The French Revolution?

The French Revolution?
Michael French

By Michael French

November 30th 2007 at 11:00AM

Paris Mayor backs ambitious plan by five Parisian studios to build global middleware platform called 'Play All'

Five French games studios have teamed up to prouduce a shared crossplatform middleware standard for use by all developers around the globe, Develop can reveal – and they have scored €6.5m funding from France’s Ministry of Industry, and backing from Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë (pictured), to help realise their vision.

Called Play All, the strategy has been brought together by five studios HQ’d in Paris – Darkworks, Kylotonn, Load Inc, White Birds Productions and Wizarbox – and has the support of French engineering schools in the computer science field.

All involved are convinced that the next revolution in games development will come about not via competition between studios but collaboration and the mutual assistance between companies.

In a statement issued exclusively to Develop, the studios said they had “put aside their fear of sharing technology, know-how and teams of programmers” in order to build a crossplatform toolchain standard for all major hardware platforms.

The consortium of studios plans to allow those interested in helping develop a common platform to use the tech, no matter where in the world they hail from, with the first beta of the middleware to be ready next year.

Together, the five companies are setting up a joint venture game technology company with dedicated offices, plans for which include founding a team of 40 engineers to build the technology over the next two years.

“Collaboration and consolidation of a crossplatform technology standard between independent studios is the next revolution in our industry,” said Guillaume Gaouraud, MD of game studio Darkworks and representative of Play All.

“Our five companies are making this turn now to be up and ready for the present and next cycle of growth.”

The project has a budget of €13m, and is backed by the Parisian competitive cluster agency Cap Digital.

The effort is getting €6.5m funding from the region’s agencies and the French Ministry of Industry in a bid to fuel the local games development sector.

Paris Mayor Delanoë added: “Paris in the 21st Century will not confine itself to conserving its rich heritage. We also need to build a city that's fit for the future and prepared to meet the competitive challenges of the next 20 years.

“The city needs to provide attractive conditions to foster capital formation and job creation in the human services industry, the biotechnology sector and cutting-edge digital technologies,” he added.

“Paris has shown itself to be extremely creative in relation to Web 2.0, the video-game industry, and strategic technological sectors, such as Internet research, and I am extremely keen to promote awareness of the ‘Paris brand’ in this field of innovation.”