarcastic Gamer isn’t any one thing… Heck it might be something different to each of us. So… there’s your ambiguous answer. I wanted everything and expected nothing.

Did you ever think you would have been this successful?

Hoped for it… never expected it. Expectation is the mother of complacency in my opinion. But as thankful as we are for every member and listener we have, I also feel we have worked hard to earn their trust. Success is something we’re heading for. If we ever arrive we probably won’t even realize it, because we’re constantly shifting our goals to keep them ahead of reality. We can’t afford to get lazy.

How did you initially promote your site and gain traffic?

Parody Videos. We still haven’t spent a cent to promote Sarcastic Gamer. We take our ideas, produce them, release them, and sit back and hope Kotaku or Joystiq or GoNintendo will pick it up and like it. I think most of our community will tell you they found their way in by way of a parody song or podcast. The podcasts are sort of a self-perpetuating thing. Once you crack the top echelon you have a full time presence on iTunes… pretty much invaluable real estate. That in turn brings the peeps which rates the show even higher and so on and so forth. We worked hard to get up there, and continue to do so to stay there… because there’s always another show, or TV-network trying to knock you off.

How did you plan to set yourself apart from other sites?

Our people. Whereas most sites promote themselves, we usually promote the personalities of our podcasters and writers. This has its caveats but at the end of the day, if someone wanted to copy us, they’d have to hire us. Because there is only one… US.

What were your initial plans to monetize your site? Have those plans changed?

We’re in debt to our eyeballs but the future looks bright. We’ve stayed afloat with banner ads and an occasional podcast sponsorship. We do have HOPES to make enough to do this full time, but until then we’ll keep our day jobs and keep providing the service to our readers and listeners that they deserve. Their support is crucial. We also sell T-Shirts. (sarcasticgamer.com/store plug plug)

What kind of opportunities has this site given to you?

The chance to see some pretty neat things. I’ve been to Seattle to meet the folks from Microsoft Surface; I went to E3, Quakecon (twice), PAX, and CES this January. But the best “opportunity” is the most obvious one, getting to work with this incredible team of people. We’re like the bad news bears. We all have at least one position we play very well… When we keep that in mind and work to our strengths we do amazing things… every time.

What do you hope to gain from this site, would you like to make it a career?

A job. Yes!

At what specific time do you remember knowing your site had an impact?

I don’t think we’ve even begun to impact anything yet. Just wait. 2009 is going to be awesome

Your best memory?

Just before my friend Tori died of leukemia, the community came together and bought her a bunch of games and an Xbox, the money came in like 2 hours. Almost more than we could spend. She lit UP when she saw that stuff. I’ll never forget that incredible generosity.

What was the biggest mistake you made?

I never counted on having such an incredible team at my side. I tried to do it all myself for a long while. Learning to delegate and let eager folks do more… hardest lesson I learned.

What one thing did you do right the first time?

Choosing my podcast partners for the Red Show. No question.

Your advice to others sites trying to duplicate your success?

Good Luck! Work hard. Do what you say you are gonna do. Pray. Shore up your marriages… It takes a toll.

What are your plans for the future?

Just watch. Where we’re going… we don’t need… roads.

Again I would like to thank Doc Adams for taking time out of his busy schedule and agreeing to do this with me. If you would like to know more about his site or become a part of a wonderful community point your cursor to www.sarcasticgamer.com. Better yet help support their efforts and buy a T-Shirt while your ears consume their vocal melodies on one of many podcasts they offer.

In the future, if people respond in a positive note, I would like to make these interviews a regular contribution in this site. So, if you enjoyed this particular exchange of words in the form of an interview and have any ideas for future installments with somebody in the gaming and or blogging culture leave a comment below or contact me directly with your suggestions. In the meantime take a virtual stroll around and check out the other articles.

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl