Announcements

June 6, 2018

Today, Jam City further bolstered its executive bench with the appointment of a games industry veteran: Ryan Kaufman.

Ryan Kaufman, VP of Narrative Design, will be helping Jam City’s creative teams build out the processes and methods to deliver world class narrative design. Ryan joins Jam City at a critical juncture for mobile games where narrative design has become extremely prominent and in many cases, a point of differentiation.

Ryan has worked in the games industry for over twenty years, serving as TellTale Games’ Director of Narrative Design for the last eight where he provided design and writing leadership on some of the biggest video game releases like Wolf Among Us, Walking Dead, Minecraft and HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Jam City is thrilled to welcome Ryan Kaufman to our executive team!

April 25, 2018

Pre-Registration for Wild Things: Animal Adventure Mobile Game Now Open

Jam City, a global leader in mobile entertainment, providing social gaming experiences for millions of players around the world, today announced that is has developed an original mobile entertainment franchise: Wild Things: Animal Adventure. Introducing a cast of stunning, 3D animated animals, Wild Things: Animal Adventure sets players on a mission to help these personable creatures restore their homelands, giving purpose and personality to the gameplay. With the game coming soon to Android and iOS, pre-registration for Wild Things: Animal Adventure opens today, alongside the first look at the animal characters.

In Wild Things: Animal Adventure, players set out on an expedition to rebuild the animal’s natural habitats, which have fallen into disrepair. Players earn magic leaves by beating match-3 puzzles, which are used to replant trees, renew waterfalls and other tasks that rejuvenate the animal’s homelands. Meeting new characters along the way, each level combines puzzle gameplay with an animal’s unique story, entertaining players as they advance through the narrative.  

Wild Things: Animal Adventure delivers the spectacular visual and storytelling impact of an animated television or web series to mobile platforms,” stated Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and CEO of Jam City. “With engaging characters that connect with players, Wild Things: Animal Adventure enriches Jam City’s portfolio of hit titles with a deeper, story-driven style of gameplay. Based on extremely positive feedback from consumer testing, we believe we have a one-of-a-kind entertainment franchise in the making, and we can’t wait to introduce Wild Things: Animal Adventure to the world later this year.”

In Wild Things: Animal Adventure, the puzzles themselves have a purpose, as game modes like ‘Free Parakeets’ and ‘Feed the Baby Panda’ give players a goal within each level. As the story progresses, new animal characters are unlocked, each with a unique personality and signature power-up that players earn by completing levels. Sharing their success, players can connect and compete with friends in challenging puzzles and show off the endearing creatures they have helped along the way.

Wild Things: Animal Adventure showcases Jam City’s strengths as both a hit-game developer and an innovative mobile entertainment company,” said Josh Yguado, President and COO of Jam City. “Our world-class art, storytelling and engineering teams collaborated with leading comedy writers and talent to shape this title, as well as our fans, who provided invaluable feedback and enthusiasm along the way. We’re excited for the future of this amazing franchise and can’t wait for Wild Things: Animal Adventure to hit the app stores!”

Pre-register for Wild Things: Animal Adventure at www.jamcity.com/wildthings to receive updates and information about the game, as well as a special bonus at the game’s launch.

April 25, 2018

New Mobile Game Allows Players to Experience the Magic of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry First-Hand as Students

Jam City, a Los Angeles based mobile games studio, announced today that the new mobile game Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is available to download now on the App Store and Google Play. Developed by Jam City in partnership with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is the first mobile game where players create their own character and experience life as a Hogwarts student. The game will launch under Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s Portkey Games, a label dedicated to creating new mobile and videogame experiences that place the player at the center of their own adventure, inspired by J.K. Rowling’s original stories.

“There are so few moments where a mobile entertainment company has the chance to truly bring magic into the world and we’ve been thrilled by the amazing response our game has already received from Harry Potter fans everywhere,” said Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and CEO of Jam City. “We at Jam City have been working hard to ensure that any aspiring witch or wizard can enter Hogwarts through their smartphones and tablets and begin their magical journeys.”

