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December 4, 2018

Jam City Sweetens National Cookie Day With First Annual “Season Of Cookies” Event

Jam City is sweetening National Cookie Day by announcing our first annual “Season of Cookies” event, celebrating the Cookie Jam Blast player community. During this event, five players’ cookie recipes will be featured in the game, alongside game pieces based on their treasured family goodies, for a mobile recipe exchange between the millions of players that share a love of baking and the ultimate treat: cookies.

“National Cookie Day is an annual celebration of the joy that cookies bring to people all over the world and it’s a treat to be able to share the magic of this event in our game,” said Shane Nakamura, Vice President of Creative Development at Jam City.  

Each Thursday in December, an in-game recreation of a Cookie Jam Blast player’s favorite cookie will be reimagined as a game piece and incorporated into the gameplay. Players will be invited to access the cookie’s recipe, as well as learn about it’s baker and backstory, by visiting the Cookie Jam Blast Facebook page.

I have a go-to recipe for every bake sale, cookie swap and holiday event, that’s been in family for generations,” said Cindy Dutton, Cookie Jam Blast player. “I’m so excited to share my family’s favorite cookie featured in my go-to game, for all my fellow players to enjoy!”

To kick off this particularly tasty time of year, Cookie Jam Blast partnered with The Rachael Ray Show to celebrate National Cookie Day and the tastes and traditions of holiday baking.

Cookie Jam Blast is available for download on the App Store and Google Play.

November 28, 2018

Jam City Expands Global Operations to Toronto, Canada with the Acquisition of Bingo Pop from Uken Games

Today Jam City announced that it has acquired Bingo Pop, one of the top bingo mobile games worldwide, from Uken Games. The veteran Bingo Pop team has joined Jam City and will continue to manage game operations from Jam City’s new Toronto studio. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

“We are so proud to be continuing Jam City’s rapid global expansion with the acquisition of one of the most popular bingo titles, and its highly talented team,” said Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and CEO of Jam City. “This acquisition provides Jam City with access to leading creative talent in one of the fastest growing and most exciting tech markets in the world. We look forward to working with the talented Jam City team in Toronto as we supercharge the live operations of Bingo Pop and develop innovative new titles and mobile entertainment experiences.”

Canada is quickly becoming a haven for top game developers, engineers, designers, and artists from around the world given its prestigious universities, universal healthcare, affordable housing and diverse communities. In addition, more than 35,000 students are enrolled in digital gaming related programs across the Toronto and Ontario regions. “Jam City is looking forward to tapping into the large pool of talent across the region and expanding our operations in such a vibrant and trend-setting city,” said DeWolfe.

We are incredibly proud of what the Bingo Pop team has accomplished in creating a leader in the mobile bingo game category. We’re confident that Jam City will be a great home for Bingo Pop and the talented team behind the game in its next phase of growth,” said Chris Ye, co-founder and CEO of Uken Games. “Following this deal, we are excited to focus on the continued success of our iconic trivia titles and introduce brand new game franchises to players around the world. We are fully committed to continue hiring and investing in Toronto as a global hub for gaming.”

Jam City’s acquisition of Bingo Pop follows the company’s recent announcement of a multi-year partnership with Disney.

November 14, 2018

Jam City Seals Mobile Game Partnership with Disney Including Disney Emoji Blitz and New Game Based on Frozen Sequel

Today marks the culmination of an awesome year for Jam City as we announce a multi-year partnership with Disney which includes Jam City taking over Disney’s popular mobile game Disney Emoji Blitz and developing a new mobile game based on Disney Animation’s Frozen sequel. As part of the partnership, Jam City has the the right to develop additional mobile games based on iconic characters and stories from Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. Please see the press release we issued this morning (here).

Since its launch in 2016, Disney Emoji Blitz has built a strong and enduring user base and consistently surpassed revenue and engagement expectations by combining a unique match-3 blitz game with a deep emoji collection mechanic. Members of Disney’s Glendale Games Studio will join Jam City and continue to operate and grow Disney Emoji Blitz as part of the Jam City team.

Jam City’s new partnership with Disney – the world’s largest and most influential entertainment and media company – is a HUGE strategic win for Jam City and we are so proud of our team for getting us to this point.

Disney has tremendous respect for Jam City and our position as the premier mobile entertainment company. They specifically sought us out because of our world-class-team, global reach, and stellar track record of developing successful mobile games based on iconic entertainment brands – most recently with the wildly successful Jam City game Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery.

We are looking forward to bringing the magic of Disney characters and stories to Jam City as we continue to build our global leadership in mobile entertainment.

Chris DeWolfe
Co-Founder & CEO, Jam City

Josh Yguado
Co-Founder, President & COO, Jam City

October 24, 2018

Make Your Own Haunted Gingerbread House!

Chef Panda made a haunted gingerbread house to celebrate Halloween this year, and you can too! Follow the steps below to build your own and share it with us on social media using #MyHauntedCookieJamHouse.

October 22, 2018

Jam City Gives Players Tricks and Treats in the Halloween Spooktacular, Offering Sweet, Spooky Fun Across Line of Hit Mobile Games

Jam City is celebrating and spreading Halloween spirits throughout the month of October with spooky themes and in-game treats for mobile players across the portfolio of hit mobile games. This year’s guilt-free Halloween gaming includes its marquee global franchise games, Cookie Jam and Panda Pop. Along with these two titles, Family Guy: Another Freakin’ Mobile Game, Cookie Jam Blast and Genies and Gems are all featuring in-game Halloween themes to help inspire players to get into the Halloween spirit, including fan contests, brand new gaming content, costumes, and spooky challenges. Get ready for some in-game Halloween fun to help inspire the holiday with costumes, food and decorations.

Jam City’s Halloween Spooktacular Details:

  • Find Fun in Cookie Jam Halloween Baking: Throughout October, players will find sweet treat inspiration for the Halloween holiday with the kickoff of “Spooky Time,” a special limited time collection event where players can collect white ghost chocolate pieces and earn special prizes running through the end of October. Later in the month, a brand-new quest called “Haunt-air Balloon” will be unveiled – along with a special Halloween treat-themed cookie walk, starting on October 25. On October 30, players will find a new map called “Mary Jelly’s Monster” with 20 fun new, sugar-filled levels. Fans will also find further mouth-watering creations on Cookie Jam’s social channels, with a Haunted Gingerbread House confection and a recipe for a special marshmallow ghost game piece.

 

  • Discover New, Extravagant Costumes in Panda Pop: Players can take part in the new month-long Halloween Costume Extravaganza for a chance to win prizes and find creative ideas for their own Halloween costume this year. The game offers weekly events throughout October with an opportunity to unveil four brand-new costumes from Mama Panda; including an astronaut, banana, cat, and cowgirl. Along with the month-long Halloween theme takeover, including new looks and levels, there will be several Haunted Dojo, Feed the Dragon, Tour De Pop and Solo Save the Babies events. Players can also enjoy Mama Panda celebrating National Frankenstein Friday on October 26, with her Frankenstein costume. Fans will also get a chance to watch and recreate a special DIY Bride of Frankenstein costume video inspired by Mama Panda across Panda Pop’s social channels to ease any last minute costume questions.

 

  • Inspire The Inner Halloween Decorator: Mobile games across Jam City’s portfolio will be filled with vibrant, lively and ghoulish decor to inspire any Halloween fan. Dark, spooky streets by the Griffin’s house and puzzle art in Family Guy: Another Freakin’ Mobile Game, and fall-inspired leaves, Jack-o-lanterns and characters in costumes will help fans and players of these storied games celebrate Halloween in their own way. These unique and ghostly-inspired mobile games for October will lean into the holiday with special colors and iconic figures to bring Halloween to life for mobile players around the world.

 

Cookie Jam, Panda Pop, Family Guy: Another Freakin’ Mobile Game, Cookie Jam Blast and Genies and Gems are free to play and available on mobile devices via the App Store and Google Play.

October 5, 2018

Jam City Sponsors the International Game Developers Association’s 5th Annual San Diego Game Jam

From September 28 – 30, Jam City sponsored the 5th annual San Diego Game Jam, held at the Art Institute of California – San Diego, and presented by the International Game Developers Association – San Diego (IGDA).

The program was open to everyone — pros and hobbyists alike — regardless of skill level or profession and participants competed to make games based on a common theme and chosen mechanics.

Helping to organize the weekend’s event were three of Jam City’s finest citizens: Rachel Levine (left), Vice Chair of the IGDA San Diego chapter; Dylan Marquez (middle), Chair of the IGDA San Diego chapter; and Vic Bekarian (right), Treasurer of the IGDA San Diego Chapter. At Jam City, the trio work together on the hit mobile franchise, Cookie Jam.

The teams had 48 hours to build a game fitting the theme,“We did everything adults would do. What went wrong?” — a quote from William Golding’s Lord of the Flies.

San Diego’s biggest game development event celebrated the local game development community where game makers came together to make new friends, network, share ideas, and build their dream game.

All submitted games are now playable and can be viewed here: https://itch.io/jam/sd-gamejam-2018/entries

A panel of judges will decide winners in six different categories: Grand Prize, Judges Choice, Best Art, Best Design, Best Abstract Game, and Best Audio Design. The winners will be revealed at IGDA – SD’s next mixer.

October 2, 2018

When We All Vote at Jam City

 


Today is an important day for Jam City as we announce our partnership with the non-partisan, not-for-profit organization #
WhenWeAllVote for a voter registration initiative that will reach millions of Jam City players nationwide.  

From October 3 – 5, players of Jam City’s hit mobile games Cookie Jam, Cookie Jam Blast, Panda Pop, and Genies & Gems will be served non-partisan messages to remind them to exercise their right to vote and register in time for the midterm elections. For many states, this week is the registration deadline to cast your vote on November 6, and we are eager to let players know it’s not too late to participate.


It might concern you to know that 45 percent of American adults did not vote in our last national elections. At Jam City, we want to help ensure that the percentage who choose to stay home on election day never reaches a level that high ever again. That is why we are working with #WhenWeAllVote leading up to the 2018 midterm elections.


#WhenWeAllVote b
rings together citizens, institutions, and organizations to spark a conversation about our rights and responsibilities in shaping our democracy—namely, the responsibility of registering and voting. Given the ubiquity of smartphone devices, Jam City’s mobile gaming platform provides #WhenWeAllVote the network to reach more eligible voters and encourage them to register.


95 percent of Americans own a smartphone and 185 million of them identify as gamers. Not only is mobile America’s top platform for play, it also allows us to work, express ourselves, and consume information like never before. As the public at large continues to transition from traditional information mediums to mobile channels, mobile games offer an untapped connection point to inform and engage voters.


As you head to the polls this November, remember that your vote matters.  Voting is one of the most powerful tools we can use to shape our democracy. Be active. Be engaged. And, be a megaphone for your ideals. When we stay home, nothing changes.  But when we all vote, we can move our country — and the world — forward.


Chris DeWolfe,

Co-Founder & CEO, Jam City

 

October 1, 2018

Jam City VP, Narrative Ryan Kaufman Discusses How To Create Compelling Stories For Casual Games

Every other Wednesday, Jam City hosts a Lunch and Learn where employees from every studio have the option to conference in to a discussion that provides forward movement into their personal and professional development. Past Lunch and Learns — led by either a Jam City executive or a professional in a specific field — have included helpful topics like Photoshop Basics, App Store Optimization 101, Acquiring Immigration Visas, and Boosting Game Teams with AI and Data.

Jam City’s VP, Narrative, Ryan Kaufman, led a session titled “How to Create Compelling Stories for Casual Games”. It was a talk that offered employees guidance on how to build narratives that capture and retain an audience while building plots that rest atop an emotional undercurrent.

Ryan Kaufman 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. As VP, Narrative, Ryan helps Jam City’s creative teams build out the processes and methods to deliver world class narrative design.

“I could talk about stories for hours,” begins Kaufman. “Whether it’s Panda Pop or Harry Potter, it all comes down to emotional storytelling. Fans of Harry Potter don’t want to just visit Hogwarts and see Dumbledore and Snape; they want to interact, and really have a personalized relationship with them.”

He continues, “Panda Pop is a bubble shooter, but it actually has really relatable values — like a mother’s relationship with her cubs. Finding relatable stories, like raising mischievous kids, enhances the amazing gameplay.”

The Basics of a Good Story

His first advice to those starting with a blank canvas is to center stories around personal experiences. The casual audience has limited time and attention span and a good narrative has to be immediately engaging and compelling, and that’s easier when it is emotional and relatable.

Step one is figuring out the emotion you want players to feel. “Write it on a post-it note and stick it to your monitor where you can see it every day. Watch it grow like a seed,” Kaufman explains. “The story is the way in which you explain your emotion. Why am I angry or fearful?” Decide what you want to say about that emotion, then find a new twist you can bring to it.

Step two is to discover what characters in your story are relatable. He reminds the employees, “Just because a character isn’t likable, doesn’t mean they can’t be relatable.”

Emotional Storytelling

We experience a story on many levels. A great story is almost never about what it seems like it’s about. “Your favorite stories are always about something deeper than the plot,” Kaufman told the conference. “It’s what keeps you coming back to it.” He then uses J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” to illustrate his example.

“Lord of the Rings is not actually about the epic journey from Hobbiton to Mt. Doom. It’s about leaving home and safety for the first time. It’s about taking on adult responsibilities. And it’s about the scars that life will give you along the way.” The emotional journey is the real story.

Players come back to Jam City games because, among other things, of the exciting gameplay. So what happens when we add stories and characters to it? And in the case of Panda Pop, what happens when we provide a familiar experience with a family? Giving players a compelling story adds another reason to return to the game as well as reason to invest your time and interest.

The Creative Process

When it comes to the creative process of emotional storytelling, Kaufman offered guidelines for success.

First, focus on one emotion. A good practice is to think about something that happened to you in real life — something truly memorable. When you recall that memory, don’t just recall the event. Remember how it made you feel. That memory is anchored in that emotion. See if you can bring that real-life feeling to the game story.

Second, cement what you want to say about that emotion. What new insight or twist do you have to contribute? If you don’t have something new to say, you run the risk of being predictable or boring.

Third, engage and retain! If you have good answers for the first two steps, you’ll have an audience learning forward. They want to know more, and look forward to what’s coming next.

Make Room for a Creative Space

As game developers, you should create space for players to express their OWN feelings in the narrative. Create choice moments where relationships can shift and progress. Or action moments that have fallout and consequence. Strive to give the player a personalized version of the story.

“Jam City is lucky to be working in an interactive medium, so there is so much more we can explore,” Kaufman says. “Games nowadays are just as much about the experiences players have as the stories themselves. Games allow you to really LIVE the experience. Players can tap and swipe the screen, or complete a challenge, and start to really earn those emotional payoffs.”

For Jam City games, interactivity, puzzles, and choice mechanics continually solicit player investment. “Encourage ownership and engagement by tying mechanics into the narrative,” Kaufman concludes. “Investment and ownership are very powerful feelings.”

Jam City would like to extend a huge thank you to Ryan Kaufman for taking the time to sit down and educate our employees.

September 25, 2018

Employee Spotlight – Megan Carlsen, 2D Art Director

Meet Megan Carlsen, Jam City’s Associate 2D Art Director, in our latest Employee Spotlight. As a seven year veteran of the company, Megan is a pro at making Jam City’s narrative adventures come to life.

What drew you to Jam City?

I saw an intense opportunity to grow as an artist and learn from the talent that was already employed here. The people in every discipline of our studio are people that are energetic and passionate about what they are doing. Plus, the game art was so darn cute!

Describe your role on the team.

My specialty is in character design and marketing art. I also manage a team of artists who ensure that the assets we work on tell the story of our narrative as vividly as possible. I ensure that the art we create promotes an experience that delights players, supports the design of the game, and is an authentic experience to the IP we are working with.

What advice can you give young artists who want to enter the gaming industry?

Interpersonal skills are key if you want to be a part of game development. Learn to work as a team with others and be that person who others want to have on their team. I’ve seen amazingly talented artists struggle to find work because they have a toxic diva attitude. Being able to communicate your ideas both verbally and in writing can take you very far. Take pride in everything you do; whether it’s the project of your dreams or a simple icon that doesn’t excite you, you should always be able to stand by the quality you produce.

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

Different games have provided different rewarding experiences. When I worked on Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, my favorite thing to do was to design celebrities in the Family Guy art style. It was so fun to have people like Snoop Dogg and Patrick Stewart comment on my artwork!

During my time designing for Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow, I got to work with Rough Draft. David X. Cohen, Claudia Katz, and Pete Avanzino were amazing partners, and I learned a lot from them about crafting a world people love.  

In the seven years you’ve worked for Jam City, how has the company evolved in terms of work culture and game development?

When I joined the company, it was very small and we were all so young! It’s amazing to see how we’ve honed our craft to become mature industry professionals. I’m inspired by how Jam City continues to focus on improving equality, inclusivity, and diversity. Within game development, I think that rather than reacting to popular trends, Jam City is establishing themselves as a company that sets them. The executives encourage us to innovate as well as think creatively about how entertainment will evolve.

What do you think makes Jam City stand out as a trailblazer in the gaming industry?

Jam City takes time to listen to their players. The player experience is so important to us and we take great efforts to make sure that players are excited to open up one of our games. If our community doesn’t enjoy a feature, we do what we can to iterate and improve it. Jam City also invests in their employee’s careers, giving us clear paths for growth so that we can accomplish our goals.  

