This past week we announced our investment into Origami, a new game engine being built by LA-based Vital Reality. It’s led by industry veterans Mike Haller and Roberto Rodriguez — two people who have been around the block when it comes to game development and publishing. Mike heads up the business and Roberto is leading an outstanding group of developers keen to disrupt the way games are made. Roberto has spent a good portion of his career re-architecting and fixing AAA games for releases that have run behind schedule with development issues. He’s earned his stripes solving tough technical problems for studios (such as at Activision’s Call of Duty studio, Infinity Ward). For some time now Roberto’s been thinking about what a better game engine could look like, which is coming to fruition in Origami.
I won’t get into the details of the engine, but I will mention a couple of key concepts: it’s built for the cloud and it has a modular architecture. The promise of cloud gaming is enchanting and we truly do believe in it, but there are technical limitations that often make it difficult for game developers with their current toolset. Origami is built in such a way that it helps mitigate a lot of these limitations by taking better advantage of the resources available to the game developer.
The timing is ideal for new technology that can fully access the power of modern chipsets that will drive both cloud gaming and the new consoles from PlayStation and Xbox. The modular architecture of the engine and its data driven design is important because it allows Origami to update specific portions of the engine without affecting the whole system. For developers, this means two things: not worrying about engine updates for your games and an easier way to integrate third party systems.
People, technology, and market; we’re investing in all three with Origami. We expect cloud gaming to change the market in the future and Origami has the right team and technology to lead the way. We couldn’t be more thrilled to join them on the journey. A beta-release of the engine for select studios is expected later this year, we are excited to provide more information about the engine when it is available to the public.
Valve is typically a black box when it comes to Steam but they offer interesting insights during its annual Year in Review blog post. Most notably, they announced that Steam surpassed last year’s 90M MAUs and hit nearly 95M in 2019 (5.55% increase). Steam continues to be the premier digital distribution platform and nothing indicates this will change in the near term.
Multiple publishers over the last 12 months have announced that they would release their own platforms alongside their game launchers but with Steams brand recognition it will be hard to convince publishers or developers to use another platform even if fees are drastically different.