LONDON SPECIAL: Waterfront

LONDON SPECIAL: Waterfront
Michael French

By Michael French

January 21st 2010 at 11:32AM

We profile the Covent Garden interactive TV studio

Although based in Covent Garden, Waterfront Entertainment ’s roots as a games studio actually stretch all the way out of London – and right up to Dundee, Scotland.

The firm was originally set up in 2004 as a sister company to Denki, with a remit was to help sell the parent firm’s interactive TV products into overseas markets.

But as Denki’s focus changed, however, the management team struck out on their own – and has been quietly producing a line of games since February.

In the last few months that has ranged from word-based puzzle games to branded action titles for kids.

And whilst the specialised interactive TV market – which means games for the 25 million subscribers of Sky in the UK and DirecTV in the States – remains Waterfront’s speciality, the team has also created iPhone and Flash titles for clients.

Studio manager Pete Morrish says that a mix of “talent, opportunity, traffic” explains why being based in the London has helped the team.

“The amount of talent in and around London is truly world-class, and allows us to take our time and pick the very best specialists in their respective fields to help Waterfront achieve its potential,” he says.

“Opportunity is afforded by the number of other companies that have chosen to have some presence in London: client meetings are easy and regular, and chance encounters happen more often than in Jane Austen novels. The traffic’s a pain in the neck, mind.”

Waterfront has a deceptively simple structure, which explains how it has managed to be so prolific so quickly – there is a CEO, studio manager, two artists and two coders.

Explains Moorish: “One coder and one artist typically work together on a project, with the studio manager taking on a product architect role and taking care of all design, scheduling, paperwork and QA. We usually have three or four projects on the boil at once. Our development processes are highly organised, iterative and transparent: we think, we plan, and we execute efficiently, every time.

“We’re laser-focused on the overall user experience, and put the user’s wants, needs and desires at the centre of everything we do.

“Although we’re world-class game developers, we don’t make games: we make products that use the idea of ‘play’ as an important part of the overall experience. It’s a key differentiator, and one that’s vitally important in today’s ever-changing marketplace.”

Stats

Number of staff: 6
Founded: 2004
Location: Covent Garden
Previous projects: Over 10 in the last six months, including interactive TV games based on Ben 10, Play Your Cards Right, Wall-E and Scooby-Doo, plus an iPhone game based on iCarly.
Currently working on: It’s a secret

www.waterfrontitv.com