HALF BRICK BLASTS OFF FOR SONY

Since Halfbrick Studios was started in 2001 by Shainiel Deo, the games developer has made handheld versions of some of the world’s most popular games.

More recently the company has embarked on its own creations for Xbox and Sony.

Halfbrick marketing and communications manager Phil Larsen, expects Xbox arcade game Raskulls to be released by the end of March, with a substantial international market through the Microsoft platform.

“Microsoft uploads your games for you and customers can access via their television or via a credit or prepaid card, similar to what’s done with iTunes,” says Larsen.

“The only controls that can limit us are where the consoles are available and whether we’ve done translations, but we translate our games for most places,” he says.

The developer began by taking on small contracts from Brisbane heavyweight Krome Studios, creating a Gameboy version of international hit Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, before securing contracts with other large gaming companies.

“We then did some games for Nickelodeon, Spongebob and Avatar, which isn’t anything to do with the recent movie, but was an original Japanese-style cartoon,” he says.

“That was up until the end of 2008 and then we worked on Marvel superheroes games for the Nintendo DS, before we started going about our own original titles with digital platforms.”

But despite high profile contracts offering between $500,000 and $1.5 million, Larsen says a balance is needed by creating original games, with large potential benefits if they succeed.

“You still need to get a contract with Sony or Microsoft to get your game out there, but it’s easier to do that than trying to persuade a publisher before you’ve made the game,” he says.

In November Halfbrick released a range of downloadable games called Blast Off, which is available on the Sony PlayStation network.

Halfbrick Studios has 35 staff and Larsen hopes to take on more employees this year.

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