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned while working at Jam City?

Everyone in every department should think of themselves as a Game Designer. Study Game Design principles regardless of what your role is, play new and old games, talk to others about games they like and didn’t like. When everyone feels like a game designer in their heart, they make decisions that support a unified vision that they are proud to be a part of.  

What advice would you give other employees about how to succeed in their role?

Self care is important! Exercise, eat healthy food, laugh with friends, get some sunshine, be inspired by other works of art, and then come in focused and ready to kick ass. There are times to dig deep and crunch, but overall, the person who sharpens the axe will always cut down the tree faster than the one that chops and chops with a dull blade.

September 18, 2018

Employee Spotlight – Michael Liu, Lead Content Designer

Meet Michael Liu in Jam City’s latest Employee Spotlight. As the Lead Content Designer for Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Michael and his team surpass the limits of their creativity to bring home a familiar experience through a brand new medium to millions of fans around the world.

What drew you to Jam City?

I’ve always wanted to work in games and Jam City’s core values and diverse portfolio of highly successful mobile games resonated with me.

Describe your role on the team.

I lead a team of nine exceptionally talented Associate Designers in implementing various forms of content. This includes anything from visualizing complex narrative scenes in 3D space to building new game features and mechanics from the ground up. Imagine our game as car, and each of the component manufacturers a separate department within the studio. Our job is to take the high end components (courtesy of Jam City) and assemble the fastest possible vehicle while utilizing the most optimal assembly techniques.

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

What I consider the most important part of my role – directing the growth of my team in a close mentorship capacity. Throughout the life cycle of this game, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing members of my team exemplify what it means to be hard working, continually push the boundaries and limitations of what can be accomplished through our implementation systems and ultimately step into positions of leadership. For me, their success is my success and there isn’t a feeling more rewarding.

What challenges and unique opportunities arose when putting together content for Hogwarts Mystery?

One of the most difficult challenges we had to overcome during the initial development cycle was figuring out the best ways in visualizing complex narrative content while taking into consideration the limitations of our platform. We knew the expectations fans had around the world, and we wanted to deliver. We did everything we could to provide our liveliest version of Hogwarts, with all the polygons and students everywhere while always taking into consideration optimization within a wide range of devices. And though the discussion is still a constantly evolving one and something we’re continuing to fine tune to this day- in building this game I believe we have set the foundation for what can be considered the “gold standard” within the industry for narrative games.

What is it like to work on an game that stems from an IP that has become a cultural influencer for people around the world?

Words cannot express. Harry Potter was a huge part of my childhood. I grew up waiting in line at the bookstore for each of the new releases. I laughed with Harry and his friends through their adventures through Hogwarts, and I cried miserably upon the death of Dumbledore (spoiler alert). Now I’m responsible for delivering content to an entire generation of fans yearning for more stories, through an entirely new medium that further elevates their understanding of the world they’ve grown to know and love. To say that this is a dream come true would be an understatement.

What do you think makes Jam City stand out as a trailblazer in the gaming industry?

I believe the driving force behind our company’s success lies in our diverse portfolio of games that focus on player experiences first. Success comes naturally when players are genuinely having fun playing your games.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned while working at Jam City?

Stay woke humble. Go into every conversation assuming the other person knows something you don’t, and it’s likely you’ll leave the conversation having learned something new.

What advice would you give other employees about how to succeed in their role?

These last two questions are really stretching my knowledge on philosophical idioms, however the best advice I can give based off personal experience is to never settle for mediocrity. Constantly strive to elevate your ability to create at the highest level and you will naturally be positioned for success. No one should hold you to a higher standard than the standard you hold for yourself.

September 17, 2018

Jam City San Francisco Studios Celebrate Their Annual Summer Party at Golden Gate Park

Don’t let the cozy sweaters fool you — it was summer in San Francisco! 

Last month, Jam City’s two San Francisco offices joined together for a luau at Golden Gate Park. Comprised of the game teams behind Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Family Guy: Another Freakin’ Mobile Game, Panda Pop, Snoopy Pop, and Marvel Avengers Academy, employees enjoyed a relaxing day of full of food, games, and fun!

With plenty of room for activities, Jam Citizens took to the field for friendly games of volleyball, cornhole, soccer, frisbee, and football.  

For the truly adventurous, kickboxing pads were on hand for employees to participate in Muy Thai. Of course, no summer party would be complete without a limbo competition. 

After working up an appetite, Jam Citizens lined up for delicious food from L&L Hawaiian BBQ and Italian Shaved Ice for dessert from The Mustache guys.

There was also plenty of downtime to kick back, relax, and enjoy the day.

Congrats to all our Jam Citizens in San Francisco on a fantastic year!

September 12, 2018

Jam City Wins Coveted Vision Critical Award for Best New Community

Jam City, a global leader in mobile entertainment, providing social gaming experiences for millions of players around the world, today announced that it is has received the Visionary Award for Best New Community for its Jam City Insiders program. This award, by Vision Critical, a leading customer intelligence software provider, recognizes organizations that are innovating customer-centric decision making, and celebrates Jam City’s player-first approach to gaming and its dedication to its community of players. The award will be given out to Jam City during Vision Critical’s Customer Intelligence Summit on Friday, September 14th in Washington, D.C. honoring the brightest minds and best technology in customer intelligence.

“It’s important to us to build relationships with our most valued players, to learn more about their gameplay motivations and to create new experiences that will keep our players engaged for years to come,” said Lisa Spano, Vice President of Consumer Insights for Jam City. “The mobile gaming landscape changes daily and the need for quick-turnaround insights with “real gamers” is crucial in our competitive space. By listening to our players throughout the entire development process, our Community has helped us make better business decisions and have significantly improved our player experiences, ultimately reflecting our player-first culture.”

In the ever-changing, always evolving gaming sector, player feedback is vital to ensure a game’s longevity and success. Led by Jam City’s Consumer Insights team, the company created the ‘Jam City Insiders’ program, to create a dialogue with its player base. Comprised of over 15K of its most avid gamers, these player advocates provide candid, representative and vital feedback on new game features, concepts and go to market strategies. Creating lasting relationships with high value players through Jam City Insiders has been central to Jam City’s strategy and has helped propel the success of their most storied franchises like Cookie Jam, Cookie Jam Blast, and Panda Pop.

“It made a lot of sense to create Jam City Insiders after our new research team was formed.  The Insider community has allowed the company to gain insights into what our most passionate players want and has helped us innovate in mobile gaming,” remarked Josh Yguado, president and COO of Jam City. “Listening to our Insiders and developing relationships with our players is a central part of our development cycle. Our community has led to better business decisions and most importantly better player experiences.”

September 7, 2018

Jam City’s San Diego Studio Celebrates Annual Summer Party at Carlsbad Lagoon

As summer came to a close, Jam City’s San Diego Studio—the developers and designers behind the hit mobile games Cookie Jam and Cookie Jam Blast—and their families celebrated their annual summer party at the Carlsbad Lagoon for a day filled with food, games, and water sports.

The employees and their families were treated to a taco bar courtesy of El Nopalito, Cookie Jamwiches for dessert, and enjoyed several games on the coast of the lagoon. 

For those with a sense of adventure, there were plenty of water activities to choose from including riding wave runners, driving craigcats, relaxing on pontoon boats, and going paddle boarding and kayaking.

After working diligently all year to produce amazing updates, great user experiences, and brand new features, the team deserved a fun day off.

Jam City would like to give a huge shout out to our San Diego studio for all of the hard work they put in every single day. Millions of gamers around the world owe it to you for keeping their favorite mobile games fresh and exciting.

September 6, 2018

Employee Spotlight – Sara McPherson, Director of User Experience

Meet Sara McPherson, Jam City’s Director of User Experience. In our latest Employee Spotlight, Sara breaks down the innovative steps she and her team take that allows players to become completely immersed in a Jam City game.

What drew you to Jam City?  

I was impressed with Jam City’s IP partnerships.  At that time, the studio had two games in development (Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery); I joined the company in the hopes that I would get to work on one of the games in development, and I ended up working on both.  

Describe your role on the team.

I’m the Director of User Experience for Jam City’s San Francisco studio, and I also run the UI department.  For the past 10 months or so I’ve spent the majority of my time on Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, working on features, UX, UI, and user testing.  My team and I collaborate with all the departments on the game development teamparticularly Game Designers, Project Managers, and Producersto make the experience of playing the game as engaging and rewarding as possible. We also try to make our games intuitive so that a player knows what their goals are and how to accomplish them, and so they understand how well they’re doing based on the game’s feedback.  

What goes into making a great user experience? How do you go about making sure players feel the emotions you and your team have designed for them?  

User experience is essentially the intersection between user needs, business goals, and information. Creating great UX in a game is a multi-stage, multi-faceted process that includes user research, psychological principles, prototyping, information architecture, user flows, feature design, and UI design.  The thing is, none of this matters if you’re not in tune with what your target audience wants; awesome UX for one demographic can be terrible UX for another. That’s where testing comes in. Great UX designers have excellent instincts about what the players want, but at the end of the day, user testing is the only way to be certain the product is heading in the right direction and hitting optimal levels of both usability and engageability.  For both Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, I worked closely with our rockstar Consumer Insights team to gather and interpret user testing data that informed the decisions we made on the development team.        

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

The most rewarding aspect of my role is working with my team to create an awesome user experience that allows the player to become completely immersed in the game.  A game can have great engineering, or beautiful art, or well-written narrative, but if the player feels confused about how to interact with it, what the goals are, what they’re supposed to be feeling, or how well they’re doing, the player can never be truly immersed. I love designing an experience that lets the game draw the player into the world.     

What sets Jam City apart from other mobile gaming companies?

I admire Jam City’s fearlessness when it comes to trying new things.  They had expertise in developing casual match-3 and bubble-shooter games, and once they acquired TinyCo they had the expertise in builder and character collection games, but no one tried to restrict Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery to any of those genres.  Instead, Jam City was supportive of us creating HP:HM in the way we knew it should be created, as a casual narrative RPG.  Many game companies wouldn’t be willing to risk trying an unfamiliar genre for such an important IP, but Jam City trusted us to make the game we believed in.

To date, what projects have you been most excited to work on?

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery has definitely been the most exciting project I’ve worked on.

One of my favorite parts about working on HP:HM has been getting to know the IP’s fan base and what’s most exciting to them.  Basically every Harry Potter fan wishes he or she could attend Hogwarts, and their expectations for the game were sky-highthey wanted to feel like they were truly experiencing the magic, mystery, and friendships of Hogwarts.

Initially I wanted to work on the game because it’s such a strong IP, but after I got to know the fan base a little more I became deeply invested in the responsibility of delivering the game they’d been waiting their whole lives for.  I take that responsibility very seriously, as does the entire game team, so during development we found ourselves in this magical space where we just wanted to make something truly special, something that would live up to the fans’ expectations.  

What advice would you give other employees about how to succeed in their role?

Take your job seriously, and be enthusiastic about taking on new responsibilities and confronting new challenges.  So many of us in this industry started out in random entry-level positions and managed to grow our careers in incredible ways; no matter what your role is, if you produce excellent work and do your job with integrity, you’ll probably be given amazing opportunities to elevate your career.

September 5, 2018

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery Wins 2018 Dragon Award for Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game

Over Labor Day Weekend, The Dragon Awards were presented at Dragon Con 2018the largest multimedia, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and filmin Atlanta, GA.

Jam City’s Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery took home the award for “Best Science Fiction or Fantasy Mobile Game”. Other nominees in the category included Planescape: Torment, the Enhanced Edition; Nocked!; Lineage 2: Revolution; and Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition.

Jam City would like to extend a huge thank you to all the fans who voted for Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. This award would not be possible with your support.

More about The Dragon Awards from Dragon Con’s official website:

The Dragon Awards are decidedly a “fans’ choice” award. All fans – not just Dragon Con members or attendees – are invited to select the Dragon Award winners by voting – for free – on the third annual Dragon Awards ballot.

In a world of the ordinary, the Dragon is most astonishing. Its heart burns with determination and desire as it soars from page to canvas to screen. The Dragon’s inner fire elevates it above the mundane, and once released, inspires respect and awe from all who witness its greatness.

Like the Dragon, our recipients are extraordinary and unique. Fueled by the passion for their art, they have spread their wings and soared above us all. Their inner fire, the burning in their hearts and souls, cannot be restrained. Once set free, their work, their fire, has influenced and inspired countless others, burned into our hearts and minds forever.

In the spirit of the Dragon and with infinite admiration, we created The Dragon Award as a token of their individuality and greatness. We are pleased to present all of our award winners with the essence of the Dragon, its fire, suspended perpetually as a permanent reminder of their contributions.

See the full list of The 2018 Dragon Award winners here.

August 30, 2018

Jam City Hosts “Find Your Jam” – A Panel Discussion With The Creators Changing The Face Of Modern Day Storytelling In Los Angeles

Jam City hosted the first ever “Find Your Jam” event at the Rose Room in Venice, CAa panel discussion with the creators changing the face of modern day storytelling in Los Angeles. The event drew a packed house of nearly 100 attendees including members of the media from the LA Business Journal, The Daily Mail, Gamasutra, Uproxx, LAist, PopSugar, GameRevolution, E! News, GameSpot, W Magazine, MonsterVine, The Gamer’s Temple, PlayStation Haven, and more.

Moderated by Marissa Muller, an editor from W Magazine, the panel included creators from every corner of the creative industry including Stephanie Michaels, aka Adventure Girl, one of the first travel influencers on Twitter, Chris Prynoski, President and Founder of Titmouse animation studio, Simon Chong, Assistant Director of Bob’s Burgers, Alex Aldea, founder of the Paragon Collective podcast, and Jam City’s SVP of Creative Development, Johnny Casamassina. Together they discussed how to create content on various platforms including social media, gaming, animation, podcasts, and television.

The event began with welcome drinks and food from the Let’s Taco Bout It. Jam City also provided Cookie Jamwiches, artisanal ice cream sandwiches inspired by the hit mobile game, Cookie Jam.

As attendees stepped into the Rose Room, they were welcomed with an arts and craft station where they were encouraged demonstrate their own creativity and build a Vision Board.

Moderator Marissa Muller introduced the panel and began the discussion by asking each panelist where they found their jam.

Before starting her traveling career, Stephanie Michaels informed the audience that she “wanted to be a War Reporter and chase bullets” in war zones.

Animator Simon Chong said he spent seven months creating a mashup where characters from the FX series “Archer” were placed in the world of the Fox series “Bob’s Burgers.” After debuting the mashup online, Chong says he was contacted by the creator of “Bob’s Burgers” and offered a position on the team.

Johnny Casamassina spent his life playing video games as a hobby and decided to make a career out of designing and producing games.

Chris Prynoski started his animation career storyboarding for the hit animated series “Daria” and “Beavis & Butthead”.

When it came to discussing diversity in the workplace, Alex Aldea proclaimed, “You shouldn’t push diversity in the workplace because it makes money, you should do it because it’s the right thing to do. It reflects our real-world culture.”

An audience member asked the panelists a question about how creators compete against those in their industry who produce the same content. The panelists shared the same belief about sticking to a route that keeps your brand authentic and fun.

Johnny Casamassina offered insight from the game industry’s point of view:

“You have to believe in your gut and discover what motivates players and what players find fun. All of the top-grossing games are unique in their own way.”

Following the panel discussion, audience members and panelists had the opportunity to mingle and network to further discuss the unique ways they are telling stories through various mediums.

To close out the night, singer and songwriter Emm performed. Emm tells stories through music, drawing inspiration from real-life experiences and common hardships that are commonly swept under the rug. She is unafraid to express herself openly and encourages positivity and love at every opportunity.

Jam City would like to extend a very large thank you to the Rose Room for hosting the event and to all the creators, writers, and influencers who attended.

August 28, 2018

Employee Spotlight – Anna Huang, Operations Director

Meet Anna Huang, Jam City’s Operations Director for our San Francisco studios. In our latest Employee Spotlight, Anna reveals what steps she takes to provide a healthy work environment and lists what perks you can expect if you ever find yourself working in Jam City’s San Francisco studios.

What drew you to Jam City?

The people drew me to Jam City. Everyone loved what they were doing and was happy and excited to be at work. The warmth and friendliness I received was contagious and assured me this was the place for me.

Describe your role on the team.

As Operations Director, I oversee the office operations of both of Jam City’s San Francisco studios making sure the workplace runs smoothly and efficiently. Every day, I am fortunate to work and support a variety of people and departments across all Jam City locations. Another part of my role is managing and developing a team in operationswe are small but mighty. My goal is to help them with their career growth and provide them with the necessary tools and resources to succeed in their job.

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

I love helping people and providing them the best quality of work life possible. Whether it be figuring out a solution to a problem, helping find the best resource or blocking time on my calendar for a chatit’s all about the small things you do for others. I believe a little goes a long way to make others feel appreciated and in turn, it makes my job so much easier.

What steps do you take to build an environment in which employees have room to breathe without burning out?

Part of my job is to understand the energy of the office and what’s to come. Being aware of when events are, when game releases occur, or milestones reached usually prompts good timing for surprise treats and gatherings. These are the moments where people can decompress and celebrate victories big or small.

