IGN – The story of how social networking game Mycribe got its start, its creators and the evolution of a platform for the creative process.
In its earliest days, Mycribes social network would not exist.
Its creators were looking for ways to share photos, ideas and video, and the game was built to handle all of that.
But with the popularity of social networks like Twitter and Facebook, Myco-social wasn’t just a way for people to get updates and comments from their friends, but also to organize and share those ideas.
“We had a couple of people in the company who were like, ‘Man, I want to build something like this, and we’re trying to do something for the world,'” co-founder Alex Epps says.
“So we had this big idea and we started building it, and it became something that was really exciting.”
Epps, who is currently a software engineer at Google, had previously been working at an electronics startup called Jigsaw, which was developing hardware for a new type of digital device.
He was looking to move forward, but it wasn’t clear how he would do that without having a solid idea of how the technology would work.
So Epps decided to build a platform that could connect people and ideas, and he found a group of friends at the company he had been working for.
It was a mix of tech-savvy, art-focused and socially-aware folks who had some background in programming and had the technical chops to get this thing off the ground.
“It just happened naturally, like a natural evolution,” Epps explains.
“In the early days, the idea was that you could have a simple platform that was for people who wanted to share and share with other people and just sort of build a big platform, and then it just took off.”
Epson and his co-founders created Mycibe, the first public social network for the game.
But the project took a little time, and they weren’t entirely sure where to put it, so they asked their friends to help out.
They set up an online marketplace where people could bid on different versions of the game to get a feel for the idea and get feedback on the game before deciding on a final product.
That feedback would then help shape the game in the long term.
When the game launched, the game had a user base of almost 500,000, and Epps had no idea how big the company would grow.
It’s the game that set the bar for a social network.
“I didn’t even think about how big it would get until we got close to 10 million users, because there were only two other games in the world that had that kind of audience,” Epson says.
“So that was when I really realized, we can do this.”
Epp and his team went on to create the platform to grow Mycibes user base to around 1 million in a matter of months.
By the time the game hit Steam in 2014, Epps and his colleagues had sold millions of copies.
“If you’re going to be an independent game developer, you’re probably going to need a few million dollars,” Epp says.
And if you’re an indie game developer and you don’t have a billion-dollar platform, you might not have the money to go after that.
“The only way that we were able to go and get that kind [money] was by putting out a product that people liked.”
Epes and his company are still working on their next game, which they plan to release later this year.
But it will be the first game to feature a social platform for a game.
“When we made the game, we realized that this was something that really needed to be done and it needed to happen now,” Epes says.
It made sense for the platform, since there are plenty of games out there that have social networks built into them, like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 or Halo 2.
Epps isn’t afraid to admit that the community of Myciber is the reason he’s still making the game today.
“You could tell the fans are real, but we knew that if you put a real community behind it, it would be more popular than any other game,” he says.