New JAM Live Music Arcade Takes on Guitar Hero

JAM Live Music Arcade is ready to rock. The Guitar Hero-like game with a twist launches today, with digital distribution available on the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live.

Zivix — a software developer, publisher and technology company focused on music education and entertainment — developed a multi-patented fingertip-sensing technology for use in real instruments and peripheral devices. JAM Live Music Arcade seeks to distinguish itself from its Guitar Hero rival by allowing gamers to riff on the fly, or create a new song in Jam Mode.

Producer Matt Cannon, who began his career as a technical design intern at Zivix in 2008, gave me the skinny on why Zivix is a swag place to work.

 What was it that drew you to Zivix?

The technology that Zivix was working on when I got here was one of the main draws. The first time I visited the office, I walked into the back room and was introduced to our founder, Dan Sullivan, who was tinkering with all sorts of torn apart guitar components and circuit boards, assembling them into newfangled, “smart instruments.” I felt like I had walked into the dad’s office from Honey I Shrunk the Kids, except instead of trying to shrink objects down to micrometer scale, they were aiming to revolutionize the music industry. We were just beginning to look into the possibilities on the software side of things and I was visualizing a ton of cool ideas. Suffice to say, I was excited to join in.

Oh yeah, and that back room they took me into — It also had a big set of speakers that used to hang up in the metrodome that they’d plug guitars into to jam out. That could have been a part of the draw too. The back room continues to be our hangout spot where we can head to play games, listen to music, and have informal discussions when we need to.   

What’s your position and what does it entail?

My title is, “Producer,” and it involves wearing a lot of hats. I’m an active participant in the product and game design side of things, from ideation to documentation. And I’m also the guy who makes sure said design gets implemented in an efficient and ultimately successful manner. ’m also involved in market research, usage analytics and essentially making sure we have an engaged audience for the products we create. My title of producer has also earned me the job of watering the plants when I can.

What’s most satisfying about the gig, or keeps you happy on the job?

The most satisfying thing has to be the chance to put my spin on almost everything we do here, and see that I’ve made an impact when the final product ships. We try to make sure everyone that works here can say that, and it’s just as satisfying for me to see the rest of the team excited about their contributions.   

Why is Zivix an exciting place to work?

The industries that we’re involved in are constantly changing at a fast pace. This requires us to keep up with innovation so we can be a part of that change. For me, it’s exhilarating to adapt to the evolving circumstances and come up with products that will meet the needs of future consumers and gamers. We stand at the intersection of some really interesting fields (music, gaming, technology) and it’s always a challenge to synthesize our knowledge of these three separate areas to create the right experience for users. We’re also not afraid of experimentation outside of our core competencies, and have released a number of mobile apps that don’t have anything to do with music, but were fun to make and broadened the skill-set of our team as we created them.

At our jobs, we get to keep an eye on the future and our hands at our keyboards, ready to jump in and make a difference when it matters. For some of us, that means waiting for the next Halo game to come out and proceeding to pwn those noobs when it does. But hey, it’s all market research.

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