Yesterday, Total Immersion (TI) and Int13 – both French augmented reality companies – announced a strategic partnership, in which Int13 would help TI cover a major gap in its product line: Mobile Augmented Reality.
A French kiss or a Russian bear hug?
Instead of guessing, we went out to speak with Stéphane Cocquereaumont, president and lead developer at In13, the mobile games boutique studio behind an AR game legend: Kweekies (“when is it coming out?”).
Ori: Congratulations Stéphane! This must be a big shift for Int13.
Stéphane: Thanks. We started discussions with TI back in April, so we knew where this was going for some time now.
Ori: What was TI’s motivation to approach Int13?
Stéphane: TI approached us because their clients kept asking for “360″ solutions. While TI is strong with large installations, live shows, and PC based experiences – their mobile AR line needed a boost.
Ori: …and what about Int13? You had it going as an independent studio with Kweekies, first on Nokia and then on the iPhone.
Stéphane: We have been flooded with requests from marketing agencies about mobile AR campaigns. At first we tried to adress those requests, but we soon realized managing their expectations in terms of delays, pricing and capabilities of the tech posed a huge overhead, and was distracting us from our goals.
Ori: So, you decided to “outsource” the headache and focus on your product?
Stéphane: Exactly. TI will work with the marketing agencies and other players asking for quick mobile AR applications. We will offer them our tech embedded in a nice and clean SDK with a Lua API, easy to use but with limited flexibility.
Ori: You make TI happy, yet keep the full power to yourself. Make sense. What can you reveal about the business terms?
Stéphane: For TI this partnership means they have a working mobile AR SDK, with worldwide exclusive rights for two years. They pay an annual license fee, plus royalties on all the projects they deliver with our tech.
This should be a win-win partnership.
Ori (note to self): [...more of a French kiss than a Russian bear hug.]
Stéphane: We’ve also made a deal with another french company, the project will be shown during CES in January 2010; very exciting project but I can’t say anything about it for now.
Ori: Thanks for teasing us. Can’t wait to see it.
Stéphane: We’re also discussing with device makers, we’ve been to Korea last month, and we’ll release our first AR game very soon (September or October) in Korea. The game will first be available on the SKT network, on Samsung devices.
Ori: Wow. You’re unstoppable.
Stéphane: Wait, there’s more – we’ll soon publish a preview video of ARDefender; it’s a simple game to help players discovers the capabilities of AR.
Ori: Fantastic. And when will we be able to finally play the legendary Kweekies?
Stéphane: Kweekies is delayed…too many other projects on the plate for our small team. We still intend to release it by Christmas – though we can’t promise…
Ori: Awww…that’s a downer…any good news to close with a positive note?
Stéphane: Yes, I got something for you – we’ll soon reveal a new demo of ARWiz 2, the next iteration of our AR tech, faster and much more robust.
Ori: That’s a great comeback. Thanks for sharing the story behind the scenes, Stéphane.