Mobile Antix

Mobile Antix

By Develop

January 16th 2008 at 3:49PM

A technology that enables a single game binary to run across a huge range of phones, from high-end to entry level, regardless of hardware or operating system. Sound too good to be true? We caught up with Antix's Francis Charig to discover what's really behind the Antix Game Player...

What’s the reasoning behind the development of the Antix player?

If you look at how people use technology now, there’s a move towards people carrying their content across multiple devices – PC, television, mobile. Similarly there’s a move towards people playing community-type networked games, where phones are just one of the ways of connecting in with your friends. The Antix Player is about being able to have a single binary that can run across a huge range of phones and the PC too.

If two kids are playing in a playground, and they’ve got different phones, one of them would be able to send a game to the other despite different chipsets and operating systems – and those game copies can interact with each other. So if one of them has this game and the other doesn’t, they can send the game to the other person, play against each other, and then when the person who doesn’t own the game walks away their copy becomes inactive. We can enable that.

You’ve said that it enables games to run on PC and mobile with a single binary – wouldn’t that get rid of the need for the mobile development industry?

I don’t think saying that we’re trying to get rid of the mobile industry is an entirely inappropriate comment, but what would be wrong would be assume that a game that runs on your 2ghz PC is going to run on your low-end mobile. To that degree, people are going to continue writing games, or maybe one way of accessing a networked game, that’s specific to a device.

What it means is that products will scale up. So if you have a game that runs effectively on a 50mhz phone, for example, then that will run perfectly fine on a PC. It may not look particularly exciting, but it’s useful for things like trials – people can try the game running on a PC and then simply purchase and transfer that game to the phone. That’s something our clients are going to be doing when we’ve gone live. So, if you’re a manufacturer with a range of devices, from entry-level to high end, you want games that run on your low-end device to run on high-end device.

So it’s about being able to create a single SKU that will go upwards. It’s not magic – we’re not saying you can get a get performance out of a device where it doesn’t exist. The rule of thumb is that if it can be done natively, it can be done on the Antix player. But the binary, rather than being locked to the phone, can be transmitted around.

The technology certainly sounds interesting, but many will be sceptical at the claims. How do you plan to combat that?

We do it by showing the technology. While we’re a new company, we’ve all previously worked together at Dell, and we’ve proven our ability. At Mobile World Congress and at GDC people will be able to play this – it’s not phantom technology, it’s not technology that we’re saying will be available in two years time, it’s here now.

Plus, we’ve got some really big customers announcing it as well – we have some absolutely huge customers. The Antix Player is going to be shipped in huge quantities, hundreds of millions of devices over the next few years. We’ve got big publisher support too, and I think we're going to turn out to be quite a transformational company. So, watch this space for February!