Interview with CTXM (Udy Yosha & Ethan Clark)

    Today we are here with Udy Yosha who is the CEO and Ethan Clark the game studio manager for CTXM.  It is time to see beyond the game and look into a company that helps out both the Gamer and Developer.  So now on to the interview with out any other delays on my part. 

ATC 1982:  Please tell us a little about your company as many people will not recognize who your company is right away? 

Udy: CTXM is a software development company which specializes in developing games for the casual segment, console games (Xbox in particular) and the Internet gambling industry. The company has business and development centers in the US, UK, Israel, Latvia, and Belarus. As a company we are working in a distributed manner where we have clients and cooperate with partners all around the globe. CTXM was a pioneer in development for the consoles live arcades. We ported more than half of the titles (8) for the original Xbox Live Arcade including blockbuster titles from companies in the west such as Bejeweled, Feeding Frenzy, as well as premier content from our partners in the east, like Dino & Aliens and Alien Sky. This gave us a jump start into LIVE Arcade for Xbox 360, where we have already released eight games. probably the most well-known titles we have developed are Heavy weapon for PopCap Games and Puzzle Arcade in conjunction with Say Design for Eidos. We will release a major movie based game in spring 2009. We were also pioneers in taking casual games into the gambling arena (known as soft/fix-odds games). We took some steps forward from our beginnings and currently offer an end -to -end solution, which is build on our own integration platform and offering together with our partners a one-stop-shop solution. 

Ethan: Last year we released a new product, GamingOS, which combines both domains and enables us and third party developers to launch casual and gambling games within a browser window. The platform makes supporting multiplayer easy and can be deployed on popular social networking sites. (We currently maintain a social networking application under the “YouZang” brand at Facebook.com, Friendter.com, myspace.com, and vkontakte.ru) GamingOS is an exciting platform for site owners who are looking for a drop-in solution that will add exciting games and community features to their online holding. One way to think of GamingOS is a content management system (WordPress, Drupl, etc.) for everything gaming, its community features are based on leading connected console gaming systems, and it has a flexible integration with e-commerce systems.  

ATC 1982: Since you are in to Digital Distribution what are some of your goals for this year in 2009?  Also how will the success in the past years help you achieve the ones for this year? 

Udy: I believe that we managed to get recognition due to the fact that we never missed a delivery or budget. This is surprisingly quite rare in the consoles domain since we see that about 50% of the projects do not manage to finish and launch. The latest games we have been developing for XBLA required a large amount of design input from us and were larger in scope than prior projects.. It is our intention to move away from our port-focused roots to activities that add more to the value chain, from publishing our own IP parallel to building games for major IP holders. In the gambling domain we have started to merge casual games into betting titles and we hope to single out as providers of true gaming experience for gamblers.  

ATC 1982: While using all means of Digital Distribution from Cell Phones, XBL and PC.  Will we see any Digital Distribution on your end also on the Wii Ware and the Playstation Network (PSN)? 

Udy: we have a broad range of activities in the gaming space. We are already developing certain games for iPhone and Wii. I believe that iPhone is a great step forward for game developers in the mobile space since the market is controlled by the operators and aggregators and a very small opportunity is left to the developers. We will be looking with great interest into the other platforms of this generation.   

ATC 1982:  What is one of your past venues that have contributed to your success in this Market and can you explain why? 

Udy: it is my belief that our combined background with financial systems, online games, e-commerce and console game development enabled us to provide on the higher standards of software delivery and better gameplay to the games we produced, as well as offering a diverse skill set to our clients.

ATC 1982:   With having so many resources available to you.  What are some of the things that make you stand out for a company to want your services over anyone else? 

Udy: I do not know what is meant by “So many resources” since according to my experience usually you have too much when you are not required and too little when you are in demand. Though, I would like to think that our services were needed due to combined quality and low risk stemming from our reliable performance. In the future, it will be due to the amazing success of our applications, I hopeJ

Ethan: Taking Xbox development as an example, we have an outstanding team that has brought nearly a score of games to market since the inception of the platform. We know what we are doing and we offer an end-to-end solution for companies looking to produce an Xbox Live Arcade title. Give us a spec, or a concept, and we will see it through to launch, on-time, on-budget and we will make it look great. Puzzle Arcade was a great example and you will see more in the near future. 

ATC 1982: With having Developers like PopCap Games going to you for Publishing.  How has this helped bring other companies to look for you in support?   

Udy: Popcap, Oberon and IWIN came to us for development in what was new type of distribution channel. Fortunately we managed to prove superior output when it came to multiplayer support (I believe XBLA 360 Heavy Weapon was the most advanced in its time). It is hard to me to compare clients to one another, but what I can say is that the Microsoft Arcade team is an excellent partner to work with and they have given the industry an outstanding platform to work with.  

ATC 1982:  Which platform of distribution is easier for you whether it is in the form of PC, Cell Phone or Console?  Also which if you had to choose would be your preferred choice? 

Udy: Consoles and the iPhone present us with better possibilities due to the predefined platform and target market. Additionally consoles fit our capabilities due to higher entry requirements and the iPhone due to its resemblance to a console and the defined set of requirements (as opposed to mother mobile phones.)

ATC 1982: How many people do you have working on your gaming side of the business and how many projects do you have going at any one time? 

Udy: we have about 50 people working on games and about 6-10 projects simultaneously.

ATC 1982: In the Game Distribution can you let us know one of your projects you are currently working on that is not known yet? 

Yes, we work on a medium scale movie -themed game with a major Publisher. I believe the information will be released in the beginning of February. I am afraid I cannot say more at this time  

 Thank you for taking the time out for this interview.  Continue to do great work and look forward to the fruits of what you all do behind the scenes.

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