What are some perks and benefits you bring to the office?

The operations team meet to brainstorm new and exciting things for the San Francisco offices. We switch up the snacks and beverages selections every quarter so there is something new to satisfy and energize employees the moment they step into the office. We bring in bagels every Monday and fresh fruit twice a weekan apple a day keeps the doctors away!

We hold happy hours, movie nights, game nights, team-specific outings and recognize new hires, promotions and work anniversaries. Throughout the year we incorporate theme days such as Fancy Friday (with wine), Plaid Day, Onesie Day and Sports Day, to name a few.  Recently we celebrated Pride with a happy hour and cotton candy and the World Cup where TVs were set up around the officeemployees came dressed in their favorite team’s attire!

We’re always thinking of ways to give back to the community that’ll bring joy to others. Our most recent event was the backpack drive where employees donated backpacks, pencils, markers and other school supplies. During the Holidays we participate in Adopt A Family, Food Drives, and serve at the local food bank.

Jam City SF organized a Backpack Drive just in time for the back to school season.

What do you think makes Jam City stand out as a trailblazer in the gaming industry?

The people we hire. Jam City has the most amazing culture out of all the places I’ve worked and the atmosphere is friendly and supportive. People are smart, creative and passionate about what they do and it clearly shows in their day to day interactions and deliverables.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned while working at Jam City?

First is having a sense of humor! Things pop up all the time and I’m often being pulled in all directions. I’ve learned that things rarely go as planned so you can’t take it personally. Laughing it off at the end of the day usually saves my sanity. Second, forward thinking. Being aware of what will come next and mitigating risks before it happens. And lastly, be assertive and firm in your delegation, goals and personal limits.

What advice would you give other employees about how to succeed in their role?

Never stop looking for opportunities to help you learn, grow, and become a better version of your current self. Meet up for coffee with others to hear their story and find out their tricks and best practices. There is always room for growth because when you find the cross between what you love to do and what you are good at, everything changes.

August 24, 2018

Employee Spotlight – Sangita Agrawal, Director of Product Marketing

Meet Sangita Agrawal, Jam City’s Director of Product Marketing. Sangita is known as the “Method Marketer.” Find out what that means and why it’s an important title to have.

What drew you to Jam City?

Jam City represents an unparalleled intersection of gaming and entertainment. With a portfolio of global IP’s and the opportunity to develop a brand new Marketing discipline, I was excited to join the team.

Describe your role on the team.

My role as Director of Product Marketing is to drive growth through positioning, messaging, content strategy and creative development for all distribution channels for our mobile games. I’ve grown to be known as “the Method Marketer” because I immerse myself in whatever product/brand I am working on to get my creative juices flowing!

What advice can you give young women about breaking ground in the gaming industry?

Don’t be afraid to share your voice. Others will listen.

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

I love seeing the sheer joy on our players’ faces when they play our game for the first time. At “The Celebration of Harry Potter” event in Orlando, FL, I had the opportunity to experience first-hand, the excitement from gushing fans as they found out they were finally accepted to Hogwarts in our mobile game!

To date, what projects have you been most excited to work on?

It’s been an intense thrill and privilege to develop the marketing strategy for Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery.  One of my favorite memories is going to London to record voiceovers of the original Harry Potter film actors including Dame Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall), Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick) and Michael Gambon (Headmaster Dumbledore). I even got a private charm class tutorial for “wingardium leviosa” from Professor Flitwick!

What advice would you give other employees about how to succeed in their role?

Adopting a growth mindset will empower you to create a passion for learning rather than a hunger for approval, which in turn provides a more lasting sense of fulfillment from your career.

August 21, 2018

Employee Spotlight – Stan Gebala, Associate Tech Director

Meet Stan Gebala, Associate Tech Director for Cookie Jam Blast. In our latest Employee Spotlight, Stan reveals the unique road that led him to Jam City and what he and his team are doing to consistently improve the player experience in Cookie Jam Blast.

What drew you to Jam City?

I was part of the original team that helped build Cookie Jam. At the time, I was living in Poland and working remotely for a company called Mob Science which Jam City later acquired. The team was impressed with my work and as a result, was offered a visa and the chance to relocate to San Diego and help build Cookie Jam Blast.

Describe your role on the team.

I’m the Associate Tech Director for Cookie Jam Blast. My average day starts with a Scrum meeting where we share and discuss current goals and challenges for the San Diego studio. Afterward, my time is shared between coding, current problems analysis, delegating tasks and helping the team fulfill various needs.

What advice can you give young students who are interested in working in gaming and tech?

It really helps when you are passionate about what you do. A career in software engineering requires constant self-learning because technology evolves all the time. It’s important to have strong foundations (education + work experience) so you can build your expertise on top of that.

I recommend that young students participate in extracurricular projects. It is a great way of gaining experience and it’s valuable for your CV.

Another piece of advice I suggest is to prepare how you discuss your engineering practices for interviews. During your first interview, you’ll need to answer basic engineering questions. You’ll likely be asked to show your project with source code samples. Make sure you feel comfortable talking about your project in detail and defending the choices you made.

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

I love reading the positive reviews from our players, and thanks to my experience with game development, I can make architectural decisions that allow the game to be modified a lot easier without a lot of refactoring, making the ability to add new features to the game a lot of fun.

What do you think makes Jam City stand out as a trailblazer in the gaming industry?

Jam City games have beautiful art, great design, solid engineering and a unique approach to experimentation with features and analytics that help measure what features our users love the most. Jam City is also not afraid to take risks and learn from them. There are times when a change in the process is required even if it seems difficult. Thanks to this approach, we are working in a more efficient development environment.

Cookie Jam Blast has been downloaded over 100 million times. What about the game keeps players returning?

Every play session in both Cookie Jam and Cookie Jam Blast are a lot of fun. It’s not only about solving match-3 puzzles, it’s also about participating in 24/7 events and competing against other players for awesome rewards.

There’s also great game mechanics added in that are designed to help players succeed—like the Airship Powers in Cookie Jam Blast! Each new airship you unlock can help you beat even the hardest levels.

From a tech standpoint, what are you and your team doing to consistently improve the player experience?

Every time we add new features into the game we have to be mindful of its impact on app size and have to watch the overall game performance (e.g. loading times and FPS). We also put a lot of effort into keeping the game stable by fixing bugs and adding more automated tests that can detect problems before the game goes live.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned while working at Jam City?

Teamwork is absolutely essential for being successful as a studio. It seems trivial, but sharing knowledge across the company saves a lot of time and money. There’s also a need to constantly improve the development processes, so we can centralize the core tech and frameworks that we use.

What advice would you give other employees about how to succeed in their role?

Everyone’s work is important. There could not be a great game without awesome art, design, programming, QA, analytics, marketing, and production—everything has to work smoothly!

It’s also very important to keep yourself highly motivated and happy doing your job. If you’re not, then it’s up to you to figure out why that is. Sometimes, it’s as simple as not scheduling meetings back to back or slightly changing the process pipeline and tools that you use. Remember, nothing is set in stone and even small cumulative improvements can greatly affect your working environment and overall efficiency.

August 15, 2018

Employee Spotlight – Rhiannon Price, Senior Manager, Creative Product Marketing

Meet Rhiannon Price, Jam City’s Senior Manager, Creative Product Marketing. Rhiannon is the definition of a team player as her work helps impact Jam City’s entire portfolio. Check out what she brings to the table and meet her beloved sidekick, Huey. 

What drew you to Jam City?

In my previous role I worked as an agency partner for several gaming & entertainment companies. However, I wanted to be in a role where I’d be integrated across every aspect of product marketing because I knew I’d be able to make a bigger impact if I had insight into more data.

So I looked into the mobile gaming industry and saw that Brian Sapp had just joined Jam City as their VP, User Acquisition & Marketing. Interestingly, I’d not met Brian in person but had worked with him through vendor-client relations on many projects previously. The more I researched Jam City, the more I realized it was a great fit for me. In my opinion, it is the ideal age for a company, in that Jam City was old enough to have already established itself, but young enough to still grow and take risks.

Jam City’s Los Angeles headquarters is proud to be a dog-friendly office as we believe their presence offers insurmountable value to our work culture. Introduce us to Huey!

My husband and I rescued Huey last year from Ghetto Rescue – a non-profit that focuses on saving dogs from low income, high crime rate communities around LA. My husband’s last name is Lewis, hence “Huey Lewis”. We’re yet to rescue “The News” but I’m slowly convincing my husband that we should. Huey comes to the office with me 2 or 3 days a week – we’re so lucky at Jam City to have genuinely dog friendly offices – each dog even has their own emoji on Slack.

Describe your role on the team.

I manage the Creative Product Marketing team which is under the umbrella of Jam City’s Performance Marketing department. Our team is responsible for increasing the quantity, quality, and strategy of creative assets for UA. We accomplish that by looking at industry trends, consumer insights, performance reports, and testing everything! We use the data we gather and implement those insights into our own creative process and devise how we can move the dial in regards to our goals.

What do you find rewarding about your role?

I enjoy being able to make an impact across all the titles in Jam City’s rich portfolio as well as helping other teams reach or exceed their goals. I also enjoy overseeing a project’s immediate performance which is why I was so keen on moving to a position where I’m in-house as opposed to working for a creative agency, since it allows me to do my work more effectively and timely.

What do you think makes Jam City stand out among other gaming studios?

Jam City regards itself as an entertainment company first, and the product thereof is mobile games. There is an overarching goal, with specific deliverables thereafter. That’s how I approach my role as well. It’s what are we doing? Why are we doing this? What is our strategy? Who are we trying to speak to? And what are we trying to tell them?  – not just – “what assets are we making?”

What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned while working here?

When you’re busy and presented with multiple tasks to work on, always pick the one that is going to have the largest benefit for the company.

What advice can you give employees on how to succeed in their role?

Remain open-minded. It’s about listening and not immediately saying, “no, this isn’t part of my role.”  If you’re not able to be open-minded, you’ll reach a glass ceiling in your career. It limits the potential people see in you and the opportunities that arise in conversation. Just by talking to people, even casually, it can connect so many dots and open so many ideas (big and little) for projects.

 

August 9, 2018

Jam City Teams Up With Habitat For Humanity To Help Build Three Homes

At Jam City, we play as a team and we believe that collaboration leads to innovation. We work together—wherever and whenever possible—to ensure that our collective expertise and inclusive culture is reflected in everything we do.

On Friday, August 3, members of Jam City’s Los Angeles HQ, led by President and co-founder Josh Yguado, teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to work on three of the ten homes being built in Culver City, CA.

The Jam City volunteers worked alongside Jemeel and his wife Lauri, who are the future homeowners of one of the 10 units, and tackled a variety of jobs throughout the day including joist blocking, constructing walls and raising a roof.

“Habitat was great!  It was so fun working alongside my co-workers and the families alike; it really felt like we were making a difference — right in Jam City’s backyard!” – Simone Heard, Talent Recruiter.

According to Habitat for Humanity, homeowners put 500-600 hours of sweat equity into their home before they move in and Jam City’s team members got a taste of the hard work that goes into building a forever home.

“Habitat was great because I could immediately see the impact of our hard work. We were lucky enough to work with one of the recipients of the houses and quite literally helped build their roof…all in a day’s work!” – Chelsea Robbins, Technical Recruiter.

We’d like to extend a big thank you to Habitat for Humanity for allowing Jam City to be part of this incredible experience. When we work together, great things can be built.

For more information on how you can make a difference in your local community, visit habitat.org.

 

August 8, 2018

Employee Spotlight – Rachel Levine, Associate Producer

Meet Rachel Levine, Jam City’s Associate Producer for the hit mobile franchise, Cookie Jam. In our latest Employee Spotlight, Rachel breaks down what goes into making the Cookie Jam franchise an ongoing success and delivers great advice to young women who are eager to jump into the gaming industry.

What drew you to Jam City?

During my tenure with FoxNext Games, I had the opportunity to work with Jam City on Book of Life: Sugar Smash, Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, and Family Guy: Another Freakin’ Mobile Game. My experience working with the amazing San Francisco and Los Angeles teams ultimately encouraged me to apply for the Associate Producer role at Jam City’s San Diego location. Jam City had already established itself as a powerhouse in the mobile game industry with its extensive portfolio of fun, colorful, and top grossing titles, such as the game I currently work on now – Cookie Jam!

Describe your role on the team.

As an Associate Producer, I lead a five person pod of engineers and clear the way for streamlined multi-feature production. More specifically, I remove as many development road-blockers as possible, prioritize development tasks, triage bugs, facilitate inter-discipline communication across the studio, work alongside the various discipline leads to flesh out our roadmap, and monitor the health of the released features with my fellow producers.

With so many levels, how do you keep Cookie Jam feeling fresh?

Outside of the 4000+ levels, Cookie Jam is updated with new features and thematic events that keep players engaged every month, which I think helps keep the game fresh! My team and I are a big piece of the overall puzzle that ensures that the new features we create are coded, implemented, and released on time to our fans.

In addition to our new features, such as Cookie Calendar, Teamwork Treasure, and Rainbow Cookie Time, we look for opportunities to update the visuals of various areas of the game so Cookie Jam can compete with current trends in the mobile game market.

What do you think keeps players constantly returning to Cookie Jam?

I believe the new features (There’s plenty more to come!), ongoing events such as The Great Airship Race, Treasure Jam, and consistent content updates, including new levels and Airships, are the biggest reason why people keep coming back to Cookie Jam. We’ve definitely set a positive example of how a great free-to-play game can be run, and with that I believe people re-engage with Cookie Jam every time we have a new update.

Returning players aside, Cookie Jam on its own is just a fun, colorful game that is super easy to pick up!

What advice can you give young women who are apprehensive about joining an industry that has been historically targeted toward young boys and men?

Don’t be afraid to reach out to other women to learn more about their experiences in the industry! You’ll find that women in games are eager to help and support each other, especially when they’re looking to join the industry.

The varying social media platforms played a huge role in the development of my career. These platforms gave me the opportunity to join online communities that were created with the intention to meet other female devs, share job opportunities, ask guidance and advice from other women, and more.

In addition, get involved with game-focused networking events, conferences and associations! Women in Games International, the International Game Developers Association, and conferences, such as the Game Developers Conference, all provide opportunities to interface with industry vets! I’ve learned so much from the folks who attend the mixers by simply participating in a conversation or by going to a panel at a conference.

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

The opportunity to learn something new, everyday! There is a consistent level of ambiguity that comes with working on a live product and working closely with disciplines that you’re not super versed in understanding. My pod makes it a point to provide issue feedback in a digestible manner which not only helps me understand the problem but also teaches me more about engineering.

In addition, it’s incredibly rewarding to be part of the wider cultural change of empowering and encouraging women to join the game industry. As the only female on the production team in Carlsbad, I have the opportunity to remind other women that our opinions, insights, and experience are equally valued and that it’s possible to break into this industry as a female.

What resources (free and paid) can young kids utilize to get a jumpstart in entering the tech and gaming-related fields?

There are definitely a whole bunch of new events and organizations popping up! Here are some great examples, below:

Girls Who Code: (Free) A non-profit organization which aims to encourage more women to join the Computer Science field.

iD Tech Camps: (Paid) A summer computer camp with a focus on gaming, engineering, 3D modeling, and more.

Black Girls Code: (Free) A non-profit organization with a focus of encouraging diversity and empowering young black women in the Computer Science field.

Girls Make Games: (Paid) A series of summer camps full of workshops and game jams designed to inspire the young women to be designers, creators, and engineers.


What do you think makes Jam City stand out as a trailblazer in the gaming industry?

As discoverability gets harder and harder on the different mobile platforms, Jam City pushes past the competition by bringing talented studios in the Jam City fold. Jam City’s internal development teams are bursting with talented folks and include devs from all facets of the industry!

Additionally, Jam City places a huge emphasis on culture, more specifically good culture. We routinely have studio events that let us take a breather and have fun with everyone in the studio. I feel like we’re a studio that constantly strives to create a positive environment and encourage a good work-life balance.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned while working at Jam City?

Remembering that it’s OK to mess up from time to time! It’s super easy to get overwhelmed when you’re tackling multiple things or slowly being consumed by tasks. It helps to remember to take a breather, go for a walk, or talk to another person as a sounding board to push past the mistake and get back on track.

What advice would you give other employees about how to succeed in their role?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! I’m the baby of the Production bunch so, I would definitely not consider myself an expert. My fellow Producers are all significantly more experienced and have been Producers for much longer than myself. However, I know I can rely on them to help me make more informed decisions. This also applies to the other disciplines across the studio. I know I can turn to my pod to help me understand an engineering issue, or turn to the design, art, and QA teams when I need something clarified in their respective fields.

August 3, 2018

Snoopy Pop Game Celebrates Snoopy’s Birthday With ALL-NEW Birthday Levels And Surprise Guest: Snoopy’s Sister, Belle

To celebrate Snoopy’s birthday on August 10, Jam City’s hit mobile game Snoopy Pop is releasing a birthday-themed world map! “Snoopy’s Birthday BBQ” will feature the usual cast of characters, with one exception – one of Snoopy’s siblings will attend the birthday party and appear on the world map!

