I recently met Milton Soong at Gen Con when he demoed the new HeroClix TabApp. I was so taken by this new technology that I just had to interview him.
Michael Tresca (MT): Please tell us a little about your company.
Milton Soong (MS): Our company (MFV.com) was formed around April of this year. The new studio was the result of a merger between three entities: NECA (one of the biggest licensed merchandising company in the US, and owner of Wizkids), Zabu Studio, Inc who specializes in taking designer games to the digital realm, and Icarus Studio, who made the award winning Fallen Earth MMO.
MT: And tell us about you.
MS: I was the founder and CEO of Zabu Studio before the merger. Before I started Zabu in 2012 I was running engineering in Pogo.com (the online casual game portal of EA). Prior to that I worked in a variety of high tech companies in Silicon Valley, in places like Apple, Netscape, IBM Research. I have been a life long hobby gamer, starting with hex and counter wargames, and then moving to D&D (Redbox edition), CCG, miniatures, Euros, you name it!
MT: How often have you attended Gen Con in the past?
MS: This is my 2nd Gen Con. I made my first foray last year in 2011.
MT: What products did you debut at Gen Con?
MS: We are doing a preview of our Heroclix TabApp product. It is not yet available at the show but will be in store shelves by September.
MT: How was your Gen Con experience?
MS: What’s great about Gen Con is the diversity of what is available. Some people are here just to play and enjoy themselves, others are here to buy and sell. Many in the industry are here to connect and talk shop. It is a combination of a trade show for vendors as well as a fan’s gathering place. I found the juxtaposition between these different groups fascinating.
MT: What type of gamer will be interested in your products? What makes your games unique?
MS: I think Heroclix TabApp will appeal to several different hobby segments:
- Existing Heroclix players: The figures included in this product are all tournament legal HC figures, so players can use them for that game.
- Collectors: This is a line of our familiar comic book heroes sculpted in a different style. People who likes cool figures will want to snap them up.
- Early Tech Adopters: TabApp is one of the first product that’ll combine traditional game/toys with the new world of digital tablets. It gives an inkling of the cool games that can be a result of this fusion. We are currently working on a next generation version of the tech that’ll introduce even more engaging game play.
- Kid Friendly: Whether you are a real kid or just a kid at heart. You can enjoy the frenetic action game that is Heroclix TabApp!
MT: Tell us more about the intersection between the electronic and miniatures world. How will your product work? Will it retain the collectible aspect?
MS: In short, you purchase a physical figure, you download a free app from appstore, then you place the figure on the your tablet to unlock the specific content that was designed for the figure. Then you can play the game! The initial release will be box sets for Avengers and X-men, quickly followed by Dark Knight Rising and then the Amazing Spider-Man. More content will follow.
MT: What was your favorite aspect of Gen Con?
MS: Diversity of experience. I can talk to my customers, play in a tournament, listen to experts in a seminar, and purchase artwork from my favorite artist. Where else can I do that?
MT: Any new products coming out this year?
MS: A whole slew of cool releases for the HeroClix TabApp will be coming out, showing up in various stores in September.
MT: Where can we find out more about your company online?
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