The story of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is set in the 1980s. In the game, players will progress as a student through Hogwarts, joining one of its four houses. Players will be able to create and upgrade personalized characters using an avatar customization system, learn an arsenal of magical skills, and form relationships with other students.  They will also be able to master everything from crafting potions under Snape’s critical eye, to Transfiguration with Professor McGonagall. Along with interactive spellcasting, the game features an encounter system where narrative choices impact parts of the story.

“Being involved in the making of the Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery mobile game will give great pleasure to my grandchildren,” said Dame Maggie Smith, voice of Professor McGonagall in the game.

Players will also be introduced to some original game characters like Penny, a popular Hufflepuff potions expert, Tulip, a rebellious Ravenclaw prankster, and Merula, a Slytherin with a dark past. As players unravel the Hogwarts mystery, they will explore familiar locations like Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.
Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is free to play and is available NOW on mobile devices via the App Store and Google Play. For more details on Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, and to connect with other Harry Potter fans, visit www.facebook.com/HPHogwartsMystery/, www.twitter.com/HogwartsMystery, and for more information visit www.HarryPotterHogwartsMystery.com/.

April 16, 2018

INAUGURAL USC GAMES EXPO, PRESENTED BY JAM CITY, TO SHOWCASE INNOVATIONS IN INTERACTIVE ENTERTAINMENT ON MAY 9TH

 

● #1 Game Design Program Joining Forces with Premier Mobile Entertainment Company to Showcase Innovations in Mobile, Console, PC, Virtual and Augmented Reality
● Inaugural Event Highlights Explosive Growth of Global Gaming, a Projected $143.5 Billion Industry by 2020
● Gaming Industry Continues to Attract Diverse and Top-Tier Creative and Engineering Talent from Around the World; Collaboration Driving Innovative New Forms of Entertainment Media

USC Games, the #1 ranked game design program in North America by the Princeton Review, today announced that its inaugural USC Games Expo will take place on May 9th, presented by Los Angeles-based mobile games company Jam City, a global leader in mobile entertainment behind hit games like Cookie Jam, Panda Pop and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery.

The event will provide a hands-on look at the future of interactive entertainment, showcasing games and innovations created by the next generation of entertainment technologists and game developers. Students and alumni will unveil projects in mobile, console, PC, virtual and augmented reality, bringing the interactive entertainment efforts of multiple schools and programs under one roof for the first time in the University’s history.

USC Games provides students with an unparalleled opportunity for hands-on training in every aspect of creating games for a global audience, including design, artistry, production and engineering. The program has become a world-class incubator, with students creating award-winning games and alumni making a significant impact in the game design field, contributing to some of the highest-grossing game launches in history.

The inaugural USC Games Expo, presented by Jam City, highlights the explosive growth of global gaming, a projected $143.5 billion industry by 2020 according to research firm NewZoo. Mobile gaming, in particular, is the fastest growing form of entertainment media, accounting for for 90% of Google Play revenue and 75% of Apple App Store revenue in 2017 according to Sensor Tower. Globally, there are 2.5 billion gamers, compared to 100 million in 1995.

The gaming industry continues to attract diverse and top-tier creative and engineering talent from around the world, and as an increasing number of students choose to pursue gaming related careers, there are more than 150 full-time collegiate game design programs globally.

“The USC Games Expo is our flagship event and we are thrilled to not only be showcasing this collection of innovative and groundbreaking games and projects, but also to be joined by our fantastic industry partner, Jam City, in supporting the next generation of creative, talented, and diverse game designers,” said Danny Bilson, Chair of IMGD.

“We’re excited and proud to showcase our students’ creativity, collaborative spirit, and technical depth in this breathtaking collection of games and projects,” said Gaurav Sukhatme, Executive Vice Dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

“As we undergo a massive democratization of what gaming is and who gamers are, the world’s best creatives and engineers are joining forces to create wildly innovative forms of entertainment media,” said Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and CEO of Jam City. “USC Games, like Jam City, is at the epicenter of a creative downpour which has propelled gaming from a subculture to something far more mainstream and commercially dominant. USC Games gives students a chance to take a game from the concept phase to worldwide release, and the USC Games Expo – which pairs the leading mobile entertainment company with the #1 game design program – allows audiences to watch the magic of the game development process happen in real-time. As gaming continues its meteoric rise, Jam City looks forward to a dynamic partnership with USC Games.”