To determine which sibling would become Snoopy’s guest of honor” Snoopy Pop’s Facebook page posted photos of five of Snoopy’s siblings and asked fans to “like,” or vote on their favorite. The sibling — Belle, Andy, Marbles, Olaf, and Spike — with the most votes would be Snoopy’s guest of honor. After a stiff competition, Snoopy Pop fans voted Belle as the winner.

Meet a few of Snoopy’s other siblings.

Starting Friday, August 10, all Snoopy Pop players will have a chance to see Belle in the “Snoopy’s Birthday BBQ” world map when they reach levels 961 – 980 in the game. Belle will live in the world permanently and as a bonus treat, all players will receive unlimited lives on Snoopy’s birthday, August 10.

Download Snoopy Pop today on the App Store and Google Play and follow them on their Twitter and Instagram pages.

July 26, 2018

Jam City Celebrates Annual Summer Party and BBQ At Calamigos Ranch, Malibu

A longtime tradition, Jam City’s Los Angeles HQ enjoyed a day of relaxation, competitive games, and team bonding at their annual Summer party and BBQ. This year’s festivities were held in the heart of the Malibu canyons at the amazing Calamigos Ranch.

The day began with a friendly competition that divided the employees into teams to compete in camp-style challenges: a water balloon toss, limbo, tug of war, and an obstacle course relay. When the final water balloon was caught, the red team was declared the winner, having won 2 out of the 4 events. Along with bragging rights, the team walked away with a six-foot championship trophy!

Following the competition, employees let loose in many of the ranch’s available festivities. They posed for caricature portraits, reached new heights in a bungee jump, got soaked in the two story slip and slide, and adorned their bodies with henna tattoos.

After a year’s worth of hard work that saw the launch of new games, product updates, and company expansion, the Los Angeles HQ enjoyed a much-deserved break.

Thank you to Calamigos Ranch for being an exceptional host and for helping create a lifetime of unforgettable memories!

July 16, 2018

Cookie Jam and Genies & Gems Offer Exclusive Flash Sales for Amazon Prime Day

Amazon will celebrate its fourth annual Prime Day, a one-day global shopping event with incredible flash sales and major discounts for its Prime members, beginning Monday, July 16 at 12:00 p.m. PT.

We’re excited to announce that Jam City is getting in on the fun and offering HUGE Prime Day sales in our hit mobile games, Cookie Jam and Genies & Gems!

For a limited time only, Amazon Prime customers will be able to purchase amazing in-game bundles (details below) to enhance and personalize their gameplay experiences. These bundles are only applicable for Amazon Appstore customers.

Enjoy!!

Cookie Jam Bundle – 30% OFF at $6.99

The bundle includes: 135 Coins + 2 Rainbow Cakes + 2 Bomb Breakers + 2 Wooden Spoons + 2 Rolling Pins + 2 Pastry Bags.

Genies & Gems Bewitching Bundle – 50% OFF at $0.99
The Bewitching Bundle includes: 25 coins + 1 Butterfly Breaker  Booster + 1 Cross Breaker Booster + 1 Rainbow Breaker Booster.

July 12, 2018

Jam City Appoints Games Industry Veteran Chris Tremmel As Studio Creative Director

Jam City is pleased to announce that games industry veteran Chris Tremmel has been appointed Studio Creative Director.

Tremmel, who will be based at Jam City’s LA headquarters, has more than 20 years experience in the games industry, having designed titles for Sega Genesis up through PlayStation 4, including mega-franchises like Kung Fu Panda, Transformers, and The Lord of the Rings.

As Studio Creative Director, Tremmel will provide design direction for several of Jam City’s titles, including Genies & Gems and the original mobile entertainment franchise, Wild Things: Animal Adventure.

Jam City is thrilled to have Chris Tremmel join our team!  

July 3, 2018

Jam City Employee Spotlight – Dan Barreiro, Executive Producer

In the Employee Spotlight series, we are highlighting the diverse and exceptional talent here at Jam City.

Meet Dan Barreiro. As an Executive Producer in Jam City’s San Francisco studio, Dan oversees several ongoing projects and is a guiding force who unifies different teams that share a common goal of delivering top quality products and features.

What drew you to Jam City?

Jam City’s people, leadership and culture inspired me to work for the company — and that was back in 2013! From the beginning, I recognized how strongly the executive team encouraged and supported a creative atmosphere. I believe the best-run studios operate in collaborative, creative type of environments. This is something that I was really looking for, and that I found with the Jam City crew.

Describe your role on the team.

As Executive Producer, I oversee several projects in our San Francisco studio. A large part of my role involves guiding teams with direction and product vision in broad strokes. My aim is to help set goals that are achievable, and provide the tools and aid they need to succeed. I also work closely with the production department, where I coach and iterate on processes that best fit team needs. Lastlyand probably my favoriteI help people from all corners of the studio with career growth and opportunity.

As the conduit that helps communicate between executives and other studios, my main goal is to bring everything together and make sure all teams are aligned, unified, informed, and happy. At the end of the day, I make sure our games hit our own high standards and quality bar.

What is it about Panda Pop and other Jam City IPs that keep players returning?

Jam City houses remarkable design and artistic talent. Our artists and designers create really amazing worlds for our games with beautiful environments and fun character design. They’re so rich in terms of aesthetics, visual quality, and personality! This is one of many reasons why I believe our players stick around. Players like to engage in quality products that they know are loved and taken care of. I think that Panda Pop and Juice Jam are shining examples of exactly that.

Jam City also continually strives to keep our games fresh! We’re always cooking up something new in our games that we think our players will enjoy, invoking them to invite their friends and family to engage and play!

How do you bring the spirit of the Family Guy show and characters into a mobile game?

We’re very lucky to have a strong and talented design team, particularly with narrative chops. Our goal is for the game to feel as authentic as possible, which I believe the Family Guy team knocks out of the park.

As a fan, if I were to go into a game that was wrapped in a famous IP, I would have my own expectations of it’s story, language and design. The game team looks through that lens as much as possible so that when we put content into the game, we know we’re giving fans what they can expect.

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

The best things I love about Jam City are it’s amazing culture and working alongside high-quality professionals. To me, those are the biggest drivers for success. The best culture enables people to make the best games. Everyday, we’re working with individuals who are passionate about what they do. There’s something really incredible about coming together as a team and aligning on shared goals and shaping vision.

There’s no guarantee that working in a creative, collaborative environment will be without some chaos. Highly creative and passionate people coming together can sometimes be a challenge, but I believe that this challenge provides healthy friction, which enables us to grow as individuals, game makers, and as a studio. It’s addicting. It’s a big part of why I love what I do.

What makes Jam City stand out as a trailblazer in the gaming industry?

Jam City’s key to success is cemented in the way we build our teams. We hire people who not only have the skills to help us achieve our goals, but who will also fit the mold of our company culture. It all stems from a kernel of maintaining a healthy, positive environment and we do as much as we can to foster that.

What project have you been most excited to work on?

Panda Pop — the first game I launched with Jam City. It was the first Bubble Shooter game we developed in the company, which added incredible amounts of depth to the genre that to this day, separates itself from the rest. It was new, uncharted territory for us, which made it terrifying and exciting to build.

Believe it or not, Panda Pop was not a success out the gate. It took time, learning, and a lot of hard work to really make it shine. The executive team instilled a lot of faith and support in the game team which helped light the way. Panda Pop now has over 100 million downloads. It’s a rare turn-around success story you don’t typically hear about in our space. I grew a lot from that experience and it’s been fun to watch the current Panda Pop team continue pushing it to new heights.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from working at Jam City?

I never knew how important it was for teams to work so well together until I started working here. A lot of my experience had been so different, in terms of the way teams work, their roles, how they engaged, etc. Here, I learned a lot more about ownership and what it truly meant, which was a perspective I just didn’t have before.

Leaner teams meant that we needed to embrace more ownership of our responsibilities and initiatives. In doing so, the game teams felt empowered to really “own it” which is something that can spark the motivation that can unlock one’s potential. I believe this to be one of the key pillars of high performing teams.

What advice would you give employees about how to succeed in their role?

Acknowledge and make room for what you don’t know. The most striking breakthroughs cannot occur until you adopt this mindset. Be willing to be vulnerable, and ask lots of questions. Surround yourself with people you know you can learn from. Learning is never cumulative, it is a movement of knowing which has no beginning and no end.

 

June 26, 2018

Jam City Employee Spotlight – Deborah Han, Concept Artist

In the Employee Spotlight series, we are highlighting the diverse and exceptional talent here at Jam City.

Meet Deborah Han, a Concept Artist for Cookie Jam Blast. Deborah designs the stunningly colorful maps that players navigate as they progress through the game. Below, Deborah explains the creative process behind creating each map and even reveals her favorite location.  

What drew you to Jam City?

It was a no brainer for me. Before I began, it was obvious that Jam City was an up and coming mobile gaming studio that was expanding rapidly with games like Cookie Jam and Panda Pop receiving great recognition. The game genre and art style were well suited to what I knew I could offer. These reasons made Jam City a very attractive company.

Describe your role on the team.  

I create map concepts for Cookie Jam Blast and am the first base person in the map production pipeline. Besides the actual drawing and coloring of these maps, my work includes contributing ideas for map themes, gathering information on it, and finding reference images that are conducive for creating an amazingly rich dessert map.

Describe Cookie Jam Blast’s map creation process from conception to delivery.

The first thing we do is select a theme for the map (country, fairy tale, era, etc.) and flesh out a 2D concept illustration that gets sent over to our 3D team for it to be sculpted and rendered to a complete finish before it’s submitted for in game use.

Deborah’s favorite location is the Hanging Gardens of Babylon: Stage 46, levels 881 – 900.

What do you think keeps players returning to Cookie Jam Blast?  

It’s just a really fun game that’s easy to pick up and play. It’s thoughtfully perfected, has solid game play mechanics, highly polished art, and adorable characters. Each discipline of our game is at optimal level and converge quite successfully. This keeps our players entertained and satisfied.

Where do you draw inspiration for the art you put into Cookie Jam Blast?  

I draw inspiration from anywhere and everywhere, though I get a lot of it from my “Art of Wreck it Ralph” book, visual development art on Pinterest, and Mickey’s Toontown theme land at Disneyland, which I use for brilliant and dynamic shape language.

What do you find most rewarding about your role?  

I get to create worlds that shape the aesthetics and artistic vision of a product that reaches millions of people on a daily basis.

What makes Jam City stand out as a trailblazer in the gaming industry?  

Jam City has a massive amount of collective talent and experience at every level of our development team and the standard of quality is never compromised. Jam City also promotes a healthy work-life balance and I think that effort goes a long way. When you know you’re cared for, you want to do your best even more and that, in turn, produces great results.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned while working at Jam City?

Stress kills creativity.  I work on maps everyday.  It’s absolutely crucial that I pace myself so that I don’t get tired of what I do or get stuck too long in any part of the creation process. This means I have to master a work flow that keeps the process smooth, fluid, and fun!

What advice would you give other employees about how to succeed in their role?

Sustainability is critical in being your best and delivering your best work possible. To successfully avoid burnouts, do the obvious things that keep you fresh, healthy, and inspired.

June 13, 2018

Jam City Employee Spotlight – Aja Signor, Lead Game Designer

In the Employee Spotlight series, we are highlighting the diverse and exceptional talent here at Jam City.

Meet Aja Signor, a Lead Game Designer for Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. To deliver creative and compelling game designs – especially for a game as renowned as Hogwarts Mystery – Aja draws inspiration from the world around her, focusing on human behavior and what moves the human spirit. 

What drew you to Jam City?

The games. I’m a huge fan of bubble-shooter and match-3 games and Jam City had advanced both of those genres in a player-centric way that I wanted to be apart of.

For example, in Panda Pop, the game team added a lantern-themed power-up mechanic to the bubble-shooter space. I loved how they leveraged a core puzzle mechanic with a super intuitive and exciting gameplay innovation that ended up being exactly what the genre’s players really wanted. I knew working with the intelligent people that lead to that kind of innovation was going to be great for me, both personally and professionally.

Describe your role on the team.

I direct and drive the content design process for the narrative, features, and events in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. It’s an interesting mix of game design, movie directing, and management.

I work with the narrative team and game director to help ensure that the story and choices are engaging for players, while still remaining executable by the other content departments in time for us to release that part of the story to players. I also design what people do in the Hogwarts classes and work with the writers to make sure each of the activities is really fun. Additionally, I work closely with the other game designers on the game’s features and events to help ensure compelling and healthy content growth for the game.

Then I translate those designs and the narrative into visual direction for art, animation, and content implementation teams. Together, we figure out how to nail the drama, mood, look, and feel for everything that ends up in game. It involves a lot of storyboarding, and I even act out character animations, camera transitions, and timings for the teams. So, when Rowan gets knocked down the stairs or McGonagall smiles at you after you get a quiz answer correct, Iat one pointacted that out for the team!

What advice would you give young designers about breaking ground in the gaming industry?

Firstly, play and be open to designing all types of games. Just because you love racing games doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy making puzzle games. Every type of design helps you hone your craft and become a better designer. I often find that the games genres I haven’t played before teach me more about game design than the games types I’m familiar with.

Secondly, design for players and not for yourselfpeople can tell! Look to work at a place where the creatives there set out to do the same thing. There’s no room for ego or personal taste in games you make for other people.

Lastly, I encourage young designers to have a body of work. Show it to as many peopleand in as many waysas possible. This industry values what you have executed upon versus what you can talk about.

Where do you draw inspiration from when you set out to create unique game designs?

I draw inspiration from anywhere I can get it. I read a ton; I watch a lot of great visual media; and I love to go to travel and people watch. I find that to entertain people, I need to discover what inspires and moves them about entertainment or life in general. What hits them at their core and why? What misses and why? All of those answers influence the decisions I make moment-to-moment as a game designer.

What do you think makes Jam City stand out in a trailblazer in the gaming industry?

Jam City has a fervent focus on the players. At every level of the company, we’re asking what players want and how to give it to them at the best quality possible. I have not met anybody here who is working to churn out games only to make a quick buck. There’s a passion here for creating high-quality entertainment experiences.

What advice would you give other employees about how to succeed in their role?

I measure success by how useful someone is in meeting and exceeding their team’s goals. Be a creative problem solver and help figure out ways that people can do things faster, better and smarter, wherever possible. Any intelligent person can have a great idea, but success is driving that great idea towards execution no matter what obstacles stand in your way.

June 7, 2018

Jam City Hosts The WIMMIES Game Changers Event

WIMMIES LA Panelists Left to Right: Vanessa Rouhani, Meghan Camarena, Tiffany Everett, Lisa Spano, Autumn Brown, Nina Kammer

On Wednesday, June 6, 2018, Jam City hosted the WIMMIES Game Changers event. Standing for Women in Media, the WIMMIES—though usually focusing on women working across all aspects of digital media and marketing—celebrated women making an impact in the games industry. The evening featured a rockstar panel that included Jam City’s VP Publishing, Vanessa Rouhani; Jam City’s VP, Consumer Insights, Lisa Spano; Social Media Influencer and Entrepreneur, Meghan Camarena (aka Strawburry17); Electronic Arts‘ Senior Director of Mobile Publishing, Autumn Brown; and Mobcrush’s Business Head of Sales, Nina Kammer.

Golin’s Director of Digital, Tiffany Everett, was the panel’s moderator and opened discussion on the state of the games industry with topics that included how the industry has changed to include women in the work place over the last 10 years; defying the social stigma of the typical “gamer” that game companies primarily market to; advice for women trying to get into gaming; and great areas of opportunity for women in gaming.

The WIMMIES hosted female designers, publishers, marketers, product managers, and data analysts across the games industry and even invited women with a passion for games working outside the industry.

Before introducing the panelists, Jam City’s Executive Producer for Panda Pop, Rachel DiPaola, presented impressive numbers that prove mobile is dominating the games space over PC’s and consoles. Citing App Annie’s review of App Store data and NewZoo’s quarterly update of it’s Global Games Market Report service, Rachel stated, “In 2018, the mobile games market will generate $70 billion. Last year, although games accounted for only 31 percent of downloads, they represented 75 percent of consumer spending. Total, there were over 4.5 million apps were released in the App store and 77 percent of those were games.”


Nina Kammer’s advice for women who don’t play games yet still wish to pursue a career in the games industry was simple, “You don’t need to be a gamer to be in the industry.”

When an audience member asked the panelists about great opportunities for women in gaming, Autumn Brown responded, “Everywhere. There are so many unique jobs in the in gaming industry.”



“Don’t think just because you’re good at doing one thing means you’re only capable of one thing,” said Vanessa Rouhani.

Social Media Influencer Meghan Camarena, a Mario Kart and Pokemon enthusiast, spoke about the challenges that come along with creating content around your own personal brand and offered a solution to those looking to overcome those obstacles, “Think outside the box and think how you can differentiate yourself. If you’re passionate about a game, let that guide you; developers will notice that.”

All the women on the panel pointed out the changes they’ve seen in the gaming industry over the last few years in both consumer behavior and workplace diversity.

“I remember the first gaming convention I went to,” remembered Vanessa Rouhani, “I was the only female in the room. It’s exciting, now, to see more and more of my peers in the games industry be female.”

Nina Kammer also commented on the industry’s evolution saying, “We’re going to see a lot more games made for PC and console get tailored for mobile,” referring to Fortnite’s expansion into the mobile platform. “The market is changing.”


