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Geeks Have landed Interview: EnGeniux’s Derrick Samuels, Creator of EVO and OTON

If you recall, I did an article previously regarding a new console called the OTON X that apparently has the ability to self-generate games. I’ve been finding it hard to believe that something like this could be a legitimate product and I’ve doubted its quality, but my recent interview with CEO and Founder of EnGeniux Derrick Samuels has made me a believer.

So Derrick, how long was OTON in development?

First, thanks for giving us this opportunity to discuss OTON! The idea for OTON has spanned over 4 years off and on in various developmental stages. From day one I was intrigued and excited about the concept. To this day I still have the same fire and passion as the system slowly takes form.

You’ve claimed the OTON X has the ability to self-generate games. I’m sure you can understand the hesitation a lot of readers may have, considering it sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie. How exactly is this little console able to do what huge teams of educated developers and programmers do?

Great question. I can understand the shock and awe idea of a console that can self-generate games. I want people to understand that with 10 years in the gaming space I have gained a tremendous amount of experience. It was trial and error to develop the innovation behind OTON. I developed an algorithm with my development team that does most of the heavy lifting to create games. It’s not a matter of just education and huge development teams but a desire to truly do something new, innovative and revolutionary to compete with the big 3 consoles. Similar to Red Hat Linux, I had to change the battlefield to suit us and not play the tradition console business model which would surely spell doom for a start-up.

Isn’t there a worry of a lack of originality in some of these games the OTON will be producing? Does the OTON really have the ability to create an FPS (first person shooter) game then turn around and make a completely different style of game like an RPG (role playing game)?

I hear gamers saying current games lack originality, but with OTON we dig deeper into what makes a game a game. Short answer . . .OTON works on the principal of the attributes of games like the character, the goals and level challenges and so on. So I think we can get a mix of many different configurations. FPS and RPG games are doable with OTON as we expand the platform.

How much responsibility do you credit the announcement of the OUYA (and its record breaking Kickstarter campaign) in the decision to move away from the Android console to something entirely unique?

I think Ouya is a great console for its designed purpose. I give the Ouya some credit toward pushing me toward going into OTON development full time. We had no choice in the matter once Ouya arrived. What some people don’t know is our EVO 2 Android console was announced maybe a full year before Ouya or just search for EVO 2 press release.

We had people saying we copied Ouya with OTON, but the fact is OTON is an entirely different type of console. There is no respect or pride in copying someone else’s work. Everything I developed was created and designed by me. So yes . . . Ouya was the catalyst that triggered the birth of OTON. I wanted to show the industry peers we may be small and from Alabama, but our passion to create something exciting and new is what we live by.

EVO 2 (Press Date)
Published on Tuesday, 14 June 2011

You’re also the creator of the EVO console we all remember from four or five years back. A successor to the console was in the works last year but has since been cancelled if I’m correct. One intriguing aspects of the EVO 2 was its Android compatibility. With mobile platforms on the rise, will OTON have that same Android compatibility upon its release?

Yes, not only will OTON self-generate games but it will support Android games, Linux games and 3rd party games. We cancelled EVO 2 after we realized we had to up the game stakes. You won’t last long in the business if you can’t have an innovative idea to challenge the big 3 consoles. So we decided to move forward with OTON and send emails to inform our community.

With such a strong interest in the mobile market, will OTON have a long life cycle similar to consoles or will owners be looking at more frequent cycles similar to that of smart phones?

That’s a great question. I would say a 3 to 4 year life cycle at this point, but this could change once we test and demo OTON chipset.

One of the more intriguing aspects of the OTON is its ability to project games onto any surface with the custom environment creation simulator. What led you to want to include laser projection into the OTON?

I come from an era of Nintendo with R.O.B the robot. The first NES is still fresh in my mind and the excitement and appeal of that system is something of an inspiration to me. With OTON we wanted to bring the fun, the excitement and wonder back to game consoles. To me . . . we keep getting the same stuff over with nothing truly new. Okay, you have pretty graphics, I understand that – but where is the value, the excitement? The strategy is simple. Give people value. When the console is not in use for games use it for a projector for movies or business. Value is the bottom line.

Motion and voice controls are something we’re all surprised to see this console. It’s no secret that motion and voice controls are becoming more popular as time goes on. Will the OTON have a separate camera/microphone accessory and will they come with the system at launch or be sold separate afterwards?

My vision, my hope is to integrate the rear projection and the front motion camera into the deluxe OTON unit. All this is exciting but we must have the audience on board to show the camera vendors we have a market. I’m excited and really hope we can achieve this goal.

So where do you think the console’s greatest competition will come from in the forthcoming generation?

No disrespect to the other consoles but OTON was designed to be a completely different type of console. I designed this console to compete with the market, but also to be strong enough to be a few generations ahead of the ball game. You see . . . I’ve been in this market for years and we have the battle scars to prove it. You will not be #1 in this market with short-term thinking and goals. The big 3 mean business and have a legion of fans. We have to earn that respect too, but more importantly you have to convince mom that your system is going to bring the most value. So with OTON I think we’ve done that, but look what else we did . . . we made it awesome for developers, gamers, retail and businesses to be successful with our platform. I see new consoles coming on line all the time, but they must overcome these challenges to survive.

Aside from this revolutionary OS, will the OTON bring anything else new to the table?

Oh yes. There is more to OTON! A lot more. I learned from watching many console launches and marketing that you better bring your “A” game to compete! I can’t say what else we have on the table until I unveil the OTON X console for our crowdfunding in a few weeks. I’m a bit hesitatant to announce new ideas because we had such an uproar over our system . . . it’s strange that people can’t grasp an autonomous console, but we have autonomous cars, robots, refrigerators and parking garages. If you can’t handle the console, you may want to step back because my next move will be game changer! Then I can truly say “Geeks Have Landed!”

I appreciate the opportunity to share our thoughts on OTON. Thank you.

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