Posts Tagged ‘Ben Liu’

Pocket Gems on the move; scores Playdom’s Ben Liu, approaches 30 Million downloads

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Free-to-play mobile games maker Pocket Gems has recently surpassed 28 million downloads across their product lineup and are gearing up for a banner year. The company’s flagship title, Tap Zoo, has spent 27 of the last 31 weeks in Apple’s top 10 grossing app chart, and the company is rapidly preparing for their move to an all new corporate headquarters in The City by The Bay.

Adding to the excitement and success, Pocket Gems has also recently acquired the services of Ben Liu in the role of Chief Operating Officer. Liu arrives fresh from Playdom where he directed the largest studio in Playdom’s holdings as executive producer of top social games including the City of Wonder franchise. Liu has been tasked with directing and guiding the company as it evolves from start up to established games maker.

Adding to the unspoken seal of “You’ve Arrived,” Liu will be joined by former EA art director Jeff Hunter, former Senior Producer at Playdom Niels Hoven, and former Pogo Studio Director, Creative Director Rich Cooluris. Supporting this new group of talent, Pocket Gems has announced that they’ll also be bringing more then 20 new development staff on board.

“We are thrilled about all the top talent joining our team,” Daniel Terry, CEO, Pocket Gems, said in a statement. “As we grow our company we are dedicated to keeping our focus on handcrafting and operating the best mobile games to continue to deliver amazing experiences for our customers.”

You’ll remember that back in December of last year, Pocket Gems landed a cool $5 million from Sequoia Capital, also adding Jim Goetz to the board. Other investors included Michael Dearing, former eBay veteran and Associate Professor at the Stanford University Institute of Design, Jeff Fluhr, co-founder and former CEO of StubHub, and Omar Harmoui, founder of AdMob. It would appear that the Pocket Gem investment is starting to bear fruit, as the company’s offerings are closing in on the 30 million downloads mark, and clearly the firm is headed in the right direction with these notable talent acquisitions. Now that the company joins the ranks of giants in location, let’s see what these former giant vets can turn out for our amusement (and wallets).

“COMEDY CENTRAL and Spike TV squarely target the video game audience. Our ‘Deadliest Warrior’ gaming franchise exploded out of the gate last season,” said Yang in a statement. “With the launch of 345 Games, we are tapping into the passionate fan base of both COMEDY CENTRAL and Spike and creating an enhanced interactive experience based on our hit shows and brands.”

345 Games is a new creation from MTV Networks, although the division isn’t fully independent. The gaming arm will work closely with the Networks’ existing talent as well as supported by existing Marketing departments and channels. 345 Games plans to reach out to independent developers who are interested in producing content for the COMEDY CENTRAL and Spike brands.

As for first offerings, from the Spike TV side of things, 345 Games will build upon the existing traction developed by “Deadliest Warrior: The Game,” “Deadliest Warrior: Legends,” seeks to take the franchise in a different direction, as the new title will ditch the weapons and armor, and pits gamers against some of the deadliest warriors across the span of time. The game will feature new heroic warriors, fighting options, a more precise projectile system, more arenas, and a new campaign mode. In other words…better everything. Players will be armed with Deadliest Warrior signature weapons and combat skills are unique to each character played. “Deadliest Warrior: Legends,” is slated to be available for Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network for $10.

From the COMEDY CENTRAL side of things, 345 Games will be launching “Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon,” in conjunction with the season two launch of the animated series of the same name. The four player side scroller will capitalize on the horror-comedy series appeal, and feature an exclusive script authored by the shows writers and creators. Adding to the exclusivity, the game will feature a new character unique to the game, and feature voiceovers provided by the original cast. Similar to Deadliest Warrior, “Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon” will be available for Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network for $10.