Vanessa Rouhani shared her thoughts on the WIMMIES towards the conclusion of the event. “Women are doing incredible things in gaming right now and breaking all the stereotypes of what the “typical gamer” is. I am so honored to have joined such a remarkable group of women at the WIMMIES Game Changer event. The industry has come a long way since I first got into mobile gaming 15 years ago and I am more excited than ever about the future!” 

Lisa Spano provided the evening’s final thoughts and explained how Jam City has seen success thanks to the diversity woven into company’s culture. “Numerous reports indicate there are more female mobile gamers than male. Despite the shift in player demographics, women are still under-represented in the mobile games industry, particularly at the leadership level. I’m fortunate to lead a diverse research team at Jam City and believe diversity is critical to the success of our games. Not only has diversity led to a variety of perspectives and new ideas it has allowed us to relate better to our players and create gaming experiences that resonate emotionally with our audience.” 

June 6, 2018

Jam City Appoints Games Industry Veteran To Executive Team: Ryan Kaufman, VP, Narrative Design

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!

June 5, 2018

Jam City Employee Spotlight – Matt Chavis, Principal Animator

In the Employee Spotlight series, we are highlighting the diverse and exceptional talent here at Jam City.

Meet Matt Chavis, Principal Animator on the Cookie Jam and Cookie Jam Blast franchises. As an avid lover of art and gaming, Matt combined his passions to pursue a career in game animation and now offers valuable advice for young artists looking to enter the industry. 

What drew you to Jam City?  

I’ve been working on PC and console games for the majority of my career and Jam City sounded like the perfect opportunity to take the plunge into the mobile industry for a refreshing change.  The immediate warmth of the team reassured me that I had made the right decision.

Describe your role on the team.

I handle a lot of the Spine related animations for both Cookie Jam and Cookie Jam Blast. After the animations are complete, there is a lot of back and forth with Designers and Engineers to ensure the animations function and are tuned according to spec so that the players get the best experience possible.  Making things wiggle and jump is some serious business!

Did you know you always wanted to make art for games?

In my youth I enjoyed playing and replaying all of the classics like Mario, Donkey Kong Country, Megaman, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear, Sonic, and Golden Eye. Games that inspired me to do what I do today. I’ve always been passionate about art, passionate about ideas, and passionate about games. Joining the three was a no brainer and naturally led me to the decision to go to school for it. I have to credit Mario and Nintendo for giving me this passion for making games. They gave me so much joy as a child and that pushed me to follow this path into gaming so that maybe I can  provide the same joy to the future generation of gamers.

What guidance can you offer young artists about breaking ground in the gaming industry?

Construct a solid portfolio that showcases what style you thrive in; the gaming industry admires passion. Establish an online presence and connect yourself to the industry and its professionals by utilizing social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Vevo, Twitter, etc. It’s important to shop your portfolio around and get as much feedback as possible.  

What advice would you give other employees about how to succeed in their role?

Take time to reflect and remind yourself why you’re doing all of this in the first place.  I think it’s also important to embrace evolution. This is a fast moving industry that requires you to keep your skills up to date.

May 30, 2018

Jam City Employee Spotlight – Bob Stanton, Studio Art Director

In Jam City’s Employee Spotlight series, we are highlighting the diverse and exceptional talent here at Jam City.

Meet Bob Stanton. As Studio Art Director, Bob oversees the concept art that goes into Jam City’s games, from ideation to release. Bob’s made a career as an artist and understands the value of honing one’s craft to fit within the confines of their career goals and now offers valuable guidance and direction to a new generation of aspiring artists and designers dreaming of success. 

What drew you to Jam City?

I recognized that the employees at Jam City loved what they did and that was really important to me. I admire people who love what they doit’s exciting to watch them grow, as both an artist and a person, and I knew it was the right culture that I wanted to be apart of.

Describe your role on the team.

I began as the Art Director on Juice Jam and as the team grew, so did my position. I now help develop the teams and make sure they have what they need. I also help the team achieve whatever style they set out to accomplish and that can include doing paint-overs and sketch-overs. I oversee all the games but ensure that each game’s Art Director retains ownership.

What advice can you give artists and designers about breaking into an industry, whether it’s in gaming or any other?

Researching the industry you’re trying to get into is key. Knowing what you like is really important and if you’re honest to yourself, you’ll find the right job. If you’re not, then you’ll find a job that you think you like and that isn’t the same as loving it. If you enjoy a style of art, ask yourself how that fits into the industry you’re trying to get into.

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

I enjoy working with all the teams. They’re talented, fun, intelligent and the best at what they do. Not only that, but they want to get better and that makes me love their humility.

What do you think makes Jam City stand out as a trailblazer in the gaming industry?

The culture. Learning to appreciate other people’s work and learning to appreciate people go hand-in-hand. Working in business and learning continually fosters a mentality of respect and eagerness to learn. Having big ears is the best way to be a leader so you have to know when your crew is getting bored or burning out. Being sensitive to each other’s needs is really important and Jam City hits the mark on recognizing the value in that.

What projects at Jam City have you been most excited to work on?

Mary Shu, the Art Director for Juice Jam, is an artist I admire tremendously and her artwork was the first I saw from Jam City. She incorporated the style of Mary Blair—an artist at Disney in the 40’s/50’s who produced concept art for “Peter Pan,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “Cinderella”—into Juice Jam and the characters were so adorable. Being apart of Mary Shu’s creative process and providing input on separate pieces was a lot of fun.

I’m also excited to do more work on Snoopy Pop. I was a little kid in the 60’s and was a huge fan of the “Peanuts” and Charles Schulz’s work.

What advice can you give employees about how to succeed in their role?

Learn something new everyday about your role and how you can support others on your team. You can strive for that but it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen, however it’s important to have that attitude. Every time you come into a new position, consider yourself at the bottom level. You know enough to do this now, but there is always more to learn that can help support your teams.

May 17, 2018

Jam City Employee Spotlight – Max Litvinov, Associate Software Engineer

In Jam City’s Employee Spotlight series, we are highlighting the diverse and exceptional talent here at Jam City. 

Meet Max Litvinov, the Associate Software Engineer for Jam City’s hit mobile game, Cookie Jam Blast. Max is passionate about the science behind engineering video games and offers guidance for young engineers looking to break ground in the games industry. 

What drew you to Jam City?

I played Panda Pop, Cookie Jam Blast and Marvel Avengers Academy before joining Jam City so I was familiar with their large and successful game portfolio as well as the impressive profiles of their executives. I had also heard great things about the company’s culture.

Describe your role on the team.

I’m an Associate Software Engineer for the mobile game, Cookie Jam Blast. I work primarily on gameplay elements which include characters, game modes, game buffs and player rewards. Gameplay elements could include logic, physics, animation and interactivity with character’s in the game. I also assist in live operations.

What makes Jam City stand out among other mobile games companies?

At Jam City, we are guided by data and driven by fun. There’s a lot of emphasis put on game analytics for everything we do. Additionally, decisions here are made by groups of people — and not just one single executive — so we have multiple minds working towards a common goal. When features come out, everyone provides input during the entire development process.

Have you always wanted to build a career in gaming?

Yes. Gaming appealed to me at an early age since I started playing games like Halo and Plants vs. Zombies. The more I played games, the more I wanted to learn about the science behind engineering video games.

What advice would you give employees about how to succeed in their role?

Ask questions and don’t be afraid to do so. Experienced people know how to get things done so when you’re stuck, it’s better to ask how to accomplish something properly in order to move on to the next step. As a result, you become a better all around employee because your learning curve increases exponentially.

What guidance can you give young engineers about breaking into the games industry?

It’s all about persistence. You learn more the harder you work towards something and that will ultimately lead to more opportunities. In April, I spoke at the East Coast Games Conference about taking a modern day approach to breaking into the games industry. My main point of discussion was to work on your own video game projects to figure out if you actually enjoy the work. Making your own video games allow you to take something fun — and learn from it — while building your own portfolio. This talk will release on ECGC’s Youtube channel shortly and is provided with many specific resources and as well as real-world examples.

May 14, 2018

Josh Yguado, Jam City President, Discusses Company Culture & Drive

Josh Yguado, President/Co-Founder, Jam City

On April 10, Josh Yguado represented Jam City at the GamesBeat Summit in Mill Valley, CA where he lead a fireside chat alongside CAA’s Head of Mobile, Michael Blank, to discuss the intersection between Hollywood IPs + mobile games. 

At the summit, USC Games sat down with the Jam City President to discuss the company culture, the opportunities within the mobile games industry and why students interested in media should invest their time in mobile. 

On what inspires Jam City to create:

Josh Yguado: Games can be for everyone and we try to create games that everyone can enjoy. It’s the democratization of video games, its not hardcore gamers hidden in their basement.  Nowadays, everyone has a game console in their pocket that they carry around with them. 

On why students should pay attention to mobile:

Josh Yguado: Everyone who wants to be in entertainment should take mobile seriously. More people consume media content on mobile devices than they do on television or film screens. Mobile is the future of entertainment and technology and some of the best jobs will not be in traditional media, they will be in mobile games.

On why company culture is so important:

Josh Yguado: We don’t take for granted that we get to be in an industry where people make games. We get to make games people love. There’s nothing I love more than going down the middle of the bus and seeing a couple of people playing Jam City games. I love bringing joy to other people and that creates joy in our day to day work environment.

Check out the full video interview below:

May 11, 2018

Jam City At Google I/O: Finding Success With Google Play Instant

Left to right: Google moderator Benjamin Frenkel, Marcelo Ferreiro of Jam City, Olivia Yu of King and Kyle Rushton of Zynga

Google I/O is an annual festival for developers that features technical talks, codelabs and hands-on experiences. At this year’s festival, Jam City’s Director of Engineering, Marcelo Ferreiro—alongside Olivia Yu of King and Kyle Rushton of Zynga—discussed how game developers can find success with Google Play Instant.

Back in March, Jam City partnered with Google to create a Google Play Instant version of Panda Pop. Marcelo provided an update on Panda Pop’s use case and offered key considerations that all gaming developers should take into account when creating a Google Play Instant version for their game. 

How do you see Google Play Instant impacting the overall gaming landscape?

Marcelo: The mobile gaming landscape is more competitive than ever and we see Google Play Instant as a valuable tool for developers to acquire new users into their games.

What Google Play Instant use cases have you tried and what use cases are you most excited about?

Marcelo: Jam City built the first 10 levels of Panda Pop for users to play and they are able to carry over their progress into the full app when they install it. In the future, we’re going to explore social opportunity and the possibility of sharing the game with your friends.

Jam City Director of Engineering, Marcelo Ferreiro

Of all the things you’ve implemented so far, what’s been the impact that you’ve seen with Google Play Instant?

Marcelo: Being able to just click and play the game removes the friction of the installation process. Taking advantage of that eagerness is going to be really important in the future.

Goole Play Instant for Panda Pop

As you build out the Google Play Instant experience for Panda Pop, what did you learn about the infrastructure of installing apps?

Marcelo: Jam City’s first idea was the make the Instant version 20 levels long and give players the ability to go back and forth between the map and the game. However, we realized we weren’t going to achieve the 10 MB size limit allowed for Google Play Instant, so our team decided to instead release the first 10 levels of gameplay. 

We learned that it’s important to remove things you don’t use that take up too much space like plugins, textures, scenes and localization strings. Our goal was to build a Google Play Instant on top of the regular game so that we benefit from the changes made in the full app. It was beneficial to do so because ultimately, we gained memory and performance.

May 11, 2018

The USC Games Expo Sponsored By Jam City Shows Why USC Is The #1 Game School In North America

On Wednesday, May 9, Jam City Sponsored the inaugural USC Games Expo hosted by the University of Southern California School of Interactive Media and Games Division and the Viterbi Computer Science GamePipe Program. The event brought together, for the first time, interactive projects and initiatives under one room with over 80 new games and digital projects from students and faculty from the #1 Video Game School in North America.

Jam City CEO Chris DeWolfe—a USC alumni himself—opened the inauguration at the Eileen Norris Cinema Theater to a packed house and offered students and their families encouraging words about the current state of the gaming industry and what graduating students can expect as they embark on their careers.

“The one thing I learned at USC was to follow what you’re really passionate about. We should all keep following our passions,” said Chris DeWolfe.  

Following DeWolfe’s keynote, 7 game teams from the Advanced Games Program were given a spotlight to introduce their projects and show off gameplay. The demos were an artistic thrill ride into the imaginations of the next generation of game developers. From virtual reality experiences to puzzle simulations, futuristic battle arenas to comedic adventures, the students’ quality of the games showed why USC retains the position as the #1 Gaming School in North America and assures players around the world that the future of gaming is in good hands.

Chris DeWolfe pictured with the creators of One Hand Clapping, a musical game that required players to sing into a microphone to solve puzzles.

The creators of Friendshrimp, a whimsical game based on the mantis shrimp, the animal with the strongest punch in the world.

The creators of Sky Command, a VR game that has players piloting a stolen ammunitions ship.

After the demos inside the Norris theater concluded, the Expo kicked off around campus where students premiered over 80 games across a variety of categories including Virtual Reality games, Console games, and Board and Card games to over 1,000 people in attendance.

Congratulations to all of the participants at the Expo and thank you to the University of Southern California for allowing Jam City to sponsor! 

May 9, 2018

Jam City Speaks At The LA Games Conference: Hollywood and Games

On Tuesday, May 8, The LA Games Conference held their annual event at the W Hotel in Hollywood where leaders across the gaming industry spoke on a variety of topics that are dominating the gaming industry. From Fighting Toxicity in Gaming to the Opportunity or Brands, Agencies and Marketers have in Esports, every corner of the industry was covered.

Jam City’s SVP Brand Strategy & Marketing, Josh Brooks, spoke on the Hollywood and Games panel about how gaming companies can create an original narrative that stems from Hollywood IPs. 

Jam City is the go-to studio for Hollywood, having developed immersive, narrative rich mobile games for iconic entertainment brands including Harry Potter, Family Guy, and Marvel Avengers. As studios are very protective of their brand, development takes time as developers and designers want to ensure accuracy in every frame.  

The most notable highlight from the panel was the direction gaming studios should take when creating a narrative that stems from a Hollywood IP: 

Tell a new story in the world, not the same story as the movie or TV show. Above all, be flexible because studios always have changes. 

May 2, 2018

Jam City Employee Spotlight – Lisa Spano, VP Consumer Insights

In Jam City’s “Employee Spotlight” series, we are highlighting the diverse and exceptional talent here at Jam City.

Meet Lisa Spano, Jam City’s VP, Consumer Insights. Lisa and her insights team run the research and competitive intelligence groups at Jam City. Together they’ve assembled a passionate community of play testers whose feedback contribute to design and business initiatives. 

What drew you to Jam City?

I’m really passionate about mobile games and love the challenge of building and creating influential teams from the ground up. When I initially learned about the opportunity to create a new research function a year and a half ago I knew it was the perfect time for me to transition from a more console focused company. I strongly believe in the executive vision for Jam City and see a very bright future ahead of us.     

Describe your role on the team.

I oversee the Research and Competitive Intelligence groups at Jam City. Our vision is to inspire transformational action and drive growth through in-depth player understanding. I’m really fortunate to have an amazing team that has had a tremendous impact on the way we think about game design and marketing strategy.

Who are the Jam City Insiders and what role do they play in influencing a game?

Jam City Insiders is a community of our most passionate players across a variety of Jam City games. We are in continuous communication with our Insiders and use their feedback to influence a number of business initiatives including game design, go to market strategy, IP decisions and much more. As a company, it’s important for us to be player-centric and to build relationships with some of our most valued players, to learn more about their gameplay motivations and to create new experiences that will keep our players engaged for years to come.  

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

Aside from working with great people, I love knowing that the games we are making bring so much joy and happiness to millions of people around the world. Because of the work I do, I’ve had the pleasure of reading many touching stories about the impact our games have on our players’ lives. Our games bring families closer together, create special bonds between moms and their children, help people get through difficult times they are having in their lives and make people smile.

What sets Jam City apart from other mobile gaming companies?

Jam City operates in an entrepreneurial environmentthe executives are always open to new ideas and testing which leads to more innovative opportunities. We also have an amazing culture made up of employees who are very passionate about what they’re working on. Additionally, I love working for a company that helps our local community by participating in various charity events throughout the year, like Habitat for Humanity.

What advice would you give to your employees about how to succeed in their role?

There are three pieces of advice I live by and often talk about with others: (1) Be passionate about what you do. It’s so important to find what makes you happy and never settle. (2) Keep reading and keep learning. Knowledge is powerful and can lead to many great things such as inspiration for new ideas, improved skills and the ability to teach and mentor others. There’s always more to learn no matter where you are in life or your career. (3) Use failure as an opportunity to grow. Most people avoid talking about failures but many failures lead to new perspectives and ultimately greater success.

 

April 27, 2018

‘Wild Things: Animal Adventure’ Partners With Discovery’s Project CAT For Donation Campaign

Wild Things: Animal Adventure is partnering with Discovery’s Project CAT for a Facebook donation campaign called, “Likes For Stripes.” For every 10,000 “likes” Wild Things: Animal Adventure receives on Facebook, they will donate $1,000 to Discovery’s Project CAT. The campaign lasts until Wednesday, May 9 with a donation cap of $10,000. Head to Wild Things: Animal Adventure’s Facebook to “like” their page today.