The USC Games Expo will open with an in-theater presentation of the School’s prestigious Advanced Games Program (AGP) projects in the USC Eileen Norris Theatre. AGP represents a culmination of work over the course of one year in the program’s most challenging course. Guests will then get hands-on live demos of a host of curated games situated throughout the Cinematic Arts Complex across multiple platforms, featuring myriad types of play, and including work from undergraduates, graduates, MFA thesis projects, alumni, and faculty.

Attendees will include luminaries and executives from across the gaming, mainstream and industry press, as well as developer and publishing recruiters.

“We’re focused on making sure we partner with leading lights throughout industry, from indie mobile developers to AAA game publishers to board game producers, and everyone in between: we have the best talent and we want to continue partnering with the best in the future,” added Bilson.

April 6, 2018

Dame Maggie Smith and Other Harry Potter Film Actors Join Jam City’s Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery

 

Who: Jam City, a Los Angeles based mobile games studio, in partnership with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

What: Actors from the Harry Potter films will provide voiceover work for Jam City’s Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. A full list of actors providing voice work for the game include:

  • Dame Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall)
  • Michael Gambon (Professor Dumbledore)
  • Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick)
  • Sally Mortemore (Madam Irma Pince)
  • Gemma Jones (Madam Pomfrey)
  • Zoe Wanamaker (Madam Hooch)

 

Global launch date for Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery confirmed to be Wednesday, April 25th on iOS and Android

Where: Los Angeles, CA

Quotes:

“If I could attend Hogwarts as a student, I would be most excited to attend the potions class taught by Severus because it is the most exotic,” said Dame Maggie Smith, voice of Professor McGonagall.

“Our goal with Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is to make players really feel for the first time like they’re attending Hogwarts,” said Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and CEO of Jam City. “By including these iconic and incredibly talented actors in the game, we come one step closer to truly giving fans their own Hogwarts experience.”

Background: Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is the first mobile game where players can create their own character and experience life as a Hogwarts student. In the narrative adventure with RPG elements, players will create a personalized student avatar, attend classes, learn magical skills, and form friendships or rivalries with other students. In the game, players make pivotal decisions that influence their character’s story arc at Hogwarts. The game features a new encounter system where player decisions and actions impact their quests, allowing Harry Potter fans to create their own legacy as a witch or wizard.

April 6, 2018

Jam City Appoints Former Machine Zone GMs Nick Pavlich and Chris Ulm to Executive Team

 

 

Jam City, a global leader in mobile entertainment, providing social game experiences for millions of players around the world, today announced that it has further strengthened its executive bench with the appointment of two former general managers (GMs) from Machine Zone – Nick Pavlich and Chris Ulm.

Nick Pavlich, who was appointed SVP of Studio Operations at Jam City, drove development for the massively successful games Game of War and Mobile Strike as GM at Machine Zone. In addition, as former VP and Development Director at Activision, Nick oversaw one of the biggest console launches of all time, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. In his new role, Pavlich will focus on strengthening Jam City’s global studio operations as the company continues to grow and expand its mobile games portfolio.

Chris Ulm, who was appointed Creative Director of Jam City’s San Diego studio, is a twenty-year veteran of both the publishing and video game industries, having co-founded studios later acquired by Marvel and Activision. Most recently, Chris served as GM of Machine Zone’s San Diego studio. In his new role, Chris will lead the creative team at Jam City’s San Diego studio, overseeing the company’s 100 million user Cookie Jam franchise.

“We are thrilled about bringing Nick and Chris on board as we look to accelerate the tremendous growth we have achieved in our core business,” said Josh Yguado, Co-Founder & President at Jam City. “Nick and Chris are both highly respected leaders with deep experience in operational scale and the game development process and we are already benefiting from their expertise and creativity as we continue to expand our audience and launch iconic, top grossing mobile games.”

