There is tremendous value in taking proven gaming technology and applying it to the business community. At BrokenMyth we’ve seen the positive results from cost savings to retention improvement and continue to do so as more businesses develop Serious Games and 3D interactive training.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Aaron Nieboer chalks his gaming habit up to research. "I always say it's research, but (my wife) doesn't ever buy it," he said.
But in his industry, it is research.
Nieboer, 35, of Fairport, and his brother-in-law, Joshua Cowell, 27, of Penfield, began Pittsford-based BrokenMyth Studios in 2007 with the hopes of developing a video game.
After their first unsuccessful attempt, the pair revised their business to design 3D graphics for other video games and businesses.
"It was a natural convergence," Nieboer said. "We started as a couple of guys who wanted to start a gaming company, and we really had a passion for it. We started mapping out our business plan and realized how difficult it would be."
Today, Nieboer and Cowell have found their niche in training and simulations. "We've taken gaming technology and brought it into a business world," Cowell said.
Unlike traditional training that involves a video, classroom or lecture, BrokenMyth utilizes realistic, three-dimensional computer graphics. It's as hands-on as you can get without actually training on-site, Cowell said.
"You can't replace what a piece of metal actually feels like, but you can get pretty close to seeing what happens if I drop it in a 3D environment," he said. "3D interactivity has a lot of definitions, but this is a different level. It essentially lets the users have complete control in a real-world setting."
The company has worked with Gillespie Associates on several training projects, including sales training software for Bausch + Lomb Inc.
"It's a very nice complement to what we do," said Gillespie Associates CEO Geoff Barrow. "Our work is all about providing learning content, so there are times that creating, for instance, 3D images of products can help communicate the learning message, or their programming capabilities can help really drive the message home through more sophisticated graphics and animation."
BrokenMyth Studios has also done work for a variety of companies, including Time Warner Cable and the Rochester Americans, in addition to developing an iPhone app, CastAway Zen, a Sim City-style 3D game that lets users create their own island escape.
Cowell and Nieboer also aren't giving up on the idea of releasing a game, working on its development during down time.
The studio currently has five other employees, whom Nieboer and Cowell credit with much of the success of their business, as neither has a programming background.
Cowell has a bachelor's in business from Houghton College, while Nieboer has an art background, having studied at Columbus College of Art and Design.
In the past two years, revenue at BrokenMyth has grown by more than 200 percent (although they declined to disclose other figures).
"If we can grow during the worst economic time, I think we're onto something," Cowell said.