Creativity in games isn’t exactly new, but with the continued growth of Roblox, and the success of Media Molecule’s Dreams on PS4, the huge potential size of the market is becoming ever clearer. Another player in the space is CREY, which looks to create a ‘social gaming network’ of creators and content sharers, all based on a code-free platform. We ask Fabien Rossini, CEO of CREY Games, about where the platform is positioned and its key strengths.
How would you describe CREY?
CREY is a games creation platform and digital hangout where you can play games, create games or just connect with friends. Our aim is to provide the first true social gaming network, a code-free platform built with social at its heart. A new, fast and playful way of creating games and experiences without coding.
How does CREY compare to other similar platforms, such as Roblox?
For builders, CREY is simple and accessible. Our goal is to allow users to create and publish worlds in a matter of minutes, with no previous skills required. For players, CREY offers a super versatile experience, gorgeous graphics and deep gameplay. But for everyone, gaming has become a central element of self-expression. People define themselves by the gaming community that they belong to, in the same way previous generations defined themselves by the music they listened to or the films they loved.
It’s only natural that players have become increasingly knowledgeable in games and game design, with a hunger to create something of their own and to share it with their friends.
That is the platform we want to deliver with CREY and we aspire to deliver the first true social gaming network through our gaming hub, which will be released this year.
What is CREY’s target audience?
We are building a platform for Gen-Z to connect and play games with the world. Gen Z is the first true digitally-native generation, who live and breathe this digital world we inhabit, and gaming has increasingly become a social hangout for them. So we want to provide CREY as a social hangout platform and cater for that social need and self-expression for users to have their own space to play games, create games or just hangout.
How does the toolset enable that audience to create great content?
It’s about having the lowest entry barrier and being able to welcome audiences of all abilities. As the toolset is entirely code-free, users without any previous experience can create and publish games within minutes. While our other platforms require their game creators to be both talented coders and have a creative mindset, CREY only needs the latter.
We enable creative minds to use our drag and drop tools, rich asset packs and environments without any coding barriers to make games, democratizing the game development process.
That ease of use is really important as is having the ability to quickly create and share content to your friends and community, and that’s something we’ve looked to reflect at CREY.
Does CREY have an educational potential?
Absolutely. In fact, we already have a program in place. In collaboration with teachers and researchers, CREY has developed an educational branch specifically directed at schools which is being successfully implemented at various schools in Denmark and the US – There are at least 25-30 schools and technical colleges making use of CREY for education, with the majority being in Denmark.
CREY Education has managed to engage and captivate students that otherwise have difficulties with school projects in groups.
Additionally, the CREY platform lets the teachers define project scopes and create ‘production teams’ in the classroom, where each student can design and build their own part of the world they are creating with their fellow students.
Projects can then be shared and discussed with teachers and students across the globe in collaborative and creative ways otherwise not achievable through conventional tools.
Students can even pick-up other student’s work and refine it, and teachers can inspire and educate each other across regional and national borders.
CREY Education has been used for the past two years as part of full-term school semester plans as well as focused, two-week courses.
Topics covered and implemented in CREY ranges from gender equality and farming economy to dam building and virtual museums – some projects are being facilitated by external CREY “ambassadors” while others have been initiated by teachers themselves, to address a current school topic in a new and interesting way.
How is content monetised for the community, and how is the platform monetised for you?
We have an in-game currency system to buy content on the platform. We are also planning to add more content with our new avatar system next year, along with a subscription offering. In addition to this, we’re working on a monetisation model for content creators to earn direct revenue from the sale of their user-generated content, not limited to in-game currencies.
We’re also introducing a CREY studio function that will allow users to set up with a friend or colleague and create content together for the platform. These are features we’re bringing to CREY in 2021 which we believe gives us a unique position in the market.
With the Roblox IPO in the offing, will that drive more industry interest to such platforms?
People are always looking to back the next big thing, and when IPOs are in the offing there is undoubtedly more interest in that genre. It helps to frame what the opportunities are for games in this field and that in turn makes it easier to frame what we’re doing with CREY.
Do you think that the traditional games industry has slept on the potential of user-generated content?
Traditional games companies rely on big brands and IPs to drive their value creation. They are more used to controlling the output, and user-generated content doesn’t always sit well within that.
That said, UGC has been around for a long time. We have the modding community to thank for games like Counter Strike, Team Fortress or DayZ and if we look at games like Minecraft or LittleBigPlanet, those are built with UGC as part of their core appeal. Everyone has ideas for what would make a great game, and UGC has already proven itself to play an important role in innovation and creativity.
The power of the user’s imagination is exciting. We don’t know how users will eventually use our tools, what worlds they’ll create or what ideas will come to life, but I do know that they will surprise us. The game that will define the platform will come from the community, and I can’t wait to play it.