“Jam City has an amazing portfolio of mobile games and some of the most creative and innovative teams in the industry,” said Nick Pavlich, SVP of Studio Operations at Jam City. “I look forward to working closely with the teams as we continue to establish Jam City as a gaming powerhouse.”

“I’m honored to work closely with the industry leading team at Jam City to grow and create lasting mobile franchises that entertain millions of players around the world,” said Chris Ulm, Creative Director at Jam City.

Nick Pavlich – Senior Vice President of Studio Operations

Nick Pavlich joins Jam City with significant operational experience in the gaming sector, having managed teams from hit games such as Call of DutyGame of War and Mobile Strike. Prior to joining Jam City, Nick was a VP & Development Director at Activision. During his tenure at Activision, he led teams that developed and launched titles including the blockbuster console title, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which was one of the largest and most successful launches in entertainment industry history. Previously, Nick was a GM at Machine Zone where he drove development and support for the wildly successful games Game of War and Mobile Strike.

Chris Ulm – Creative Director, Jam City San Diego

A twenty year veteran of both the publishing and video game industries who has successfully created franchises and developed companies, Chris Ulm will serve as Creative Director at Jam City’s San Diego studio, leading efforts to optimize creative experiences for consumers. Most recently, Chris served as Studio GM of Machine Zone San Diego after Machine Zone acquired mobile developer Appy (where Chris was CEO and co-founder). Chris also co-founded console game developer High Moon Studios before its acquisition by Vivendi Games and transition to Activision-Blizzard. Before developing video games, he co-founded Malibu Comics Entertainment, the publisher of Men in Black and the Ultraverse line of superhero comics. As Editor-In-Chief he oversaw the development of both original and licensed properties, leading to its acquisition by Marvel Comics in 1994.

April 6, 2018

Jam City Expands Portfolio with Acquisition of Brainz Team and Assets, Including Award-Winning Strategy Game World War Doh

 

 

Jam City, a global leader in mobile entertainment, providing social gaming experiences for millions of players around the world, today announced that it has acquired the assets of Brainz, a Bogota, Colombia-based mobile game developer, including the upcoming action strategy game World War Doh. Brainz’s world-class creative team has joined Jam City and will continue to carry out the development of World War Doh.

The highly anticipated World War Doh title was awarded Apple’s “Best of 2017” in the Tech and Innovation category in Latin America, as well as the “Best In Show: Audience Choice” award at the 2017 Casual Connect USA conference. Jam City will launch World War Doh worldwide in late 2018. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

World War Doh is a fast-paced strategy game in which players lead the Commander and his (not entirely willing) band of allies in real-time combat while deploying troop and spell combinations into the battlefield. The game combines humorous and engaging gameplay with high production value, memorable characters and unique social features. The acquisition marks Jam City’s continued expansion into real-time strategy game development and provides a strong platform for continued innovation in mobile entertainment.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Jam City to acquire a highly anticipated, award-winning mobile game before its worldwide launch,” said Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and CEO of Jam City. “World War Doh is an entirely new type of game for Jam City, and we’ve been blown away by how creative, entertaining and just plain fun it is. We look forward to welcoming the incredibly talented World War Doh team to Jam City and bringing the experience to gamers worldwide later this year.”

“We instantly hit it off with the Jam City team, which has been extremely supportive and truly shares our vision for World War Doh,” said Alejandro Gonzalez, General Manager of the Bogota studio. “World War Doh has been a labor of love for our team and we could not be more excited for the game to become part of Jam City’s top-ranked portfolio of hit entertainment properties. This deal proves that it is possible for Latin American talent to become part of global companies like Jam City – the future is bright!”

Pre-register for World War Doh here. For more details on Jam City, and to learn more about Jam City games, visit www.facebook.com/jamcityhq and www.twitter.com/jamcityhq.

