Two brothers from Ensemble Studios moved on from the defunct developer to start an iPod games studio.
Paul and Dave Bettner, software engineers who worked on the Age of Empires series at the recently closed Ensemble Studios, left Microsoft before their division was shuttered to start Newtoy Inc., an independent iPhone/iPod game developer.
Newtoy’s first game, Chess with Friends, sells for $5 and aims to lead “the next generation of truly connected games.” Chess with Friends takes the famous game of chess to everyone through multiplayer over Edge, 3G and Wifi. Features such as in-game chat rooms and random matches allows those iPod Touch owners without friends with the same hardware to meet new sparring partners. Gameplay is “asynchronous”, allowing players to take turns without having to watch the game, a system they describe as “text messaging meets gaming.”
“My brother and I quit our jobs working on Halo Wars for Microsoft two months ago,” revealed Paul Bettner. “We quit our jobs because we believe in the iPhone. We believe it has the potential to be as revolutionary to handheld gaming as the original Gameboy was.”