Los Angeles Games Conference - Interview with JJ Lechleiter, Senior Director, Game Studio, Hands-On Entertainment
This is another interview I conducted, after the 2011 Los Angeles Games Conference, with various panelists and attendees. In this article, I spoke with JJ Lechleiter, the Senior Director, Game Studio, of Hands-On Entertainment. Hands-On Entertainment's web-site describes the company as:
Hands-On Entertainment is an award-winning developer and publisher of innovative social games for mobile and online platforms. Its portfolio consists of the critically acclaimed Guitar Hero®Mobile and WPT®Texas Hold 'Em games. Hands-On offers distribution of the world's best entertainment brands and content across mobile and social networks, from partners including Activision, CBS, Discovery Channel, Fox, NBC Universal, and World Poker Tour. Established in 2001, Hands-On Entertainment is headquartered in San Francisco, California.
Lechleiter had participated in the panel Gaming, Film, and Television - How to Develop Successful Transmedia Franchises which can be read about, here. When asked what he took away from the conference, he said two things "The two biggest points were all of the emerging platforms and the integration of greater social emphasis into games."
Facebook was the hot topic at the conference and Lechleiter thinks the site is a positive entity. He said that Facebook didn't really plan for gaming at the beginning. Facebook's process of building the site out he describes as "walking backwards into gaming." Since it wasn't built for gaming, initially, he expects them to have growing pains. Most telling was when he said "it's inexpensive to develop for but expensive to succeed in."
When asked what his thoughts were on the Facebook Credit System, he answered with one word "Ouch." His concern was the higher revenue share that Facebook gets compared to developers' internal billing solutions or 3rd party options. Still, he conceded that if it lead to less friction for the consumer, then it was worthwhile.
The conversation shifted to Playstation Network's outage after the security breach. He offered no strong stance on the matter saying "it was a big event. They handled it the way they did." He indicated Hands-On Entertainment's policy when dealing with big problems is to be transparent and fast acting with the problem. Though, he pointed out, they've never experienced anything like this.