April 6, 2018

Jam City Opens Google Play Pre-Registration and Releases New Gameplay Trailer for Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery Mobile Game

 

 

Who: Jam City, a Los Angeles based mobile games studio, in partnership with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

What: Google pre-registration for Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is now open. Fans can pre-register on Google Play to be the first to be notified when the game launches. Jam City also unveiled Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery’s second official trailer. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is licensed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, developed by Jam City and will be released this spring for mobile devices under Portkey Games™, the new label for gaming experiences inspired by the magic and adventures of the Wizarding World™. The title will be available on the App Store and Google Play.

Where: Los Angeles, CA

Quote: “We are grateful to the fans who have made Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery one of the most anticipated mobile games of 2018,” said Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and CEO of Jam City. “We’re thrilled to open Google pre-registration and share a new sneak peek at how this game will let fans create their own character and enter Hogwarts as a student for the first time.”

Assets: To download supporting assets for Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, please visit: https://app.box.com/v/HPHogwartsMystery-PreRegister

Background: Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is the first mobile game where players can create their own character and experience life as a Hogwarts student. In the narrative adventure with RPG elements, players will create a personalized student avatar, attend classes, learn magical skills, and form friendships or rivalries with other students. In the game, players make pivotal decisions that influence their character’s story arc at Hogwarts. The game features a new encounter system where player decisions and actions impact their quests, allowing Harry Potter fans to create their own legacy as a witch or wizard.

For more details on Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery and to connect with other fans , visit www.facebook.com/HPHogwartsMystery/, www.twitter.com/HogwartsMystery, and for more information visit www.HarryPotterHogwartsMystery.com/.

April 6, 2018

Jam City Unveils Teaser Trailer and New Details for Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery Mobile Game

 

 

Today, Jam City, a Los Angeles based mobile games studio, in partnership with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, revealed new details for Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery — including the game’s first teaser trailer.  Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is the first game in which players can create their own character and experience life as a Hogwarts student. In the roleplaying game, players will create a personalized student avatar, attend classes, learn magical skills, form friendships or rivalries with other students, and make pivotal decisions that will influence their character’s story arc as they traverse their years at Hogwarts and grow as a witch or wizard.  The game will launch under Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s Portkey Games, a label dedicated to creating gaming experiences inspired by the magic and adventures of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.

Before launching this spring, the title will be introduced to fans at the upcoming A Celebration of Harry Potter event at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida from January 26-28. There, attendees will be able to go behind the scenes via two panels hosted by the Jam City team as well as visiting the Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery booth to receive exclusive swag, play the game, meet members of the game team, and experience other magical surprises.

“Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is a role playing experience about magic, friendship, and life as a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,” said Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and CEO of Jam City.  “We can’t wait to give fans a first look at the game at A Celebration of Harry Potter, and this spring players will be able to explore Hogwarts fully in their journey toward becoming a witch or wizard.”

The game is set in the time between Harry Potter’s birth and his enrollment at Hogwarts, when Nymphadora Tonks and Bill Weasley were students. The avatar customization system allows you to continually upgrade your avatar as you gain new expertise and magical skills – you can even choose your own pet. You will join one of the four Houses before progressing through your years at Hogwarts, participating in magical classes and activities such as Potions and Transfiguration.  Building your skills will come in handy as you solve mysteries and go on adventures. As players improve their skills, they will unlock new locations, spells and other magical abilities. 

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery features both large plot arcs and smaller stories such as relationship quests. The game features a new encounter system in which player’s decisions in both actions and narrative impact their quests, and how other characters regard and interact with them. These choices will allow Harry Potter fans to create the legacy of the witch or wizard they want to become.  

April 6, 2018

Jam City Signs Licensing Agreement with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment For Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, a Mobile Narrative Role Playing Game set at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

 

 

December 12, 2017 – Today, Jam City, a Los Angeles based mobile games studio, in partnership with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, announced a licensing agreement to create Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, the first game in which players can create their own character and experience life as a Hogwarts student. The game will launch under Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s Portkey Games, a new label dedicated to creating gaming experiences inspired by the magic and adventures of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. 

