I thought there were some interesting questions to follow up the initial Q&A. Thankfully, Rick Ellis was kind enough to take the time to answer some of those questions.
Rick Ellis Extended Experience Follow-Up Questions
First, I've been curious about how developers have gotten started in the mobile app market, considering it's so new. What's the story of how you've gotten to lead the Extended Experience Team at ArenaNet?
Heh, how many pages can I use to answer that question?J I guess the short answer to a very long story is that throughout my career I’ve had numerous “crazy ideas” that I was somehow able to convince people to let me try.
During a job interview with [ArenaNet Studio Head] Mike O’Brien, he asked where I thought games were going and I passionately rattled off a bunch of “this is what games should be doing, etc.” I thought Mike was asking a philosophical question, but apparently he wasn’t! Needless to say, I was hired and have been given a chance to try bring to life more “crazy ideas,” a few of which you’ve already seen us demonstrate.
It sounds like many of the apps your team is devising are unlike any we've seen from other MMOs. How does it feel to be a sort of pioneer in MMO app development?
It’s really fun to see fan reactions, especially to features that haven’t been implemented before. I hadn’t really thought of it as pioneering, as much as building features that just “make sense” using today’s technology.
To follow up the previous question, have you taken inspiration from any other games or apps that are on the market?
What inspires me are studios (and the games they make) that live by the “no compromise” rule. These studios don’t allow anything less than their best into their games, their websites, interviews, etc. These studios include Valve,Epic, RockSteady, and, of course, ArenaNet.
I've got a technical 'noob' question. Which system is easier to develop for: iPhone/iPad or Android?
We’re equally adept at developing for both platforms, so I can’t really say which is “easier.”We feel it’s important to provide the same level of support to both platforms (and web) for our features.
You stated in the Q&A you plan to provide functionality to general web users. To follow up that Q&A, are there plans to open up the API to the community at all? For example, if a guild wanted to make a specially made app or use the API for a special tool on their site. Or are you keeping the development closer to home?
Initially, development will stay internal to ArenaNet so that we can control the quality and integrity of the apps our players use. A major concern of allowing others to develop apps that are then distributed to our players is security. We would need to make sure that unscrupulous players don’t develop and distribute destructive applications.So to answer your question, we don’t have any specific plans for this right now. It’s something we’ll have to re-evaluate in the future.
You've mentioned apps in your initial blog post. Can we look forward to any Facebook or other social network integrations? A Guild Wars 2 Facebook game perhaps?
I can’t comment on our plans for other social integration right now other than to say nothing has been ruled out.
Is there a set number of apps the team is looking to release, or is it a take-it-as-it-comes approach?
We don’t have a set number of apps that we’re going to create. As long as we can find ways to extend the experience beyond the PC, we’ll continue to work on new apps and enhance existing apps.
Final question. Are there plans regarding the pricing of these apps? Is this perhaps one avenue to monetize, considering the game is free-to-play?
We haven’t solidified our plans on pricing yet, but I can tell you that we won’t be charging a monthly fee to use them.
Thank you to Rick Ellis for taking the time to answer these questions for us.