Pre-Registration is open for Wild Things: Animal Adventure now.

April 25, 2018

Jam City Unveils its New Mobile Entertainment Franchise – Wild Things: Animal Adventure

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

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is Out Now!

Today is a HUGE day for Jam City as we officially launch our brand new mobile game Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery worldwide! I want to personally congratulate the wildly talented and driven Jam City team for creating what is already the #1 game in the Apple and Google Play Store!  With over three million pre-registrations, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery was undoubtedly the most anticipated game of 2018, and deservedly so. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is an immersive, narrative-rich mobile entertainment experience inspired by one of the most iconic and beloved franchises in history.

The fan excitement and media interest surrounding Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery was like nothing we’ve ever seen before, with early news and trailers generating an avalanche of Tweets, Facebook posts and fan reaction YouTube videos that showed just how excited players are to begin their very own Hogwarts journeys. Well the wait is over, and Harry Potter fans (old and new) now have a magical new way to experience J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World – on their mobile devices.

Players will befriend a young Nymphadora Tonks long before she served in the Ministry of Magic and have quality puppy time with Hagrid’s favorite boarhound, Fang. Those looking for the full educational experience can take Transfiguration classes with Professor McGongall, voiced by Dame Maggie Smith, and perfect the swish and flick technique that comes with learning a first year levitation charm taught by Professor Flitwick.  

The launch of Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery comes at a momentous time for Jam City as our team is creating two other mobile entertainment franchises World War Doh and Wild Things: Animal Adventure.

World War Doh is a real-time strategy game we acquired from the Bogota-Columbia based studio, Brainz. The highly anticipated 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. It’s a fun and innovative and totally different than the other games in our portfolio.

Wild Things: Animal Adventure – which is now open for pre-registration at http://www.jamcity.com/wildthings – delivers the spectacular visual and storytelling impact of an animated television or web series to mobile platforms. Based on extremely positive feedback from player testing, we believe this is a one-of-a-kind entertainment franchise in the making.

Since launching Jam City in 2010, we have navigated a rapidly consolidating industry, achieving significant growth through partnerships with Hollywood studios, innovations in the mechanics of game play and in data mining, and an obsessive focus on creating amazing games that millions of people around the world love and play everyday.

Our games are designed to give people a sense of achievement, to give them social opportunities for sharing and community building, and to help them experience stories in new, interactive ways. This approach has enabled us to rapidly gain global scale while driving strong financial performance.

Jam City’s success has been fueled by the swift adoption of mobile devices and significant  advancements in mobile technology. Mobile games now offer stunning, interactive entertainment experiences coupled with cutting-edge social features that delight consumers in rapidly increasing numbers. Consider this:

  • Consumer spending on mobile games is expected to reach $58 billion in 2018 and grow to $73 billion in 2020 (NewZoo)
  • With a 15.3% CAGR, mobile games are the the fastest growing form of entertainment media (NewZoo)
  • Mobile games accounted for 90% of Google Play revenue and 75% of Apple App Store revenue in 2017 (Sensor Tower)
  • There are now 2.5 billion gamers worldwide, compared to 100 million in 1995 (NewZoo)

 

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is only the beginning of an incredible year for Jam City. Given immense industry tailwinds, the strength of our existing games and our robust pipeline of new innovative titles, we expect more great things to come for Jam City.

I feel fortunate to be surrounded by such a talented team as we continue to build the global leader in mobile entertainment.

Best,

Chris DeWolfe

Co-Founder & CEO, Jam City

April 25, 2018

Jam City Launches Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery On the App Store and Google Play

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

Jam City Presents The USC Games Expo 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 11, 2018

Jam City Employee Spotlight – Vanessa Rouhani VP, Publishing

In Jam City’s “Employee Spotlight” series, we are highlighting the diverse and exceptional talent here at Jam City.

Meet Vanessa Rouhani, Jam City’s VP, Publishing. Vanessa and her publishing team are largely responsible for the active presence Jam City games have in the app stores and other digital platforms.

What drew you to Jam City?

I was drawn to Jam City’s entrepreneurial spirit and the opportunity to be a part of their growth. The company had already experienced great success but still possessed the grit and tenacity of a startup company.

Describe your role on the team.

I oversee the Publishing department that manages Jam City’s relationship with platform partners, like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon. I like to think of my role as the central point of contact between platform partners and Jam City’s game teams. In addition to helping our games get exposure on the App Store and Google Play, we also work with platform partners to help test and provide feedback on new technology, tools, and services, like the recent partnership with Google for Panda Pop’s Instant version of the game. These initiatives help position Jam City as a top gaming partner.

What sets Jam City apart from other mobile gaming companies?

At some companies, teams are very siloed, but Jam City does an excellent job of encouraging cross-collaboration across different teams. Despite having our own responsibilities, the Publishing team works closely with many internal teams, including Product Marketing, Product Management, Production, and more. At Jam City, we’re all working towards the same goal and it’s often helpful to get a fresh perspective on different initiatives.

Can you speak to how Jam City’s leadership team operates?

The leadership team at Jam City is extremely supportive. They respect our teams and see value in the way we build them. They’re trusting enough to grant us autonomy, making a lot of the initiatives that the Publishing team — and others — are working on, easier to implement.

Do you consider yourself a gamer?

I always said, “I’m not a gamer,” and that I just stumbled into a career in gaming. But when I look back on my life, I have always been a gamer. I played Mario; I played Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on NES; I loved Sonic and Crash Bandicoot. I even got into PC gaming in high school and played Heroes of Might and Magic and Mechwarrior — I laugh when I say that because it’s so not me! As I got older and had less free time, I started playing casual puzzle games, where I could compete against friends. That’s why I was so happy to join Jam City — our games were made for me!

What advice would you give employees on how to succeed in their field?

First and foremost, realize that passion is contagious. It’s so important to love what you do because it’s reflected in your work. Secondly, always trust your intuition — don’t be afraid to voice your opinion because sometimes you may have the only right answer. Lastly, celebrate your failures as much as your wins. If you don’t speak up, it’s a missed opportunity for growth.

April 10, 2018

Jam City President Josh Yguado Speaks with CAA Partner Michael Blank at GamesBeat Summit 2018

 

Today, at VentureBeat’s GamesBeat Summit in Mill Valley, CA, Jam City President/Co-Founder Josh Yguado sat down with CAA’s Head of Mobile, Michael Blank, for a fireside chat to discuss how shorter in-game promotional opportunities can give developers a chance to experiment with what it’s like to partner with celebrities and franchises in an authentic way. 

Check out the full fireside chat here:

April 6, 2018

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

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

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.  

March 30, 2018

Jam City Sr. Director, Ad Monetization Featured In MoPub Match! At Mobile Growth Summit


In February, the Mobile Growth Summit held its annual conference in San Francisco where it explored the latest trends in marketing, advertising and distribution for mobile applications.

At the summit, MoPub – a Twitter company that provides monetization solutions for mobile app publishers and developers around the globe – hosted MoPub Match!, a dating game show that matched mobile publishers to their dream programmatic buyer. The game show illustrated how connections are made between a mobile app publisher and a demand-side platform (DSP) while providing a peek into how publishers and DSPs go about understanding each other’s desires, motivations and goals.

Representing the mobile publisher was Sally Lu, Jam City’s Senior Director, Ad Monetization.

Sally sat down with 4 programmatic buyers; The Trade Desk’s Senior Director of Inventory Partnership, Tiffany Lee; Criteo’s Director of Global Partnership, Adam London; Liftoff’s Account Executive, Kate Handley; and LinkedIn’s Business Lead, Peter Turner.

The buyers were instructed to answer questions that focused on different aspects a mobile publisher considers when choosing a DSP (i.e. ad size, inventory performance, etc.) and by the end of the show, MoPub revealed which buyer would be an ideal match for Jam City.

Great to see Sally sharing her expertise on monetization in the mobile era!

Check out the full segment below:

March 27, 2018

Jam City Employee Spotlight – Brian Sapp, VP of User Acquisition

In our new “Employee Spotlight” series, our goal is to highlight the amazing talent at Jam City. We have over 500 diverse employees across five studios, trailblazing in areas like storytelling, data science and marketing. Meet Brian Sapp, Jam City’s VP of User Acquisition Marketing. Though relatively new to the company, Brian is already making a huge impact at Jam City.

What drew you to Jam City?

I’ve known about Jam City since 2011 from my time at Tapjoy when I worked with the Jam City marketing team. I knew all about the amazing products Jam City was creating and I always heard great things about the company’s culture. So when the opportunity arose to work here, I knew it would be a great next step in my career.

Describe your role on the team.

I oversee the User Acquisition Marketing team. My day-to-day involves setting the UA goals and strategy for Jam City’s portfolio of titles and helping the UA team execute against those goals, and doing my best to make sure any obstacles the team encounters are removed. Another big area of focus for me is marketing creative. From ideation, iteration, to output and testing, the team is focused on delivering the best creative to maximize our marketing efforts. These are just a few of my priorities.

How has Jam City helped your career development?

I’ve only been with Jam City for a short time but it’s definitely impacted my career. Jam City has immense resources – and it really shows. Speaking from a UA perspective, the team can focus on what’s important and execute thanks to our robust data infrastructure – which is a huge advantage. I also love how entrepreneurial the culture is – and how people aren’t afraid to try new things or take risks.

What sets Jam City apart from other mobile gaming companies?

There’s an entertainment culture here that is very strong. Jam City titles are conceived in terms of building entertainment franchises and bigger brands, as opposed to just gaming. Jam City also understands the fun factor that resonates with audiences – which is very important. I’ve overseen a lot of games during my career and I can say, Jam City games are really innovative and fun.

What advice would you give employees about how to succeed in their role?

One of the most important traits to have is intellectual curiosity – especially within UA. People shouldn’t take things at face value, but rather try to dig deeper and understand “the why” which is driven by intellectual curiosity.

March 20, 2018

New Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery Game And Fan Reaction Video

Earlier this year, Harry Potter fans from around the world gathered at Universal Orlando Resort for A Celebration Of Harry Potter event. With wands at the ready, witches, wizards and muggles of all ages donned their finest robes for a magical 3-day extravaganza—presented by Warner Bros. and Universal Orlando Resort—celebrating all things Harry Potter.

While attendees experienced everything from Butterbeer to the Sorting Hat, the celebration’s biggest highlight was when Jam City demoed the highly-anticipated upcoming mobile game Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery to fans.

A recap video showcases gameplay and real-time reactions to the game from Harry Potter fans. Watch it below!

Excitement was through the castle roof as fans began their Hogwarts story. Players took note of the realistic nature of the game, with one saying, “it felt like I was sitting in Hogwarts.” 

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery pre-registration is open and will launch worldwide later this spring.

March 19, 2018

Creating “Google Play Instant” for Panda Pop

With all the great games available today, discovery can be challenging for developers. One of the largest barriers to converting new players is the friction of the install process.

That’s why we were excited to partner with Google on a Google Play Instant version of Panda Pop – which was announced this morning at Google’s Developer Day at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. Google Play Instant allows players to try Panda Pop without having to download and install the full game. Check out the announcement and Panda Pop case study Google posted today on its Android Developers Blog as part of its “Big Bet on Mobile Games” in 2018!

Jam City leveraged Google Play Instant to enhance Panda Pop’s architecture and design and find a new way to acquire high quality players. The talented Panda Pop engineering team built and launched an Instant version of the game that allows players to experience the first ten levels of game play. The build removes menus, unnecessary codes and unused plugins leading to a significant reduction in build size.

Marcelo Ferreiro, Director of Engineering at Jam City, said:

“Building Google Play Instant was a great opportunity for Jam City to see where Panda Pop could be optimized. We’ve taken those learnings and applied them to the full version of the game, which now runs smoother and with a reduced memory footprint.”

And

“Google Play Instant is a win-win for players and developers – players get a fully functional gameplay experience before downloading, and developers get a promising new way to acquire high quality users.”

Google Play Instant is still in closed beta and will be opened more broadly later this year. Below are some pictures from Google’s Developer Day at GDC, where they discussed Google Play Instant and more!

March 15, 2018

Jam City Appoints Former Machine Zone Executives Nick Pavlich As SVP of Studio Operations And Chris Ulm As Creative Director

Today, Jam City 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 is thrilled to welcome Nick and Chris to our executive team!

March 14, 2018

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

Today, Jam City announced that we are expanding our portfolio of games with the acquisition of the award-winning strategy game, World War Doh from the Bogota, Colombia based mobile game developer, Brainz. We are very excited that 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 award for “Best In Show: Audience Choice” at the 2017 Casual Connect USA conference. Jam City will release World War Doh worldwide in late 2018.

World War Doh is a fast-paced strategy game where you 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.

For those of you who are interested in seeing what World War Doh looks like in action – check out this gameplay video here.

“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.”

Check out the press release we issued today!

January 25, 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/.

January 22, 2018

Jam City and Panda Pop Team Up with NFL Star, Ty Montgomery, in ‘Save the Babies’ Event Benefiting the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families

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Today Jam City announced a partnership with Panda Pop super fan and NFL star, Ty Montgomery, for a Panda Pop Save the Babies Event. Teaming up with Ty to support foster care families, Jam City will be donating $15,000 to the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families in his honor. Ty will be challenging his Green Bay teammates and other professional football players to rescue the baby pandas in Panda Pop, the world’s most popular bubble shooter game. Kicking off on Ty’s 25th birthday, for every 25 levels these pro players complete in Panda Pop between January 22-29, Jam City will donate an additional $2,500.

“Ty Montgomery makes a difference for his team every time he’s on the field. Now he’s channeling his passion for Panda Pop toward making a difference in the lives of foster care children through our Save the Babies event,” said Josh Yguado, Co-Founder, President and COO of Jam City. “Jam City is very proud to join Ty and the Coalition for Children, Youth and Families to bring the helping spirit of Panda Pop to foster children and their families.”

Along with being a talented and dedicated Panda Pop player, Ty Montgomery is a fleet-footed running back for the NFL’s Green Bay Packers. After starring at Stanford as a wide receiver, he was drafted in the third round of the 2015 NFL draft. In 2016, he switched to running back to fulfill a team need, showing his team spirit and readiness to help others around him.

Panda Pop is my go-to game and it’s a great pleasure to work with Jam City to use my off-the-field pastime to benefit those in need,” said Ty Montgomery. “Once you start playing Panda Pop you don’t want to stop, so I know my teammates will come through for this challenge to earn additional resources for the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families.”

Based in Wisconsin, the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families supports people who are changing lives through foster care and adoption by connecting them to information, training, and support they need to succeed. Its mission is to inspire, inform and support individuals and families caring for children touched by foster care and adoption.

“Ty Montgomery is one of our strongest supporters and on behalf of the foster care children and families who benefit from our services, we welcome this generous contribution from Jam City and Panda Pop,” said Oriana Carey, CEO of the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families. “This Panda Pop event will help us carry out our mission so let’s go, Packers—save those panda babies!”

Jam City’s hit game Panda Pop is free to play and is available on mobile devices via the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

January 11, 2018

Jam City and FoxNext Games Celebrate 300th FAMILY GUY Episode with Danny Trejo in FAMILY GUY: Another Freakin’ Mobile Game

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Today Jam City announced a special Danny Trejo-themed in-game event for FAMILY GUY: Another Freakin’ Mobile Game which will run from January 14th to January 18th. We are SUPER excited about this partnership with Danny Trejo, a legendary American actor known for playing iconic characters and super-villains in films and TV shows such as Machete, Spy Kids, Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy. The event launch celebrates the 300th episode of the FAMILY GUY television series, from which the Jam City game gets its trademark characters and humor.

Along with the in-game event, we are also releasing comedic videos starring Danny Trejo, featuring real life match-3 challenges, to give players a taste of what to expect in FAMILY GUY: Another Freakin’ Mobile Game. For a limited-time the game will host an epic match-3 battle between Peter Griffin’s food truck and his Trejo’s Coffee & Donuts’ truck. Word is Peter’s truck business is booming and Danny wants in on the sweet, sweet action.

Commenting on the event, Jam City Co-Founder and President Josh Yguado, said: “We are all in on the FAMILY GUY brand and it’s awesome to celebrate the show’s 300th episode with an icon like Danny Trejo. FAMILY GUY: Another Freakin’ Mobile Game thrives on the same style of topical yet self-aware humor as the show and Danny’s appearance in the game is no exception.”

Danny Trejo added: “When Jam City asked me to appear in FAMILY GUY: Another Freakin’ Mobile Game, I had two questions, ‘Who wants some delicious donuts?’ and ‘What happens to players who disrespect the Trejo’s trucks?’ I’ll have words for any players who think they can breeze their way through my game levels.”

Created in close partnership with FoxNext Games and the Family Guy Production team, FAMILY GUY: Another Freakin’ Mobile Game is available for free from the Apple App Store on iPhone, at (http://jamcity.me/AFMGiOS), on Google Play at (http://jamcity.me/AFMGgp), and available via all major app stores worldwide.

December 12, 2017

Jam City, Onward 2018!!

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Jam City could not be more honored to announce today that we have entered into a licensing agreement with Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment to develop a mobile game for one of the largest and most iconic brands in history:  Harry Potter.

