Romero turns attention to casual gamers

Plans to launch four games this year.

John Romero, legendary designer of seminal first-person shooters Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake, is turning his attention to a new type of gamer Facebook gamers.

"We have satisfied hardcore gamers for decades," the id Software co-founder told Venture Beat.

"Now it's time for the rest of the world. Our opportunity is to teach the rest of the world how to play games."

Romero hopes to achieve his goal through the California-based developer Loot Drop. Its small team plan to publish games for multiple social game publishers.

Loot Drop has funding from social game publisher RockYou, which will publish Romero's first game soon.

But Romero's already tasted sweet success in the social game space with Facebook game Ravenwood Fair, which a whopping 10 million people play every month.

Romero's new role as the designer of the next big social experience is a far cry from the one that made his name.

Romero co-founded id Software with John Carmack, Adrian Carmack and Tom Hall, and designed some of the most influential games of all time.

Romero left to start Ion Storm and created the controversial Daikatana. In 1997 he appeared on an advert for the game that said: "John Romero's About To Make You His Bitch....Suck it down." That didn't go down well, and some 10 years later Romero apologised to fans for it.

After Ion Storm closed in 2001, Romero formed mobile game developer Monkeystone Games. After leaving that company, he joined Midway Games in 2003. He left two years later, starting MMO developer Slipgate Ironworks, which became the core studio of Gazillion. That didn't work out as planned, either.

Now the 43-year-old has a very different outlook on the creation of videogames, and believes in experiences fuelled by virtual item purchases. "The game industry is dropping down on top of social," Romero said. "We don't have a view of strip mining the players for cash. When a player gives you money, you want them to feel good about giving you that money."

Romero will launch four Loot Drop games this year, to be published and marketed by other companies.

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