If you like BuzzFeed’s quizzes and interactive projects like its Game Of Thrones name generator, congratulations, you’re probably going to be seeing more of them. If you think they’re all annoying gimmicks, well, uh, you’re going to be seeing more of them anyway.
That’s because the site is building up a games team of its own. Vice President of Product Chris Johanesen told me that the full-time team currently consists of a producer, two designers, and two developers. And Capital New York recently spotted a job listing for another game developer.
Johanesen said he doesn’t know how big the team might get, but the idea is not to “build a warehouse somewhere and fill it full of 70 developers.” He added that the team is “not going to be creating Grand Theft Auto“, but rather working with the existing editorial team to pursue cool ideas.
He attributed BuzzFeed’s interest in this area to the success of its aforementioned quizzes earlier this year, which led to increased interest in interactive content. (Raising that $50 million from Andreessen Horowitz may have helped, too.) The company had a weeklong “sprint” where three editors sat down with the games team and came up with as many ideas as possible, resulting (so far) in this love life forecaster.
“We wanted to create things that people would play with rather than just consume,” Johanesen said.
Other examples of BuzzFeed’s interactive content include that Game of Thrones name generator, this Orange is the New Black tattoo generator and this just-launched BuzzFeed headline generator. (See, even BuzzFeed knows that its headlines can get a little ridiculous …)
As Johanesen suggested, none of these projects are going to rival “real” games, but he said they requires more technical effort that you might think, particularly when it comes to making sure they work on every possible device. Plus, the team is building out “the process for being able to move a little quicker to make one-off games.” And yes, you’ll probably start seeing some game-like ads on BuzzFeed too.
“What this team will look like 10 or 20 years, I don’t know, but we definitely want to hire more developers,” he said.