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.



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!