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Interview with Jason Whong
The world of Mac games from the inside

15-09-2.000

 

 

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 scene.

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 of it?

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 is doomed)

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.

 

 

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15-09-2.000 . Entrevista con Jason Whong - El hombre que comió bichos por Ambrosia nos habla de juegos y Macs.

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