This Founder Says The Future Of Competitive Gaming Is On Our Smartphones
Alexander Mistakidis, cofounder of Gamelynx, a mobile game studio for competitive gamers, is bullish on the future of competitive gaming on smartphones. With e-Sports growing in popularity, there’s no reason for mobile competitive gaming to support that overall growth. Gamelynx has recently raised $1.2 million in funding from various VCs such as M Ventures and traditional gaming companies like Riot Games. Mistakidis is an alum of Y-Combinator, the famed San Francisco-based startup accelerator, and a graduate of the University of Waterloo with a degree in Computer Science.
Frederick Daso: How did you decide that your main audience would be hardcore gamers on mobile devices, rather than casual players?
Alexander Mistakidis: We are life-long hardcore gamers on PC who love team-based competitive games. We’re excited to bring those action-packed social experiences to mobile in a way that’s accessible to both PC gamers and mobile gamers. We believe our game has a compelling experience for players of all skill and commitment levels.
The problem is there aren’t many great hardcore multiplayer games that you can be casual at. In traditional sports, a typical sports fan doesn’t need to know all of the details of a competition to enjoy it. We believe this can be done well in eSport competitive gaming too, and we think mobile is the ideal medium for a game like that.
Daso: Let’s talk about the hardcore/casual dichotomy. The common perception is that a game developer can’t cater to both groups of players. How do you create a competitive game that can attract casual players on mobile as well?
Mistakidis: I look at it as more of a spectrum, it could be super competitive or super casual, and you can have fun either way. I think that a lot of the tremendous competitive games have been made cater to both kinds of people. On the other hand, some of these games are so complex that if you don’t start with competitive and you don’t get into the game, and I think that is a shame.
Daso: When I think of a competitive mobile game, the first thing that comes to mind is Vainglory, developed by Super Evil Megacorp, for both iOS and Android. I believe that is the best example of a competitive game on mobile. Are you trying to make a game similar to Vainglory at Gamelynx, or are you moving in a completely different direction?
Mistakidis: I think Vainglory is exciting, but it doesn’t solve a lot of the problems that the current generation of competitive games have. In a lot of ways, they took some impressive leaps to bring it to mobile in the way that they did, but a lot of the core gameplay is reminiscent to another multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games on PC. That is a significant first step and is a cool game, but we’re looking to make a new generation of e-Sports over something that’s differentiated from what you could expect on a different platform that isn’t on mobile. By having that level of flexibility of game design, we are hoping to make something that is a bit more accessible than a game like Vainglory and has new avenues for depth.
Daso: One thing we haven’t fully considered is the accessibility of a game. I believe that’s most likely the most significant barrier when it comes to any game’s mass adoption. Let’s say your future game is trending well on mobile, and there’s substantial demand for a console version. Would you guys be willing to port your game to different platforms?
Mistakidis: Absolutely, I think we’re open to the idea of doing it. We’re focused on mobile at the forefront as we believe that’s an essential piece to figure out. But, because we are building our game on the Unity, a cross-platform game engine, we are capable of deploying to those other platforms pretty efficiently in the future, if we wanted to.
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This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and readability.