May 07

Celebrate the biggest launch of the year with a whole new way to connect and play!

This weekend, we will be hosting a 2-Day Diablo II Marathon to celebrate the long-awaited Diablo III launch and to show off their completely revamped party system! All Diablo fans can join in celebrating the biggest game launch of the year. The event runs from 00:00 UTC on Saturday, May 12th until 23:59 UTC on Sunday, May 13th. It’s going to be one helluva good time.

Join the Diablo II marathon on Evolve!

Gamers will be racking up as many hours as possible over two hellacious days, playing the bedeviling classic without the frustrating experience typically associated with setting up multiplayer. The revamped party system makes it as easy as 1-2-3!

1)     join matchmaker

2)     accept match

3)     launch game

It’s a better, faster and smarter way to play. Recruit your friends or jump in with new ones for maximum marathon game time on Evolve, which includes instant matchmaking, VPN, chat, VoIP, and game launching. More game, less lame.

Plus, claiming bragging rights has never been easier with detailed playtime tracking, and direct screenshot and video sharing to Evolve, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

See you in hell and register online!

Jun 14

EVOLVE OR DIE: FIXING PC GAMING

The best days for PC gaming lie ahead. Despite more than a decade of strong growth in console sales and a myriad of emerging threats ranging from smartphones to tablets the rumors of PC gaming’s impending demise have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, an NPD Group report from last year concluded that “the PC is still the most-used system for online gaming, with 85 percent of online gamers reporting using a PC for online gaming activities.” And industry heavyweights seem to agree. Frank Gibeau, president of EA Games, indicated EA’s support for the PC in March of this year, saying “from our perspective, [the PC is] an extremely healthy platform… It’s totally conceivable it will become our biggest platform.”

PC GAMING MUST CHANGE

So PC gaming is doing just fine. End of story, right? Wrong. Dead wrong.

PC gaming has a big problem. It’s not the hardware. It’s not piracy. It’s not the games. It’s how PC gamers are forced to play. The environment is far too fragmented and siloed. As a result, the PC gaming experience is isolated, dissociative, and falls short for a generation of gamers raised on Facebook and Twitter. These social barriers are the biggest obstacle to the survival of the PC as a gaming platform.

Evolve intends to break these barriers down with a website and desktop app meant to help PC gamers connect, coordinate, and play. Still in closed beta, Evolve has grown to 3,000 members in 60 countries. Collectively, they’ve tracked over three million minutes of game time and have banded together in more than 1,500 groups and parties.

A NEW SOCIAL EXPERIENCE

As a website, Evolve functions as a traditional social network with features that include walls, status updates, a news feed, and integration with Facebook and Twitter. Gamers can express their opinions using the standard ‘like’ button—or, if they’re just not feeling the love, ‘meh’ and ‘hate’ buttons. The site is rounded out by comprehensive stats display, a games library, forums, and a groups system that allows players to build communities around their favorite games.

As a desktop app, Evolve makes its platform available where gamers spend most of their time: in-game. A website just isn’t enough. Gamers need a platform that isn’t limited to their browser. And the desktop app does just that, by offering up the full Evolve web experience through its high-performance in-game overlay. Beyond the features available on the website, the app provides additional tools including a gamer-oriented web browser, multi-protocol chat client, and playtime tracking. Rounding out the app is its party system. One part chat room, one part VPN client, the party system gives gamers a way to bypass clunky server browsers and quickly jump in game with their friends.

Although the desktop app is currently only available for Windows Vista and 7 with support for 400 games, the Evolve team plans on making it available for other systems and extending support to encompass virtually all PC games.

Expanded system and game support isn’t the biggest thing that’s in store for the platform, either. We’re currently hard at work on our killer feature: universal matchmaking. Multiplayer gaming has continued to explode, but gamers are still stuck finding matches one game at a time and only while that game is actively running. The prospect for quickly finding a pick up match across all these games has been nearly impossible. Until now.