As Harry Potter fanatics ourselves, we have great respect for the millions of people throughout the world who have followed the Harry Potter story for more than 20 years.  From an idea born on a train journey to its creation in a small cafe in Edinburgh, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone started a global phenomenon.  Our company is now part of this legacy, and the game we are announcing today (Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery) is a labor of love for our developers and artists, who are dedicated to creating the most magical entertainment and gameplay experience for anyone who adores J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.

Ending 2017 by announcing Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery caps off an extraordinary year for Jam City.  We debuted four mobile games this year that reflect our mix of original titles and our ability to turn licensed third party IP into dynamic, personal game experiences.  Titles like Snoopy Pop, Family Guy: Another Freakin’ Mobile Game and Futurama Worlds of Tomorrow continue to demonstrate that Jam City is the industry leader when it comes to bringing beloved entertainment franchises to life in the mobile game format.  Additionally, the launch of Cookie Jam Blast further validated the significance of our own Cookie Jam franchise: a half a billion dollar mobile game that continues to grow in audience and profitability year-over-year.

As we look forward to 2018, we believe Jam City is a company at the forefront of a massive, global shift in human behavior — enabled by mobile phones — that is changing how we communicate, how we connect, and how we are entertained.  Increasingly, life today happens on mobile, app-by-app.  And, amid all of the entertainment options enabled via smartphones, mobile gaming is the fastest-growing form of entertainment media worldwide.  Mobile games represent 85% of all revenue generated by the app economy (App Store and Google Play).  That translates to a $40.6 billion mobile games industry last year alone.  Mobile gaming is a juggernaut experiencing unprecedented growth.  Today, there are more than 2.5 billion mobile gamers worldwide (compared to 100 million in 1995).

Games have moved from a subculture to become something far more mainstream and an integral part of modern life.  The massive scale of mobile audiences and frequency of game engagements, is driving an entirely new level of cultural relevance for games.  We believe Jam City is one of companies at the forefront of this mega trend.

As more and more people around the world look to their mobile phones and devices for entertainment, connections, and joy, our 500 employees will continue to create amazing mobile games for our hundreds of millions of players worldwide.  At Jam City, we make magic.  No wand required.

Happy holidays, and let the games begin!

 

Chris DeWolfe

Co-Founder and CEO of Jam City

 

December 4, 2017

Jam City Marks National Cookie Day By Announcing First Annual Holiday Cookie Jam Winner

Celebrating this year’s National Cookie Day,Jam City, a Los Angeles-based mobile game developer, announced that social media superstar, Justine Ezarik (aka iJustine), is the winner of its first annual Holiday Cookie Jam contest.

Holiday Cookie Jam pitted iJustine against her sister and fellow social media influencer, Jenna Ezarik, in a cookie recipe contest, with the winning recipe featured in Jam City’s hit mobile game, Cookie Jam, for the entire month of December. With more than 10,000 fans voting on Facebook of fans voting on Facebook, iJustine’s mouthwatering rainbow cookies, which mimic the game’s trademark rainbow cake power-up, triumphed over Jenna’s delicious peppermint thumbprint cookies.

“National Cookie Day is celebrated around the world by getting together to bake and eat cookies, and Holiday Cookie Jam extends this experience to mobile players with a friendly confectionery competition,” said Josh Brooks, SVP of Marketing and Brand Strategy at Jam City.  “Our players have spoken, and we congratulate iJustine on her sweet victory. Everyone can be a winner, as iJustine’s recipe will be available in Cookie Jam all month so fans can make their own rainbow cookies at home for the perfect holiday treat.”

“I’m so excited that Cookie Jam fans chose my rainbow cookies as their favorite holiday cookie!” said Justine Ezarik. “I’ve been having so much fun playing the game and could not be more excited to have my recipe featured!”

 

BACKGROUND ON NATIONAL COOKIE DAY:

The History of Cookie Day (December 4th)

In 1987, Matt Nader of the San Francisco-based Blue Chip Cookie Company created Cookie Day. This fun and sweet holiday was also championed by Cookie Monster from Sesame Street. Since then, word traveled around the globe that there was much tasty fun to be had on December 4th, and people from many countries now celebrate Cookie Day by getting together and baking (and eating) cookies. In fact, a number of Cookie Day variations such as Oatmeal Cookie Day and Bake Cookie Day are also celebrated around the world.

 

VIEW THE WINNING RECIPE:

 

JUSTINE’S RECIPE

Temperature:

Preheat to 350 degrees / Bake for 15-22 minutes

Ingredients:

Cookie

1 Cup unsalted butter

1 Cup granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 egg

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 cups all purpose flour

Rainbow food dye

Egg white (for egg wash)

Icing

1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temp

3 and 1/2 cups (420g) confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup (45g) unsweetened cocoa powder

3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream or milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions:

Cookies:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use baking spray or parchment paper to line baking sheet

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder

In a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and very fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients.

Divide dough into different small bowls (as many as you would like colors)

Add a few drops of food coloring to each bowl and mix

Roll the dough into small balls. Place on lined cookie sheets about 1 inch apart

Bake 8-10 minutes in the oven, or until lightly browned. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool.

When completed cooled, put icing on one cookie bottom and top with another cookie.

Icing:

Whisk together room temperate butter, confectioner’s sugar, and salt 

Gradually add cocoa powder, heavy cream/milk and vanilla extract

Place icing into bags with desired tip, decorate cookie as desired

Combine cookies into tasty Cookie Jam sandwiches, enjoy!

November 1, 2017

Halloween Recap at Jam City

Jam Citizens got a bit spirited with their costumes this year and represented some of our favorite Cookie Jam characters. 

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This year, employees brought some Spooktacular competition to our annual company-wide costume contest! This year, we included boo-tiful pumpkin carving to the mix. Check out some of our competition throughout the offices!!

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TinyCo, a Jam City Company, had a gourd time annual office decorating contest. We were mostly amused…but more than a little terrified with their skills. 

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Jam City Los Angles celebrated Halloween with some skele-fun and their own local costume contest. 

October 24, 2017

Halloween at Jam City

Jam City is taking Halloween game play to a frightful new level this year. We are so excited about our six games integrating Halloween in spooktacular ways! We invited some Halloween experts to discuss the special in-game events.  Not only did they dish about our in-game treats, but they took over the office as well! Check out their expert opinions and day at the Jam City office below!

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October 19, 2017

Jam City Dresses Up for Halloween!

Trick or Treat! Who wants something sweet… to play? Jam City is celebrating Halloween throughout the month of October with treats for mobile players across six hit mobile games including the monster hits (over 100 million downloads each), Cookie Jam and Panda Pop. Along with these two titles, Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, Family Guy: Another Freakin’ Mobile Game, Marvel Avengers Academy, and Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow are all featuring in-game Halloween events, which include fan contests, new gaming content, costumes, and challenges. Get ready for some Halloween fun!

Jam City’s Trick or Treat Details

Unless otherwise indicated, all in-game events are currently active from now until October 31.

  • Cookie Jam: On October 24, a new “Marshmalloween Isle” area with 20 new levels will be introduced, giving players deliciously eerie new challenges! Cookie Jam fans can win in-game currency and game swag by uploading photos of their spookiest homemade treat to the Cookie Jam Facebook page, with the winner picked by fan voting and Jam City judges. Other in-game events include Halloween-themed Cookie Walk and Cookie Hunt events, an all-new challenge to win the Batship and special sales!
  • Panda Pop: Players can take part in new Halloween events for a chance to win spooky prizes! The game’s new PvP Race mode offers a chance to win a Bride of Frankenstein costume and there will be multiple sales including costume bundle offers. There’s a Haunted Dojo event from October 26–30 and on Halloween everything culminates with a special flash sale. Fans can also participate in the Panda Costume Contest by submitting their best panda costume photos on the game’s Facebook page.
  • Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff: Horror movie characters and creatures are escaping from Stewie’s malfunctioning holographic projector into the real world—and it is up to Peter to save Quahog from the supernatural threats! Players must aid the Quahog gang in fending off zombie hordes and recruit help from iconic characters from “Silence of the Lambs,” “Teen Wolf,” “Jeepers Creepers,” “Candyman 3: Day of the Dead,” “John Wick: Chapter 2,” “Jigsaw” (the latest film in the “Saw” series, releasing October 27), and more.
  • Family Guy: Another Freakin’ Mobile Game: Players can join the “13th Day of October” event as the Griffins go camping at beautiful Camp Slashenchop! Spooky prizes such as a mask for Peter can be won on the game’s new Halloween mini-map. To support FG: AFMG’s Halloween event, the official Facebook page will host a photo contest where fans can submit their scariest Family Guy Halloween costume. Fans will vote on their favorites and one winner will take home the grand prize (winning costume to be featured in-game, and additional Family Guy prizes).
  • Marvel Avengers Academy: Baron von Strucker joins the game and tries to take down S.H.I.E.L.D. and rebuild HYDRA by infiltrating the secret Area 13 base! Baron von Strucker will free dangerous monsters and aliens that have been trapped while also recruiting zombie versions of HYDRA villains to finally defeat S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers. New villains and characters include Dum Dum Dugan, Hit-Monkey, Zombie Baron Zemo and Zombie Madame Hydra, and Franken-Castle Punisher.
  • Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow: Each week, a crew member will make a devilish wish, resulting in Robot Devil pairing the character with a robot counterpart to “help” them with their wish. Preacher Bot will join the game; Devilish Fry will get up to no good; and eventually everyone will band together to take down Robot Devil… as they should have in the first place!
October 15, 2017

Jam City October Wrap Up

Check out some of the great things Jam Citizens have been doing this month!

こんにちは Anime Club

TinyCo’s has a new club! These anime fans do bi-weekly meetings where they view movies and TV series! 

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Dodge, Dip, Dive, Duck, and Dodge

Jam City LA took on tech companies like Snap Chat, Tinder, and Space X in a multi-part Dodgeball tournament. 

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The Great Shake Out

On October 19th at 10:19am, we all took a moment to Drop, Cover, and Hold. Everyone was encouraged to take these 60 seconds to participate in the drill.

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September 18, 2017

Jam City Summer 2017!

It’s been very busy at Jam City this summer! Check out some of our fun events and group activities our employees have been having.

Summer Parties!

A long time tradition, Jam Citizens took the day off to get some fun in the sun.

– Los Angeles’ Beach Day –

Jam City Los Angeles Studio and HQ employees enjoyed a day at the beach in Malibu!  

This luau-themed beach day included team building games, a treasure hunt, standup paddle boarding, and Hawaiian BBQ!

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– San Francisco at Great America –

Jam City San Francisco took the day to hang out with Snoopy at Great America.

The day was filled with Roller Coasters, Water Park, and wristbands for All-You-Can-Eat food. 

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– San Diego’s Beach Day –

Jam City San Diego headed to Carlsbad Lagoon for a day of BBQ, jet skiing, boating, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, tubing, volleyball and more!

SF- party

– TinyCo Summer Picnic –

TinyCo invited over 200 employees to a picnic in Golden Gate Park. There was plenty of food and drink including The Steamin Burger food truck and CREAM ice cream sandwiches. There were several rounds of volleyball, corn hole, beer pong, and giant ​Jenga. 

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Snoopy Pop Launch Party

The Snoopy Game Team celebrated their game launch with ice cream sandwiches and a trip to a bar-cade.

Check out Snoopy Pop in App Stores now! 

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Eclipse Viewing Party

Jam City Los Angeles enjoyed some breakfast and special treats while viewing the Eclipse. 

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International Chocolate Day

Jam City TinyCo took some time out of their Wednesday to celebrate a very important holiday.

They enjoyed a chocolate fountain, chocolate samples, and shared the chocolate love!

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 Jam City Fruit Club 

Jam City San Francisco has recently organized an afternoon munchies group centered about fruit, veggies, and other healthy treats.

When willpower gets low, this group convenes to share family-style platters they bring from home and enjoy some casual conversation.

One club founder, says, “my personal favorite was frozen banana puree with cinnamon, strawberries and nuts. It’s just like ice cream”

fruit club

Check out our Instagram Hashtag

#LifeAtJamCity

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July 3, 2017

Futurama Cast and Creators Celebrate Launch of Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow with Reddit AMA and Facebook Livestream Hosted by Tom Kenny

 

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On Thursday, June 29, Futurama creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen were joined by voice cast members Billy West (Voice of Fry, Professor, Zoidberg, and others), John DiMaggio (Voice of Bender and others), Maurice Lamarche (Voice of Kif, Calculon, Lrrr, and others), Lauren Tom (Voice of Amy Wong and others), and Phil Lamarr (Voice of Hermes and others) to celebrate the launch of Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow with live Reddit AMA and Facebook livestream hosted by Tom Kenny (Voice of SpongeBob SquarePants and others).

June 26, 2017

Futurama Creators Matt Groening, David X. Cohen and Series Voice Cast Members Attend FUTURAMA: Worlds of Tomorrow Launch Event in Hollywood, CA

Futurama WOT Event

On June 20, Jam City and TinyCo, hosted a launch party for Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow at the Avalon Theatre in Hollywood.

The Nerdist’s Chris Hardwick moderated an exclusive LIVE reading of an episode of Futurama by the series’ cast and creators, followed by an exclusive Q&A with co-creator and executive producer of Futurama, David X. Cohen. Series creator Matt Groening made a special appearance and surprised guests.

Attendees also had the opportunity to receive hands-on time with the game and press interviews were held throughout the evening.

The event was OUT OF THIS WORLD!

May 15, 2017

Jam City’s SVP of Game Development Jill Wilson Serves as Mentor for Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership

Fortune Mentorship 2017

From May 1 – 12, Jam City’s SVP of Game Development Jill Wilson mentored Danielle Sharaf, CEO of Switch-ITC, a multifaceted mobile value added services company based in Pakistan, as part of the Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Woman’s Mentoring Partnership.

The Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership is an international exchange program that pairs senior women executives in the United States with emerging leaders from around the world to improve the status of women in business.

“It’s such an honor to participate in this program and to help support the global advancement of women,” said Jill Wilson, SVP of Game Development at Jam City. “Danielle is an incredibly smart, driven and passionate entrepreneur. We feel lucky to get to know her and learn from her, as well as teach her what we do here at Jam City.”

Jam City is proud to play an important role in engaging, inspiring and empowering a new generation of women leaders around the world. For the past two weeks, Jill has mentored Danielle, providing her with valuable skills, experience, and access to networks needed to grow as a leader in her business, community and country. At the same time, Danielle has shared her experience, industry knowledge, and key insights on the business culture in Pakistan to help Jam City advance in the global economy.

“It’s been phenomenal experience and a lot better than I could have ever expected,” said Danielle. “Not only did I get a lot of direction in terms of my career, but also in terms of personal growth as a woman in the tech industry.”

During her visit, Danielle also participated in numerous activities that gave her the opportunity to get to know Jam City employees and experience LA arts and culture. Jam City hosted a meet-and-greet breakfast every morning and a happy hour every evening, in which Danielle got to know a different Jam City member outside the office. Danielle also hosted a lunch and learn, in which she provided background and insightful information about her company. She visited visited the Museum of Ice Cream and had her first food truck experience at Abbot Kinney in Venice.

“Everybody I’ve met at Jam City will certainly have a profound effect on me,” said Danielle. “In terms of organizational culture, at some point in time, I would want my company where Jam City is now.  Bringing people together and having the workspace and environment like this are now my goals for my company.”

More About Danielle Sharaf:

As one of Pakistan’s leading young technology entrepreneurs working on projects that impact the lives of more than 15 million cellphone users in the country, Danielle’s initiatives are bringing health solutions to adolescent girls and linking job-seekers with industry and empowering women across all socioeconomic strata. Before she started Switch-ITC, she has been an integral part of Pakistan’s most successful startups and also led brand campaigns for large companies.

A self-starter and a multi-talented professional, Danielle is uniquely placed as the only woman CEO in her industry. A communicative technology enthusiast, she has a keen focus on mobile product development and its potential for social change.

An engineer by training and a product development guru by trade, Ms. Sharaf has received international grants and worked with tech gurus to scale and sharpen her business acumen. She was recently nominated for the 2017 Ladiesfund Trailblazer Award. She tweets at @DaniShara.

 

May 2, 2017

Adam West, Robert Franzese and Ralph Garman Celebrate Family Guy AFMG Launch

Adam West (Batman and Mayor West of Quahog), Robert Franzese (Real Life Peter Griffin) and Ralph Garman (KROQ and Family Guy expert) visit Jam City HQ to celebrate the launch of Family Guy Another Freakin’ Mobile Game via Facebook live stream.

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February 16, 2017

#TBT Jam City’s EVP & General Counsel Rob Zakari talks up IP at Casual Connect Berlin

Jam City EVP of Corporate Development & GC Rob Zakari visited Casual Connect Berlin earlier this month where he spoke about the distinct advantages of licensed and original IP with European-based mobile gaming executives.

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Zakari (center) speaking at Casual Connect Berlin with Wooga’s Sebastian Kriese (at left) and moderator Caglar Eger of Goodgame Studios.

February 14, 2017

Jam City Blooms With Charity for Valentines Day

This Valentine’s Day, the good folks at Jam City celebrated with a flower-making workshop with Bloom 2 Bloom! Each bouquet made/purchased gives back to non-profit organizations such as Girls, Inc., Trees 4 Trees, Wish Upon A Teen, and Downtown’s Women’s Center.

