Steven Collins discusses how AI and other technologies are hastening the growth of game development

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The gaming industry is experiencing a tremendous surge in technological advancements, pushing the boundaries of what games can achieve. A prime example of this is Candy Crush Saga, developed by King. When King celebrated its 20th anniversary, Candy Crush Saga had grown from 2,000 levels in 2016 to a mind-boggling 15,000 levels. This accomplishment not only generated a staggering $20 billion in revenue for King but also amassed an impressive five billion downloads. In the second quarter alone, Candy Crush Saga boasted 238 million monthly active users.

At the forefront of making these technological advancements possible is Steve Collins, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at King. With over 30 years of experience in entrepreneurship and leadership in the technology sector, Collins has been instrumental in driving King’s innovation and success. As the CTO, he oversees the implementation of King’s technology strategy, as well as the management of the shared technology team responsible for developing and operating the company’s live mobile games.

Before his tenure at King, Collins held various significant roles in the technology sector. He was a partner at Frontline Ventures, a European VC Fund investing in technology start-ups, and he also founded and served as the CTO of Havok, Kore, and Swrve. Currently, Collins is deeply focused on King’s cloud and machine learning strategies, harnessing these technologies to transform the gaming experience.

During an interview, Collins shed light on King’s journey and future plans. He revealed that despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, King successfully transitioned to a more digital-native organization. They swiftly adapted to the new way of working and introduced a hybrid model that allows teams to choose their preferred work mode. This approach has proved to be highly successful for King.

In terms of growth, Collins mentioned that King’s shared technology organization, which encompasses various major initiatives, has played a pivotal role. They have heavily invested in AI and are currently undergoing a massive cloud transformation. This transformation involves migrating all their games from data centers to the cloud, a progressive move that will enhance their capabilities and improve operational efficiency.

When it comes to game engines, King utilizes their proprietary technology called Fiction. This engine powers all their live titles, such as Candy Crush, Soda, and Farm. The Fiction technology has been meticulously developed to cater specifically to mobile casual games, making it an invaluable asset for King’s artists and game designers. It grants them the freedom to create captivating experiences across a multitude of devices, ensuring a consistent player experience.

Collins addressed the question of whether King would consider using publicly available technology like Unity. He explained that while Unity has been a partner for some of their newer games, it doesn’t make sense for their core live titles. King’s IP and extensive investment in their proprietary technology make it the ideal choice to achieve their goal of making the world playful. Their games support a wide range of platforms, including iOS, Android, Facebook, desktop, and Kindle, enabling players to enjoy the same immersive experience regardless of their device.

The success of Candy Crush Saga can be attributed to multiple factors. Collins highlighted the insatiable appetite of their players as a primary driving force. Thousands of players have completed all 15,000 levels, inspiring the team at King to continuously deliver new content on a biweekly basis. Leveraging AI, King has empowered their talented level designers with smart tools that streamline the creation process. AI-driven level testing and design recommendation engines have revolutionized the way King produces levels, ensuring that millions of players are consistently entertained and challenged.

In conclusion, the gaming landscape is evolving rapidly, and King, led by CTO Steve Collins, continues to push boundaries and innovate. Their commitment to leveraging cutting-edge technologies like AI and their relentless pursuit of delivering engaging gameplay experiences have positioned them as a leading force in the industry. As the gaming community eagerly awaits GamesBeat Next, it’s clear that King’s influence and impact will be felt for years to come.

Editor Notes:

It’s incredible to witness the rapid advancements in the gaming industry, particularly how technology has transformed the gaming experience. The success story of King and its flagship game, Candy Crush Saga, highlights the incredible potential of this industry. The wisdom, experience, and innovation of leaders like Steve Collins are invaluable in shaping the future of gaming. GamesBeat Next 2023 is the perfect opportunity to learn from visionaries like Collins and connect with other industry leaders. Don’t miss out on this chance to be a part of the gaming revolution. Visit GPT News Room for more exciting updates and insights from the gaming world.

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