Ex Machina was founded in 2001 with an original focus on multiplayer games for web, and one year later, for mobile as well. In 2004 we offered the first SDK to help developers create multiplayer games, and in 2007 created the first second screen play along apps. We’ve also pioneered a social mobile games community platform. Since 2009 the company focus has been exclusively on second screen.
A more extensive description of our history is included below:
We founded Ex Machina in 2001 to develop realtime multiplayer games that ran on websites. In 2002 we created a real time mobile multiplayer game, the first ever in Europe. And in 2004 we introduced Deus, an SDK for game developers to add multiplayer features and licensed it to games companies such as Taito, RealNetworks and G-Mode.
We’ve always done projects with TV companies, helping them to turn TV shows into online and mobile games, and had some big hits with multiplayer trivia quizzes. By 2006 we figured the time was right for a new idea: playing along with TV shows over the internet, using laptop or mobile phone. We built the technology, ran some pilots and exhibited at big TV trade shows like MIPTV. But there was no interest in second screen. Not yet.
So we kept working on projects, honing our multiplayer skills, and starting to integrate with emerging social platforms like Hyves, Netlog and most importantly facebook. We developed crossplatform, social games and infrastructure for large media and operator companies such as Bonnier, VRT, TeliaSonera and Vodafone.
An important phase for Ex Machina started when Microsoft contacted us to create part of the platform behind the massive multiplayer Xbox quiz based on 1 vs 100. This was a record-breaking videogame, where over a 100.000 players regularly got together to play a TV-based game at specific moments. For the first time it showed that a large scale, communal experience scheduled at a specific time could attract a large and varied crowd. Another important project was ‘Weten is Winnen’, a daily radio show on the biggest radio station in Holland. Twice per day a live game show would be presented, and any listener could participate, live, by accessing the game with a J2ME mobile app or in the browser on their computer.
With this experience, and despite being quite successful in the social games and community platform business, we couldn’t let go of that original idea of linking games that ran on the internet to TV shows. In 2009 we decided to expand our team and allocate most of our development resources to create the best possible platform to allow large groups of people synchronously interact around linear media and events.
The term ‘second screen’ did not exist yet, but that’s what it’s now become. We launched PlayToTV in 2010 and have since done millions and millions of second screen sessions in Europe and the US. The fruits of our work since can be seen in the ‘Work‘ section on this site.