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December 9, 2016

Jam City’s Hour of Code

This past Wednesday, Jam City San Diego participated in the annual Hour of Code event at the Casita Center for Science and Technology.

 

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Joseph Young and Chris Andelin taught the 4th grade class, covering Minecraft and CodeMonkey. They talked about their education path through college and the game jobs they’ve had as well as answer questions. The class was then lead through the first couple of problems on the hour of code lessons.

 

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On day two, Joseph Young, Trevor Miller, and Jason Justice got to spend time with the 5th grade class. The courses covered were Minecraft, Star Wars, and Code Combat.

 

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It was an amazing experience for everyone involved: “I was blown away by how much these kids already knew; they’ve been doing block coding with their Chromebooks before and were disappointed at the end of the period when they had to stop working on a problem.” – Jason Justice

Casita created a TED talk covering the event – check it out here!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dwOWnCB9CQ&feature=youtu.be

 

Grant Chen, November 10, 2016

Jam City Plays Games for an Extra Life

Last weekend was the start of our charity partnering with Extra Life! We met up with our coworkers at our offices, streamed games, and raised money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, who give life-saving care to children, even if their families can’t pay. We played some amazing Mario Maker levels, had some exciting matches of League and Smash, and we had fun doing it. Most importantly of all, we blew past our goal of $1,000, raising $1241 for the kids

Extra Life isn’t over yet, though.This weekend, come and check out the stream, or even play with us!

https://www.twitch.tv/jamcityhq

https://www.twitch.tv/jamcitysf

Please spread the links to your friends and family. Let’s see if we can beat $2000 this weekend! The donation links can be found on the stream pages, but you can also head over to our Extra Life team page and join us.

http://www.extra-life.org/team/jamcity

Let’s work together for the kids!

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November 4, 2016

Gamertainment: Gaming Goes Mainstream

This past week, Jam City’s President, Josh Yguado, along with Jon Goldman (Harvard AB ’87 – Skybound Entertainment, Greycroft Partners), Larry Kasanoff (Cornell AB ‘81 – Threshold Entertainment), and Rick Phillips (Harvard AB ’85 – 20th Century Fox) had a great discussion on #gamertainment. Hosted by Cornell in Hollywood and Harvardwood, the conversation was moderated by Alex Krivicich (Cornell AB ‘08 – Super Bit Machine).

The future of gaming isn’t gaming, and the future of entertainment isn’t entertainment. The clear borders that once defined these distinct industries and structured the way we’ve thought about them are blurring by the day. Games are becoming motion pictures and movies, TV shows and TV personalities are becoming games like never before. There’s a new paradigm — Gamertainment. Studios now have gaming arms and gaming studios are getting into movie making.

October 17, 2016

Weekly Tech Roundup: Five Jam City Games Featured On The App Stores

Naughty Monster Story Launch

  • Home page banner & #4 Icon in New + Updated Games (Google Play)
  • Featured in “New Games We Love” in select countries (App Store)

 

Panda Pop Scooby-Doo Event

  • Featured in “Dressed Up for Halloween” collection (App Store)

 

Other Notable Features

  • Marvel Avengers Academy & Family Guy QFS featured in “Dressed Up for Halloween” collection (App Store)
  • Cookie Jam featured in “Sweetest Games” collection (App Store)

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September 22, 2016

Chris DeWolfe’s SGN Games becomes Jam City, acquires game rights from ‘Peanuts’

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

 

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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.”

Chris DeWolfe, September 22, 2016

Playing the Name Game

What’s in a name?

That’s a question I started thinking a lot about last year.

In an airport lounge waiting for a flight back to Los Angeles last fall, some members of the executive team and I began discussing, over potato skins and a sad salad, whether our company’s name was still the right fit for the company we had built.

Well, a few creative agency meetings, 13 months, 20 brainstorm sessions and about 500 names later, we had our answer. Our old name wasn’t going to cut it anymore.

Good bye, SGN Games. Hello, Jam City.

Starting today, we’re now Jam City. Oh yeah, we’ve got the themed water bottles, hoodies and scratch-and-sniff stickers to prove it.

 

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OK, but why?

Our old name got us far, like 800 million downloads far, and we’re grateful for that. Our games have been played 25 billion times. If you combine all the time people have spent playing them, you get 122,000 years, the equivalent of watching every episode of Friends about 9 million times.

Notably, five of our games are in the Top 100 grossing charts across Google’s and Apple’s U.S. app stores–something only three other game makers can say.

On top of all that, profitable for years, our revenues have grown more than 100 percent every year for five years straight.

But in spite of that success, my co-founders Josh Yguado and Aber Whitcomb as well as other members of the executive team and I grew increasingly convinced that our name was at odds with our identity.

The problem basically boiled down to this: As a company, we’ve thrived by creating colorful, engaging mobile games like Cookie Jam, Juice Jam and Panda Pop. And yet even though we’re in the business of fun, our old name was a humdrum corporate acronym that lacked the spirit of our games.

Put another way, we were a company with memorable products but a forgettable name.

With Jam City, we’re harnessing the success of our games to animate our company’s identity.

Coming up with the right name wasn’t quick or easy. We went through countless ideas but each time kept coming back to the same name–and with good reason.

On the one hand, Jam City is a nod to two of our most beloved, successful games. Cookie Jam and Juice Jam are played about 30 million times per day.

On the other hand, it’s a nod to our company’s creative culture. For musicians, jamming is about informally creating harmony amid improvisation. They might not be part of the band or even be reading the same music, but they’re making something together that’s beautiful and greater than themselves. (If you want to see a lot of jamming, watch Martin Scorsese’s rock doc The Last Waltz).

Our creative and technical teams here work the same way. On any given day in one of our studios, you’ll see designers and engineers huddling together on couches or conference rooms problem-solving in impromptu teams. They even call their sessions Game Jams.

And for us–a company whose mission remains connecting people around the world through games–“City” connotes the diverse, vibrant, virtual space we’re building for our players in every imaginable place in the world.

 

What now?

We already own three games based on Hollywood franchises with Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff, Marvel Avengers Academy and the Book of Life: Sugar Smash. As gaming and entertainment continue to collide–something I call Gamertainment–some Hollywood brands with global popularity will grow increasingly lucrative for mobile game makers.

I’m announcing today that we’ve added Peanuts to the list, and we’ll be releasing a mobile game based on the iconic comic strip this year. And while we’re carefully expanding our partnerships with Hollywood, we’ll also continue doing what we do best: building great games that people around the world want to play–and play a lot.

Thanks for letting me share our news with you!

Cheers,

Chris

August 13, 2016

Jam City lends Habitat for Humanity a helping hand

On an average day, you’ll usually find Jam City’s game designers in front of monitors, not behind wheel burrows and circular saws.

But this wasn’t your average day.

The Jam City team joined Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles, or Habitat LA, on a recent Friday in August, helping the nonprofit build affordable homes in Inglewood.

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So that meant the folks behind Panda Pop and Cookie Jam learned how to paint, sand, caulk and, yes, even use a circular saw.

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Thanks for letting us help you, Habitat LA! We were honored to be a part of your important mission.

 

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Chris DeWolfe, July 5, 2016

Why We’re Buying TinyCo, A Studio That Turns Entertainment Brands Into Hit Mobile Games

 

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Friends,

I’ve got great news.

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

 

July 5, 2016

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

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 

Kevin Chao, June 17, 2016

Top 3 from E3

It’s June and if you’re a lucky member of the interactive gaming industry, that means it’s E3 time! E3 is the Electronic Entertainment Expo and takes place every June in sunny Los Angeles. It’s a time when game publishers and developers come together to show off what they’re working on and all the cool new things we can all look forward to in the coming months and years. While Jam City didn’t have a booth on the show floor this year, I still took a day to see the sights and check out what E3 had to offer. Here are the top 3 things I took away from E3 2016!

Old Franchises, New Experiences

Much like Hollywood movies, game franchises are big business. Even if you don’t play many games, you’ve probably heard of Activision’s war shooter series Call of Duty, or if casual puzzle games are more your style, King’s Saga games. This year saw the return of several big name franchises, but the trend seemed to be to breath new life into them by giving players something completely different than what they had become accustomed to from previous entries. New entries in the God of War, Call of Duty, Resident Evil, and Legend of Zelda series all veered away from the traditional to give what looked like brand new and exciting experiences.

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VR Immersion

Virtual Reality (VR) is finally here and it looks like it’s here to stay. From the recent launches of premium VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and Vive to entry level fare like the Google Cardboard, everyone wants to get in on the VR pie. At E3, VR was on the show floor in force. Samsung is not traditionally at E3, but they arrived this year with a sizeable booth, showing off a couple the Gear VR experiences. One virtual roller coaster and one virtual skateboard – both had guests strap the VR headset on and played a video while a peripheral was synced to said video and created a feeling of actually being there. I tried out the skateboarding demo and it really felt like I was flying down a hill on a skateboard. I nearly fell a few times even though in reality, I was barely moving!

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360 Degrees of Viewing Freedom

VR wasn’t the only kind of fully immersive technology being shown, though. Fulldome.Pro had an impressive setup that projected video onto a huge dome above the viewer, giving them the feeling of being inside the video. The demos they showed using this were all very impressive and I definitely want one installed on the ceiling of my room now!

 

Don’t be fooled into thinking these three things were the only things I enjoyed. Far from it! I saw literally hundreds amazing games, technology, and experiences that have me so excited to be part of this wonderful industry and chomping at the bit to experience them when they are released.

 

 

June 9, 2016

Chris DeWolfe Gives The Commencement Address at The University Of Washington

This past weekend, Jam City’s CEO Chris DeWolfe had the special opportunity to deliver the commencement address for UW’s Foster School of Business.

Speaking at the Foster School’s Undergraduate Graduation Celebration in the Hec Edmundson Pavilion on Sunday, Chris pledged to veer from commencement address orthodoxy.

“It’s appropriate that we rip up the commencement speaker handbook,” DeWolfe said. “After all, you are a generation of disruptors… And unlike the professional pessimists who are cynical about the Millennial generation, I’m more confident than ever that you will do disruption right.”

Read more here!

 

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May 26, 2016

FC/LA: A Meeting Of The Most Creative Minds

Fast Company hosted its second annual Creativity Counter-Conference in Los AngelesMay 24-25, 2016. Over the course of two days, FC/LA gathered some of the most creative minds in business, technology, design, and entertainment for a series of inspiring keynote conversations, hands-on sessions, visits to the workspaces and studios of L.A.’s leading organizations, and opportunities to practice purposeful networking. 

Jam City was the last stop on their tour – we hosted 50 people and conducted a Game Jam with Chris, Josh, Aber and Jill judging the winners. Guests broke out into 4 teams and came up with game concepts/designs/monetization/marketing ideas.

 

 

May 19, 2016

Juice Jam Hits 1,000 Levels!

Hop in the juice truck to make your way to level 1,000 of Juice Jam! Team Jam City celebrated the occasion with edible fruit baskets and smoothies across all studios…way to go team!

 

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April 26, 2016

Jam City Seattle does ‪‎Earth Day‬

Jam City Seattle trades computer screens for trees this past ‪#‎EarthDay‬ with a local park clean up. Go team go!

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April 19, 2016

LA Games Conference 2016

ICYMI: Check out pics from the LA Games Conference VIP dinner hosted by Jam City and Digital Media Wire

 

 

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April 10, 2016

Behind the Scenes: Jam City at GDC 2016

On March 14-18, 2016, developers and gamers from across the country took the Bay area by storm for this year’s Game Developers Conference. Some of the most brilliant minds in the gaming industry took to the streets of downtown San Francisco for GDC16. 

Famous Youtuber Jesse Wellens from Prank vs. Prank brought this game to life in downtown SF with his motorized magic carpet. For those that spotted our magic genie, they were in for a lucky surprise! Check out the full recap here!

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March 21, 2016

Team Jam City and The L.A. Kitchen

Team Jam City chopped and prepped this past Saturday at The L.A. Kitchen, who believes that neither food nor people should ever go to waste. By reclaiming healthy, local food that would otherwise be discarded, training men and women who are unemployed for jobs, and providing healthy meals to fellow citizens, L.A. Kitchen empowers, nourishes, and engages the community.

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To find out more about what they do, head to http://www.lakitchen.org!

‪#‎LifeAtJamCity‬ ‪#‎DoGood‬

March 8, 2016

Happy International Women’s Day from the ladies of Jam City!

Last month, the talented ladies of Jam City had a luncheon to talk games, and to celebrate Jill Wilson’s award from the National Diversity Council. Proud of you, Jill! #WhoRunTheWorld?

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March 4, 2016

Genies & Gems Launch Party

Monkeys, genies, and a giant mechanical camel…how else would Jam City celebrate the launch of Genies & Gems? Cheers to the LA team!

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February 19, 2016

Health & Wellness at Jam City

Who knew Team Jam City could get so zen at the office? From in-office yoga sessions to 30 minute massages,  Jam City makes sure our employees are relaxed and ready to take on the day! One of the many perks of working at Jam City!

“Be a warrior, not a worrier.”

#LifeAtJamCity #WorkPerks

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February 18, 2016

Chris DeWolfe Guest Lectures at USC

Our CEO, Chris DeWolfe guest lectured at USC Marshall School of Business this past month to chat with students about entrepreneurial mindset, success, failure, fears, adversity, and getting out of your comfort zone. ‪#‎FightOn‬‪#‎Trojans‬

 

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February 11, 2016

SGN is included on Built in Los Angeles’s list of LA’s Hottest Tech Offices

Recently, we let Built In LA get a sneak peek behind SGN doors to see where the magic happens. Read what Josh Yguado has to say about our new Culver City space here!

February 5, 2016

Keeping Ballona Creek Beautiful: SGN Teams Up With The Ballona Creek Renaissance For An Afternoon Cleanup

This past February, SGN took the opportunity to get involved in their local community and volunteered an afternoon to help clean up Ballona Creek.

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More than 20 SGN-ers, including Chris DeWolfe and Joshua Yguado, joined the Ballona Creek Renaissance and the Culver City High School BCR Club to collect trash, recyclables, and hazardous waste that otherwise would have flowed down to the ocean directly, further harming our environment and wildlife. In less than two hours, the team collected over 135 pounds of trash!

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For the SGN crew, it was educational to understand the link between the cigarette butt thrown onto the street and the trash that endangers fish, birds, and other aquatic animals. The cleanup is symbolic, representing just a tiny fraction of the trash in the creek, but it raises awareness.

February 4, 2016

Snapchat Runs Its First App-Install Ad, and It’s for Mobile Game Cookie Jam

Proud to be pioneering this new format with Snapchat

Snapchat is getting closer to forking over the data that advertisers want, and the stats will be coming in the form of mobile app-install ads.

Today, a short video ad promoting SGN’s mobile game Cookie Jam is running within iHeartRadio’s Discover channel—the app’s hub of daily content from publishers. The promo is a shorter version of a 30-second commercial Cookie Jam created in September with actor Ken Jeong, who plays a giant cookie. Read the rest here!

 

January 22, 2016

New Game Alert: Genies & Gems!

Please welcome the newest member of the SGN family, Genies & Gems!  It’s time to pump up the GEM for our newest match-3 puzzle game, Genies and Gems! Help Jenni the genie and her fox, Trix as they journey through mystical worlds, recovering lost relics, gold bars, and enchanted keys.

Download it from Google Play, iOS Store, or play on Facebook!

iOS: https://appsto.re/us/nADI9.i

GP: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sgn.geniesandgems.gp&hl=en

FB: https://apps.facebook.com/geniesandgems/?fb_source=search

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January 21, 2016

USC Visits SGN

Great having USC Marshall School of Business’s top gaming talent over for a tour of SGN headquarters to learn about what we do (and to enjoy some snow cones)!

‪#‎GoTrojans‬ ‪#‎FightOn‬!

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January 6, 2016

Sugar Smash: Book of Life Reaches 1,000 Levels!

Team SGN celebrates Sugar Smash: Book of Life‘s 1,000th level with churros and pinata smashing!

‪#‎LifeAtSGN‬

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December 30, 2015

Shoes for the Homeless

SGN shoes! This past month, Team SGN participates in the Shoes for the Homeless drive, a company that is committed to providing shoes to those in need, free of charge, in the Los Angeles communities. For more info on what this organization does, check out www.shoesforthehomeless.net.

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Way to go Team SGN‪#‎LifeAtSGN‬

December 11, 2015

SGN San Diego Joins an Hour of Code

SGN San Diego participates in An Hour of Code at the Casita Center of Science and Technology!

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During the Hour of Code week (December 7-13, 2015), engineers from SGN San Diego volunteered at Casita Center Elementary School to teach 4th and 5th graders about programming.

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The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. Their vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science.

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The engineers talked about their work on Cookie Jam and other games, and then walked through programming exercises on Code.org. They also helped the students work through Hour of Code exercises, teaching them about branching, looping, and other programming concepts.

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Because you’re never too young to learn how to code! To learn more about #HourOfCode check out https://code.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 11, 2015

Best of 2015 – Game On!

SGN is proud to have three games listed among the Best of 2015 for iTunes and Google Play!

 

Congrats to Cookie Jam for being listed as one of iTunes Best of 2015 Top Grossing Apps!

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For the Google Play store we are excited to have our very own Panda Pop and Juice Jam listed as one of the Best Games of 2015!

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