Lockwood Publishing is quietly pioneering a revolution in mobile gaming, which has implications way beyond the gaming universe, writes David Valjalo
"We felt the time was right for this kind of project," says Lockwood Publishing's co-founder and CEO, Halli Bjornsson, and it's hard not to agree. It's a simple idea - a program and platform for the creation of unique 3D avatars to be used in and across a range of titles on a multitude of mobile devices (and within browsers) - and a potentially revolutionary shot fired in the war on over-complicated account management. It's a glimmer of hope for users tired of having to memorise and navigate logins for everything from Maple Story to Game Center. The nearest existing relative to Avakin is arguably Nintendo's Mii program which allows users to socialise and appear in-game with a single character model; a way to personalise the experience and deliver a persistent identity for players across the experience.
Unification Through Avakin
The unified "one platform" future for the gaming industry may still be a dream, but there's no reason an infrastructure like Avakin can't unify our gaming achievements if it's embraced by enough platform-holders, and the sense is that it'll take a third party like Lockwood, free from the competitive restraints of a big publisher or manufacturer, to help make that happen.
If such a unification of our achievements and gaming avatars sounds like a dream as the walled-gardens of iOS, Android, Xbox Live, PSN and MiiVerse slog it out (not to mention game developers' own platforms like EA Origin and Ubisoft's Uplay), it's worth looking at Lockwood's pedigree and position.
The Growth of Lockwood Publishing and the Plan for Avakin
"We started out in 2005, just three of us," Bjornsson tells me from an office space that now hosts his 40-strong workforce labouring on a range of projects supporting Avakin. The initial plan is to build Avakin its very own eco-system of titles, but the wider applications aren't far from Bjornssen's thoughts: "The potential for other developers, publishers and platform-holders to adopt Avakin is certainly there for the future", he explains, "and it's built on Unity 3D so clearly its very adaptable. It's very early days and that's something we'd like [to see happen], but initially it's about finding our feet."