“What an honor it is for Jam City to develop a mobile game for one of the largest and most iconic brands in history,” said Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and CEO of Jam City.  “As Harry Potter fanatics ourselves, we have great respect for the millions of people throughout the world who have followed the Harry Potter stories for more than 20 years.  This game is a labor of love for our developers and artists, who are dedicated to creating the most magical entertainment and game play experience for everyone who adores J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.”

The new game lets Harry Potter fans live the dream of becoming a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by creating their own character and progressing through their years at Hogwarts. Along the way players will participate in all of the magical classes and activities they have come to love – like Defence Against the Dark Arts, Potions, Duelling Club, and more.  Most of the iconic professors from the Harry Potter stories reprise their roles in the game.

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is a mobile gaming experience inspired by J.K. Rowling’s spell-binding lore, and it will be an exciting, fun way for fans to experience the Wizarding World,” said David Haddad, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “It is great to work with Jam City on the game, as the company has a proven track record of bringing rich, beloved worlds to players of mobile entertainment.”

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is licensed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and will be available next year for mobile devices via the App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon Appstore.  For more details on Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery as they are revealed, and to connect with other Harry Potter fans as you await your owl, visit www.facebook.com/HPHogwartsMystery/www.twitter.com/HogwartsMystery, and for more information visit www.HarryPotterHogwartsMystery.com/.

April 6, 2018

Chris DeWolfe’s SGN Games Becomes Jam City, Acquires Game Rights From ‘Peanuts’

 

welcome

 

September 22, 2016 – SGN Games, the mobile game maker created and led by MySpace’s co-founders, has a new name. Meet Jam City.

The 500-person company–whose games include Cookie Jam, Panda Pop, Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff and Marvel Avengers Academy–also announced that it has acquired rights to comic strip ‘Peanuts,’ which Jam City will release as a mobile game later this year.

Explaining his company’s rebrand, Jam City co-founder and CEO Chris DeWolfe said the new name combined with its recently licensed Hollywood franchises will help power his mobile gaming company to its next phase of growth.

“It’s time to bring our brand in line with our games,” said DeWolfe. “We’re in the business of fun, and yet our old name was a corporate acronym that lacked the spirit of our products. With Jam City, we’re harnessing the success of our games–particularly, our Jam game franchise–to animate our studio’s identity.”

Cookie Jam and Juice Jam, two of Jam City’s seven signature game titles, are collectively played 30 million times per day.

DeWolfe added that Jam City revenues have grown by 100% every year for the last five years. He said he expects revenues to surpass $400 million within the coming year.

Since receiving $130 million from Netmarble Games last year in what was the largest investment in a privately held gaming studio in over two years, Jam City has upped its investments in games based on entertainment franchises with global appeal while continuing to develop its own home-grown titles.

Jam City’s forthcoming Peanuts game will be its fourth based on Hollywood IP. After purchasing San Francisco-based TinyCo in July, Jam City acquired licenses to Marvel’s Avengers and 20th Century Fox’s Family Guy. Jam City’s Book of Life: Sugar Smash is also based on 20th Century Fox’s feature film.

“The opportunities for Hollywood in mobile games have never been as apparent as they are today,” said Rick Phillips, EVP at Fox Digital Entertainment. “Games can offer years of engagement and revenue for a film or TV show. Chris and his team have done an exceptional job. They’ve already succeeded with two Fox-owned properties, Family Guy and Book of Life. We’re looking forward to what they do next–this time under their Jam City brand.”

April 6, 2018

SGN Acquires TinyCo – A Studio That Turns Entertainment Brands Into Hit Mobile Games

 

 

July 5, 2016 – Jam City is buying TinyCo, a San Francisco studio that’s built a thriving business out of converting Hollywood brands into popular mobile games. They’ve already done it with Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff and Marvel Avengers Academy. More importantly, with other equally iconic titles in hand now, they’re going to do it again soon.

The deal closed today, and we’re pumped about it.

