#FrenchTechFriday – Blacknut: the Netflix for casual gamers

Nov 9, 2018
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Blacknut team

If you thought gaming was for young nerdy males with overclocked machines, think again. Just by looking at the number of people playing on their phone while commuting, one can get a sense of a bigger picture. With cloud gaming gaining weight, French startup Blacknut targets the casual gamer, with style.
 

Netflix for gamers

 
This is the Blacknut pitch in a – black – nutshell: Blacknut is the Netflix for premium games. Through cloud gaming, users can access a huge catalog of premium games. No need for an expensive machine to run the games, it’s all done on Blacknut’s servers then streamed to their platform. PC, Mac, Amazon’s Fire TV, Android terminals are all welcome to play the games.
The Blacknut interface makes a Netflix user welcome. There too, are displayed available games according to genres and with suggestions based on previous games played.
 

Premium Games Only

 
With a swelling catalog to draw more new users, it could be tempting to only seek volume.
Except it would be counter-productive in the end. Would you pay for a service where most of your time is browsing through games that you end up not playing?
Blacknut has chosen the path of premium games. Both renowned games but also lesser known ones with high potential. And it works. Browsing feels more like “which one should I play first?” than “when will I find one that truly appeals to me?” (personal favorite so far is the very surprising “Circles”!).
This idea of many good things to discover once inside the Blacknut interface is one of the reasons for the choice of the name “Nut”. Like a nut, the core is full of healthy benefits and Blacknut is full of gaming treasures. The “Black” part of the name is for the classy look and feel although the interface is actually white.
 

The Blacknut Genesis

 
Founder Olivier Avaro has cut his teeth on streaming while working for Orange and then launched his own company: Streamezzo. After a successful acquisition of his company and the launch of an investment fund, he started to look for a new idea. He used to be an avid gamer as a teenager but a few years later, with kids and responsibilities, his gaming habits had changed. And so it did for legions of casual gamers who are often left behind by major gaming companies.
After two years of R&D, Blacknut came to be early 2018 and already has a team of 30 people based in Rennes and Paris.
The unique target (casual gamers with a taste for high-quality games) leaves Blacknut pretty much alone on this segment. There are other cloud gaming companies but they mostly fight for hard-core gamers.
 

The Blacknut team

 
The team of 30 has two-thirds of its workforce dedicated to making the magic of cloud gaming work. Twenty engineers in Rennes with Pascal Manchon and Thierry Teyssier at the helm and ten marketing/licensing staff in Paris.
If you’re up for a challenge, they’re looking to recruit brilliant streaming and big data engineers next year as well as talented acquisition marketers.
 

The future of Blacknut as big names take on Cloud Gaming

 
As Microsoft announced recently its intention to join the Cloud Gaming race, competition is toughening up.
Blacknut already has a global market by making the interface available on such platforms as Amazon’s Fire TV and Android. They have strong partnerships in the USA and have had demands to look East to the Asian market.
They are also working on a strong editorial line with in-depth articles on gaming, games and the Blacknut ecosystem.
The next 6 months are going to be very exciting for Blacknut (and gamers) as more partnerships roll in. This is not the last we hear of the “game library for gentlefolks”