Evolve’s plans may be bold, but we’re ready for the fight. If PC gaming is to thrive, it needs an open platform with a new direction. It needs Evolve.

Oct 01

Ok. It doesn’t seem to make too much sense at this juncture to rehash Q2 further or ruminate on Q3 for that matter as both are already pretty well behind us.

What I do want to share, however, is that our Q3 launch of our Alpha did, in fact, take place and that our efforts to attract interest from Angels  (besides our “friends,  family, and advisor” round) has taken us to Silicon Valley.

We’ll post on more recent developments separately.

Jul 18

The last ~90 days have been filled with breakthroughs on many levels.

The creativity and hard work that has gone into our journey during this time has been inspiring and fruitful.

Three things stand out as our biggest endeavors over the last few months:

  • Advisors
  • Alpha
  • (The search for) Angels

So on the first topic of advisors, it is my pleasure to announce that we’ve recently completed the assembly of an international board of advisors consisting of top-tier consumer tech and game industry experts and luminaries.

They are:

  • Wim Stocks – Former President/COO, Elephant Entertainment; Executive VP, Atari; Executive VP, GT Interactive
  • Robert Stephens – Founder, The Geek Squad; and recently named CTO, Best Buy
  • Maxime Julien – Former COO, Electronic Arts; VP Operations, Ubisoft
  • Jim Rossignol – Author, This Gaming Life; founding blogger, Rock, Paper, Shotgun; writer for PC Gamer, Wired, and Edge
  • Jenova Chen – Award-winning game company Co-Founder/Creative Director

On behalf of Echobit, I’d like to welcome Wim, Robert, Maxime, Jim, and Jenova to the team. Your experience and talents will bring many valuable perspectives on the gaming landscape in the weeks and months and years ahead. We are thrilled to have you working with us to make Evolve the best online gaming platform in the world.

Update 9/27:  due to other obligations, Maxime is no longer able to support us as an advisor. We thank him for his willingness to help us on our journey thus far, and wish him well in his exciting new endeavors. Bonne chance, Maxime!

Update 5/29/12:  thanks to to Wim and Robert for their contributions over the past two years. Both are moving on and turning their focus to recent, exciting new developments in their primary careers. Thanks again, gentlemen. We’re grateful for your contributions to our progress thus far.

Mar 30

Q1, 2010: Getting “In the Zone”

It’s been a long winter. For me personally, there are many things about it that I’m glad to be leaving behind. One of those things is the “snow tire” that’s developed around my waist over the past several months. Working it off has proven to be difficult. There’s just something about getting up at 5:00am and chugging around a dark, frozen lake four times a week that feels arduous and seemingly fruitless much of the time.

Then yesterday, something changed. While I was out in the Spring sunshine on a 10-mile run, it happened:  I found myself  ”in the zone”.

Suddenly and unexpectedly, running started to feel good. No longer was I even thinking about it. No longer was I trying to convince my body to keep moving. It was easier. And not only was it easier, I was going faster.

So too, has been our experience at Echobit. The last few months have been challenging. And even though it hasn’t always felt like it, we’ve been quietly and steadily making important progress…

Since the beginning of this year:

  • We’ve closed a small seed round of capital
  • We’ve successfully applied for and been granted an H1B visa for our Co-Founder, Soren Dreijer
  • Our engineering team has come onboard full-time
  • We’ve updated our company and product websites; and
  • We’ve put out three compelling releases of our VPN platform, LAN Bridger (in less than a month)

But perhaps what’s most exciting for us is how Echobit has found itself in a zone of its own. Our vision has never been clearer. Our updated plan is presenting us with an even more exciting path. And finally, our work on Evolve is starting to get easier—and gain momentum.

Q2 promises to be very satisfying, as we get into better and better shape. Goals over the next three months include more fundraising, another release of LAN Bridger, providing a public peek at Evolve, plus a whole lot more behind the scenes.

So here’s to a great Spring. And thanks for joining us on our journey.