Play and let play, so goes the mantra at we.R.play, a dynamic entrepreneurial venture that is developing casual, fun, and artsy games for Facebook, iPhone and Andriod. Nothing excites this gaming company more that bringing amazing interactive experiences to life.
StartUp magazine had a chitchat with the co-founder and CEO, Mohsin Ali Afzal.
I grew up playing video games and got into CS hoping to make games. I graduated with a degree in Software Engineering from NUST where my final year project was a 3D game engine. I went to work at a gaming startup Trango Interactive where I learned 3D art and animation. After 4 years I went to UC Berkeley for an MBA on Fulbright scholarship. During the summer I worked at Lucas Arts in San Francisco in Product Marketing. I’ve been involved with games production in various roles for arounf 5 years before we.R.play. I feel the diverse experiences; CS knowledge, 3D production, and a business education helped. However, luck was probably the biggest factor, the right team and the right time.
Time to Launch
we had actually registered the domain werplay.com in 2008 when I was in Berkeley and Waqar was in Sweden. When I got back from my MBA in 2010, we decided we might as well try and make a go of it. We started in August 2010 and it’s been a great ride thus far. The timing worked out for us since mobile gaming was really taking off and we managed to partner with some pretty awesome clients. We were also lucky being able to get some really fantastic, young people on our team.
We’ve been really lucky thus far. We didn’t envision or plan growing this quickly or this big. When we started out, we’d hoped to get a team of maybe 12. Great as the growth may be, it’s not something we are overly concerned about. It’s important for us to be sustainable as a business. The most important thing for us is to cultivate a culture where every day is fun and productive.
It is a good feeling when we see our games featured or being played by thousands. However, we still have a long way to go to where we want to be. For me, the most exciting thing is to come in everyday and work with an awesome, passionate team.
Run, Sheeda, Run and All the Fun
Run Sheeda Run is focused on the Pakistani audience and has tons of local humor, desi gags, and the city of Lahore as the backdrop. One of the things that our players have really enjoyed is the humorous dialogues in Urdu. The rickshaw rider powerup is also very popular. The RSR team is focused on some really exciting updates, which include a new city, new landmarks in Lahore, new characters, and a new ride-able vehicle.
Giving Power Back to the Player
We’re still figuring out how to improve our games and there are many indie developers who are doing a much better job than us of developing unique, original titles. I feel we still have some way to go before we get to where we want to be in terms of our own games.
Most Common Issue Faced by Clients
I think the most common issue would be lack of communication. For anyone doing services, having open, honest communication with your clients is key. Avoiding is should be pretty simple, just make sure you’re communicating regularly. Have the courage to communicate the bad things timely. Make sure you’re managing expectations.
Emerging Industry Trends
VR seems like it could be finally getting ready for the big time with some pretty interesting developments. PBR (physically based rendering) is an exciting trend in real-time rendering and console level games and mobile devices are going big.
2015 & Beyond
I hope we can sustain our culture of respect, hard work and fun. We would aspire to be able to continue to make games that we want to make and keep providing growth opportunities to our team. Everything more would be an awesome bonus.
For People Hoping to Enter the Gaming Industry
I would tell them to make sure they are entering the industry for the right reasons. A lot of people have misconceptions that mobile apps/games are quick, easy money. I would ask people to make sure they actually enjoy making games instead of just doing it for the money. If you do it for the money, you might get lucky, but there’s a very big change you will be disappointed. However, if you’re really passionate about games, you’ll have fun and hopefully in the long run be able to make a successful career out of it as well.