TinyCo’s cofounder and CEO, Suli Ali, and its 125 employees will now be joining Jam City’s kick-ass 275 designers, graphic artists, developers and marketing ninjas. We’re thrilled to begin working together as part of one team.

Last July, we received a $130 million investment from South Korea-based Netmarble Games, and we promised that as the mobile gaming industry consolidated we weren’t going to stand by and watch.

We think we’re making good on that pledge. TinyCo just became our third acquisition since December.

The mobile gaming business is a good place to be these days. This year, revenues are expected to surpass those from the PC and console gaming industries for the first time ever. What’s more, revenues from mobile games are forecast to grow at 10 times the rate of PC and console games this year, according to an April report from Newzoo.

All along, we’ve been building toward becoming a giant in this new, fast-growing space, and we’ve made acquisitions that complement that ambition. TinyCo is a key part of that strategy for obvious and not-so-obvious reasons. Here are the obvious ones:

  • TinyCo is a great company with serious growth. Its two signature games have been downloaded more than 100 million times. And we expect it to earn more than $100 million this year.
  • It helps us become a leader in a different genre of games. While we’re a global leader in puzzle games–think match-three titles like Cookie Jam and Genies and Gems or bubble shooters like Panda Pop–TinyCo is a leader in simulation or builder games.
  • It helps us diversify our business plan. Jam City creates and owns its intellectual property. TinyCo has taken a different tack by licensing existing brands. There are a lot of mobile games out there, but ones with name ID have a leg-up on the competition, not to mention lower development and marketing costs.

The thing is, I think there’s a less straightforward yet perhaps more important motivation for this acquisition–one that gives insight into my vision for this company and the future of this industry.

Buying TinyCo advances our goal to not only grow but also becoming a mobile gaming entertainment franchise.

Consider its business model. TinyCo converts globally recognizable Hollywood brands into mobile games.

Suli and TinyCo foresaw the importance of mobile before many others in this business. And in a very clear way, the company has been at the forefront of navigating one of the most important trends affecting this industry–that is, gaming and entertainment are colliding at an unprecedented rate.

Let me explain.

The boundaries that once defined the gaming industry and traditional entertainment franchises are growing increasingly porous by the day. By my count, more movies based on games will be in theaters this year than ever before.

What’s more, they’re doing well.

Two movies based on games–Angry Birds The Movie and Warcraft–are currently ranked 10th and 11th at the worldwide box office, both taking in more than $325 million so far. There are at least two more on the way to theaters this year. In 2017, expect even more.

At the same time, the opposite trend is also true. That is, more movies, TV shows and celebrities are providing content for games, particularly mobile ones. In addition to TinyCo’s Family Guy and Avengers games, the Simpsons and Jurassic World franchises have produced top grossing games. And that’s not even getting into the increasing cross-pollination between Hollywood stardom and gaming.

These days, movie studios are getting into the game-making business, and gaming studios are getting into the movie-making business.

For lack of a better word, I call this intersection or collision between these two decreasingly distinct industries Gamertainment.

It’s a trend we like a lot.

From the beginning, I’ve worked with a team deeply rooted in tech and, also, media and entertainment. Jam City’s CTO, Aber Whitcomb, was also the co-founder and CTO of MySpace; and Jam City’s President and COO, Josh Yguado, was an executive at Fox Networks after working at Univision and MTV.

To be sure, we’ve played our role in this Gamertainment trend, launching our first game based on a movie–the Book of Life: Sugar Smash–in 2014. And last year, we used an actor–Dr. Ken–in national ad campaigns for one of our games, Cookie Jam.

TinyCo fits well into this evolving world where entertainment franchises are becoming lucrative games and games are becoming lucrative gaming franchises.

In the most recent year, we saw our fastest rate of revenue growth ever. We’ve grown more than 1000 percent since 2013. We expect to earn more than half a billion dollars within the year, and we think we can even do better in the near future. Embracing a company that gets this trend will help us do it.

Now, it’s time to start making awesome new games.

Best,

Chris DeWolfe

CEO, SGN 

 

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