Most of you have heard of
Jason Whong, if only as the man who took up the
pledge by Ambrosia to eat a real -if cooked- bug
for every software bug found in an Ambrosia released
product. But if that was spectacular (and it was the
hottest event at last NY Macworld Expo), what
he's been through in the last months is bound to be
even more important to the Mac software development
This summer, Jason was hired
as president of Bunch Media, a project attempting
to leverage the strenghts of several small developers
(some of them very well known names in the Mac scene)
to give them the clout of a big one. We tried to get
in touch with him then.
But, before the ink in the press
releases was dry, he was off to the Marketing management
of another new outfit, one that's about to bring to
the Mac several portings of very good PC games, and
that aims to produce its own. We managed to nail him
down in his fourth day in office at United Developers
and finally got our curiosity sated... and got some
brand new data too:
Macuarium -What was the
motivation behind Bunch Media?
Jason - Bunch Media was
formed by Freeverse, Monkey Byte, Green Dragon, Delta
Tao, and A-Sharp because each thought that by sharing
resources, they would stand a better chance of success
than alone. Size is very important, and by teaming up,
Bunch looked bigger than the sum of its parts.
Macuarium - What's come
Jason - Bunch still exists.
I am no longer president, because I am not employed
by an investor in the company. I am, however, still
an at-large member of the Board of Directors.
Macuarium - What made
United Developers a better project?
Jason - I really liked
their offer, and I think UD stands a chance at becoming
amajor player in the Mac games publishing space in the
coming years. This is not to say that the potential
didn't exist for Bunch; I still believe in it, which
is why I remain on the Board. United Developers really
wanted me on their roster, though, and made me an offer
no sane person in my situation would have refused.
Macuarium - Give us
your general vision of the Mac gaming landscape (you
know some commentators have said that even PC gaming
Jason - I think that
it's only going to get better as time goes on. Consider
the amount of money being invested in Mac development
by companies like Blizzard, which bought out Future
Point (the company that it had been contracting its
Mac development to). Consider the new company formed
by Peter Tamte to bring Microsoft's games to Mac. Finally,
consider us. I don't think there would be this level
of investment if there were no expected return.
Macuarium - Something
to say on Ambrosia and the shareware model?
Jason - I think shareware
is an excellent model for smaller games, but as games
get larger in scope, ambition, and file size, online
distribution becomes less realistic. Ambrosia recognized
this when they put Ferazel's wand on its own CD.
Shareware is a great model,
though. Since sales are entirely direct, you know the
names and addresses of 100% of your customers, and you
don't have to give anyone (distributors, resellers)
a cut. That's the way it should be.