Hatch could be the most revolutionary mobile platform to release in 2017. While that might sound like marketing hype, the set up for Hatch is as ambitious as it is intriguing. First and foremost, it lets users stream any mobile game to their phone or tablet with low latency. The low latency streaming allows for easy and quick access to all games. This means no downloads, no waiting. On top of this, players can easily share gameplay videos of what they’ve been playing to their friends.
At Casual Connect Europe 2017, Juhani Honkala, Founder & CEO, Hatch Entertainment and Vesa Jutila, Co-Founder and VP Content & Commercial Partnerships at Hatch Entertainment were interviewed by Dean Takahashi, Lead Writer, GamesBeat at VentureBeat. During this session, Vesa reflected, “From the very get-go, Hatch is built around the social elements of gameplay. We really wanted to bring people together over the games that they love and let them play games in very new ways that you haven’t been able to do in mobile before.”
As mentioned before, there’s no downloads for Hatch beyond the app, so there’s no delay in playing and no limit in the number of titles you can easily access. “This also makes it possible to quickly invite others to join the same game session even if they have never played the game before,” explained Juhani. There’s a trending section to show off the latest and greatest games, and spaces devoted to certain genres of games. Over 50 partners have been lined up for the launch, with about a hundred titles set for the launch coming Spring 2017.
The social details don’t end there, as you’ll be able to not only be able to see what the general gaming public thinks of a game, but also what friends think of a game. The games and various features on Hatch are supported by ad rolls before someone starts playing.
“We didn’t think of this from a technological point of view,” said Juhani Honkala. “We thought of it in terms of how to expand the mobile market and give people a better and more natural gaming experience.”
100 Percent Synchronous
Accessing games (or apps) on phones has become a huge issue as the number of new entries creates a deafening amount of noise in the market. Hatch is designed to cut through that noise, making playing any mobile game as simple as one tap.
Because of the latency issues inherent to games, it makes the “Netflix for games” a much more technologically complex problems. You can’t just buffer a game for five seconds during gameplay! So reducing the latency in the streaming is necessary, but it also allows Hatch to do other unique things. Players can seamlessly pass the control of their game over to a friend to see how they might solve a problem in a game.
“Everything is 100 percent synchronous,” said Juhani. “All the multiplayer games are 100 percent synchronous. All the audio is 100 percent synchronous. This allows for completely new kinds of (multiplayer) gaming experiences that have not been possible before.”
Juhani notes that video based streaming has fundamental problems. You need to render the game server side, then compress the video and send it to the client, which is very bandwidth intensive. Hatch is not using video based streaming, meaning its streaming is much more low latency. “Hatch takes full advantage of the mobile GPU instead, which translates to superior visual quality and low latency compared to other solutions,” described Juhani.
“When are you playing Hatch, we automatically record the last 30 seconds of gameplay without you needing to initiate it,” noted Vesa.
Simple for Developers to Implement
Perhaps the most ambitious part of this project is the attempt to bring back premium games to mobile, a space dominated by free-to-play titles driven by micro-transactions. Hatch will offer two models – the first is free with ads (integrated, unobtrusive advertising and brand storytelling), and the second is as an optional paid subscription that removes the ads and unlocks additional features and exclusive games. Juhani notes that not every game compliments free-to-play monetization and developers are happy that Hatch might offer an alternative. Juhani explained further, “There seems to be a clear need in the developer space to find new monetization mechanisms that work across a range of different games.”
Game platforms are driven by their exclusives, and Hatch will have special versions of games for the platform. At the same time, there will be Hatch Originals that will be developed exclusively for the platform that will be announced in the future.
The business model will have the revenue from subscriptions and ads and split it 70 percent to the developer based upon the amount of time players spend on a given title. This will reward games that are more popular with greater revenue. Developers, notably, simply have to upload the binary code of their Android games to have them work; there’s seemingly little effort required to get games working on Hatch. Furthermore, Hatch does not require developers to modify their existing games and there is no SDK integration needed.
Hatch will be available first on Android, by invitation in Finland and selected other European countries starting in Spring 2017. For an interview with Juhani with more specifics about Hatch, see this article.
David Radd is a staff writer for GameSauce.biz. David loves playing video games about as much as he enjoys writing about them, martial arts and composing his own novels.