Interview with Doki Tops (Founder of Utomik)

By Justin D Williams

Otakus & Geeks had a chat with Utomik founder Doki Tops. We talk about how he started Utomik and more. Utomik is smilar to Netflix or Spotify in their respective fields, users pay a monthly fee to unlock unlimited PC gaming. Utomik also uses an innovative smart download technology that allows members to run games from their own PC with a single click and no wait time, as opposed to streaming that can often times be slow or having to download the entire game before starting to play.

Otakus & Geeks: Can you tell us how Utomik came about and was founded?

Doki Tops: I’ll try to keep this short. A lot of the founding team of Utomik first got together in 2004. We were an indie and platform developer in a time when there was no real good model for indies or game sales for games other than AAA.

During this time we developed tech to start playing our games easily. This is because we hated it that it was always so complicated, and long winding (many clicks, long downloads), to start playing a game. Soon we discovered it had great value as it was something we could do for other games as well! MMO games lost a lot of users in the download, installation and patch process. We knew we could fix this. One click and instant gratification to get going into any game became the mission!

We quit developing games as getting good reviews did not convert to any good sales, and having a platform while also building games stretched our resources. We pivoted our company and started to sell the tech that enabled big MMO’s to be played via your browser or desktop in minutes, not hours, and in one click. In 2010 our tech successfully helped launch the first full 3D MMO in a browser on facebook (GodsWar). It had over 1M monthly active players. In the following years we licensed the tech to many publishers, however we felt the full potential of our tech was not used, and we had some great innovations in the pipeline. We knew we could apply our tech without any code changes from developers and we had a robust model to predict what users need to download before they need it.

In 2014 we realized that our technology combined with an all-you-can-game business model is a match made in heaven. The process went really fast. Users that used our tech for the MMO’s asked us to build our own Steam as they loved the user experience. We also knew subscription models existed for music (Spotify) and for film (Netflix) but not for games. At the same time we did not want to compete with Steam in their model. We figured that we were uniquely positioned to do this with our tech and experience. The streaming model done by Onlive proved to be too expensive and created a lot of user experience issues. Our tech simply provides the same experience you used to have, however you get into the game much faster (the best we’ve done is over 100x faster).  In short we had a model, we had the tech, the first working title of Utomik was ‘Gameflix’ (Cheesy but easy to pitch to investors). We then got to work and here we are today with well over 600 games live from some really big, awesome publishers and developers.

Otakus & Geeks: What were some inspirations to starting Utomik?

Doki Tops: As said Netflix and Spotify helped. We also looked at what Onlive was doing and how it could be done better, both from a tech and product/service perspective. We felt the timing for what we do was right. We were slightly ahead of the curve but we knew the trend of subscription gaming would come soon, and we could be the ones leading this trend.

Otakus & Geeks: Can you tell us about some of the key features that Utomik offers?

Doki Tops: The first Unique feature is the ability to play any game much quicker as the tech figures out what you need to download to start playing, and ensures the rest is downloaded on time while you play. The tech knows what you need before you need it! Another unique thing in subscription gaming is that we have a family plan for up to 4 users. One other key feature we have is that we have a largest, and fastest-growing, portfolio of games with a lot of variety; classic blockbuster AAA titles, indie games, quality casual games, and retro. Unlike other subscription services we are growing our curated library of games with 20 to 25 games every month.

Otakus & Geeks: With over 600 games on the platform currently, what are the next plans for expansion?

Doki Tops: First and foremost will simply be to add more quality games, and  keep increasing the level of quality of games on Utomik. We are also working on getting day 1 releases into Utomik’s subscription.

Otakus & Geeks: How did you manage to get all these games from various companies and developers?

Doki Tops: It helped that we could show to them easily that our tech worked without any effort from their side. Then hard work, patience, and tenacity, combined with loads of passion. Some of our biggest deals, that are yet to be announced, took 2 years to go from first talks to signature. We are very thankful for the support everybody has shown us to this point!

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Otakus & Geeks: Are there any plans to implement VR games into Utomik?

Doki Tops: Yes, we are looking into this. It will likely get more focus next year but no promises yet though on timings. But keep an eye out!

Otakus & Geeks: What are some future plans for Utomik?

Doki Tops: We have so many of them but so little time! So we have to make choices, and also keep some secrets. First one is removing that beta sticker and go live :D. Then feature/tech wise, on the short to mid term we are looking into achievements and leaderboards, and improving content discovery. Long term is still a secret but interesting times are ahead!

On the game's side of things: day 1 releases, and we have some cool, yet to be announced, partners coming up, and several new ones in the pipeline. We now have well over 600 games live but we still have a growing pipeline of around 150 more games that are set to go live on our platform in the coming 6 months. Our content ingestion team currently can’t keep up!

For more on Utomik visit there website https://www.utomik.com/