Student company works on mobile games, websites
After the fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi closed its doors last year when the University chapter was kicked off campus, former president Matthew Gabor said it opened up hours of free time for him to devote to new opportunities.
Gabor, a School of Engineering senior, said he and former members of the fraternity had a vested interest in computers, and began designing games early in January 2012.
After reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, Gabor said he was inspired to create GabaGames, LLC.
He said the company would still exist even if the fraternity had not shut down.
“I’m an engineering student — I’ve always been very into computers, but I never really knew what that meant for me,” he said. “Once I read the book it really inspired me to go make the company and put my heart into it and not hold anything back.”
GabaGames, LLC., which launched Feb. 5, is a student-run company that creates games on iOS and Android as well as websites for small businesses, athletes, artists and anyone looking to get exposure, Gabor said.
The company has created two live websites: one for professional track runner Robby Andrews and another for Vinny Vintage Music, he said.
In the company’s four weeks of existence, it has generated about $4,000 in total revenue with a $1,000 investment, and their Facebook page has received more than 6,000 visits and 450 likes, Gabor said.
“We already profited over $3,000 in revenue, and that revenue [is] from down payments on design,” he said. “So when we sign a client for a website they pay $200 for a design and $30 a month for posting … maintenance and updates [for the site].”
He said the design expenses vary depending on what the client wants, but the advertising rate is $200 down payment and $30 a month.
“The way that we do it is because we have our own codes and stuff,” Gaba said. “If you do decide to have us make you a website we have to manage it … because you wouldn’t be able to make edits.”
He said the company also looks to develop fun games that never really existed before.
“We also want to implement our own ideas on previous games that don’t have apps — games that we played as children but now that we’re older — we want to bring those games back,” he said. “We also want to bring originality too.”
The company aims to release about five mobile app games this summer. He said they are currently working on a game similar to Scrabble, except with numbers.
“Words With Friends was … one of the most successful apps that’s ever been created money-wise and we want to put out [our] version of it — it’s basically Words With Friends, but it’s Pinto and not Scrabble,” Gabor said.
He said they do not currently have any games on the market because it’s hard to get rid of a first impression.
“We don’t want to put anything onto the market until it’s perfect,” he said. “Compared to the popular games right now, we just need a little bit more work on the visual aspects.”
James Lynch, vice president of Flash Development for GabaGames, said he works with Flash Professional to code and create apps for Android phones.
They use graphic designers first, who draw different things to put in the game in pencil, said Lynch, a School of Arts and Sciences senior.
“Then using the same program, Flash Professional, we can sort of create it inside of a computer,” Lynch said.
GabaGames has created a game called “Puppy Match,” which is expected to hit the market in the summer, he said.
“It’s like a matching game,” he said. “You can go through levels and you play the matching game and it’ll count your moves and for each level you earn stars, depending on how many moves it takes you. You can unlock different things with those stars.”
Diaa Khalil, vice president of iOS Development for GabaGames, said he creates apps for iPhones through the program Xcode.
Khalil, a School of Engineering sophomore, said he fine-tunes codes to make sure the app works properly and checks to see if there are any memory gaps.
“Whenever we want something done, we put it across both platforms,” he said.
Michael Albalah, vice president of Business Development for GabaGames, said the company’s promotional strategy includes touching base with people through social media and also waiting for the completion of apps before releasing a demo of the game.
Albalah, a Rutgers Business School junior, said the other strategies the company aims to implement is guerilla marketing through chalking sidewalks, writing on classroom blackboards and dorm-storming.
“It’s all about the timing,” he said. “If we market too early before we have the game, the buzz will die down by the time the game’s already launched.”
Danzel Jordan, GabaGame’s vice president of graphic design, said his designs are unique because they are minimal, but he tries to convey the right messages.
“My favorite part is getting out my designs and trying to get people to see them and show them my take on all design aspects and visuals of what I can produce,” said Jordan, a Mason Gross School of the Arts junior.
He said designing is a lot of work, because he always has to find out how to make things better.
“It’s all about putting our heads together and tying to make something great. We’re all just trying to get into the game industry, and we are, surely but slowly.”
Gabor said the employees’ biggest struggle is managing time as full-time students while working at the company.
“Starting your business is never easy,” he said. “You’re going to face a lot of problems along the way — if it’s something that you truly love, you’ll work through those problems and find success.”