Posts Tagged ‘silicon valley’

Casual Collective plans to release additional game packs via Microtransactions

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Chances are that you’ve never heard the names Paul Preece and David Scott.  On the other side of the coin, chances are that you’ve wasted an hour or two in the office at home playing the highly fun and addictive game Desktop Tower Defense or perhaps Flash Element TD?  Yeah.  Me too.

Combined, the two flash games have been played over 210 million times.  And what started out as a hobby is now on the verge of becoming a full ledged business for these two gents.  Not happy to rest on their laurels, Preece and Scott have been busy developing four more titles that are now available at Casual Collective, a platform for the team’s developments and those uploaded by the community.

If this user community development (i.e. crowd sourcing/programming) sounds familiar, Kongregate and of course the old standby Newgrounds might come to mind.  The goal here is to foster community involvement, social networking, chat rooms, and community tools all aimed an enhancing the users overall gaming experience.  Players are further encouraged to register and participate via receiving various rewards, bonus content, and customization options.

The duo is also sure to be pushing their own products quite heavily on the site, but hey, who can blame them (Dang it…just lost another tower….what was I saying?).  Their 4 new games went live yesterday, with further plans to license them out to additional gaming portals.  The new titles are:

As with many/most browser based flash games, the majority of revenue comes from advertising dollars, but Preece and Scott are also planning on releasing game upgrades and enhancements via microtransactions.

Funded by one of our Silicon Valley favorites, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Jeremy Liew didn’t think twice before handing the team a $1M check.  He’s an avid fan of Desktop Tower Defense and says,

“I wanted to meet the guy who was such a drain on my productivity.”

Liew also believes that the Casual Collective falls right in line with web 2.0 gaming trends – shorter development cycles, cheaper budgets, web distribution, and widgetization, i.e. games aren’t tied to home, but can roam about to just about any site across the web.

If you’ve not yet played Desktop Tower Defense (are you living under a rock?) have a visit to the Casual Collective and give ‘er a whirl.

On a side note: It turns out that Wagner James Au from GigaOm covered Desktop Tower Defense in May of 2007.  Preece was working as a VB programmer and making games in his spare time, all the while pulling down high 4 digit advertising revenues per month.  Apparently this didn’t bode well with the boss man, and Preece was given the axe.  Preece and Scott are now set with seed funding until at least 2010, so really…who’s laughing now?

Wishing all the best to the Casual Collective – certainly one to watch.

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IMVU shoots for the stars – and brings one home

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

Palo Alto based virtual world IMVU has recently been named a Rising Star in the Silicon Valley Fast 50 program.  This special award is bestowed upon a fast-growth company and is based on percentage revenue growth over three years (2005-2007).  This year’s Silicon Valley Technology Fast 50 program is co-presented by Deloitte, Silicon Valley Bank, Korn/Ferry International, Cooley Godward Kronish LLP, Cornish & Carey Client Solutions, and ABD Insurance and Financial Services — A Wells Fargo Company.

Founded in 2004, IMVU Inc. is a virtual world where adults and teens can interact with each other in a unique 3D setting.  While still officially in a public beta phase, IMVU has already reached a number of highly significant milestones: 25 Million registered users, 100,000 register developers, and generating approximately $1M in revenue per month.  IMVU currently houses the world’s largest virtual goods catalog, with over 1.8 million items available for purchase or trade.  IMVU generates over 90 percent of its revenue from the direct sale of virtual credits.  These virtual credits are the in-game currency used my IMVU inhabitants to purchase any number of these 1.8 million items.

Part of IMVU’s success is attributed to its wide range of interested parties.  IMVU is not just a destination for those interested in virtual technologies and games, but also boasts a wide cross section of people from all walks of life.  IMVUers include Anime fans, Goths, Latinos, Moms, LGBT, and many more, thus every type of group under the sun can find someone with similar interests within the IMVU world.  Players represent themselves with highly customizable 3D avatars, and via IMVU’s hybrid of 3D technology, artistry, and tools, they can buy new products for these avatars, all while having a good time.  IMVU currently generates over $1M in revenue per month via in-world microtransactions.

“The Deloitte Silicon Valley Technology Fast 50 Rising Star companies have shown the strength, vision and tenacity to succeed despite a very challenging technology environment,” said Mark Jensen, partner and national director, Venture Capital Services, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “We applaud the successes of IMVU and acknowledge its place as one of the few to accomplish such a fast growth rate over the past three years.”

“We are greatly honored to be recognized by Deloitte for our strong revenue performance,” said Cary Rosenzweig, CEO of IMVU, Inc. “To achieve revenue, we deliver value for our customers. We couldn’t do it without the help of our amazingly creative IMVU community of developers, who create almost all the digital items purchased by IMVU members.”

If winning the Rising Star award wasn’t enough, just qualifying for the program is daunting enough.  Companies must be incorporated a minimum of three years and have revenue in only three or four years, have operating revenues of at least $50,000 in 2005 and $5,000,000 in 2007, be headquartered within the San Francisco Bay Area (subsidiaries or divisions are not eligible, unless they have some public ownership and are separately traded), and own proprietary technology or proprietary intellectual property that contributes to a significant portion of the company’s operating revenues or devote a significant proportion of revenues to the research and development of technology.

From all of us here at fatfoogoo, gratz IMVU!

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Turbine lands $40M in financing via Time Warner and CGV Capital

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Turbine Inc. makers of top titles ‘The Lord of the Rings Online’, ‘Shadows of Angmar’. ‘Dungeons and Dragons Online’, and ‘Asheron’s Call’ have sealed a $40M financing deal with top investors Time Warner Inc. and CGV Captial.

Time Warner Investments target non-control strategic investments, and is an integral part of the Time Warner parent company, a leading (if not THE leading) media and entertainment company in the US.

CGV Capital is a leader in expansion-stage venture capital investments in the U.S. and China.  The firm manages over $1B in global capital from it’s offices in Silicon Valley, Shanghai and Singapore.

“Our investment in Turbine is an important addition to Time Warner’s entertainment initiatives,” said Rachel Lam, Senior Vice President and Group Managing Director of Time Warner Investments. “Online interactive
entertainment is a huge growth market and we are very excited about Turbine, its unique capabilities and the obvious opportunities that exist with our own broad portfolio of IP.”

“The demand for massively multiplayer online worlds is exploding both geographically and in terms of platforms served,” said Hany Nada, managing partner, GGV Capital. “Turbine is a proven leader in massively interactive online entertainment and the incredible technology that supports it. We look forward to marrying our strengths both here and in Asia with Turbine’s unique capabilities.”

Turbine CEO Jim Crowley says, “This is truly an exciting time for Turbine. The addition of Time Warner, one of the world’s largest media companies, and GGV Capital, one of the financial community’s most sophisticated investors, adds a level of access, perspective and experience to Turbine that is singularly unique in the global online entertainment space. Turbine has an extraordinary team, incredible technology and a growing portfolio of games based on some of the most popular brands ever created. With this funding we are uniquely positioned to change the future of online entertainment as we bring new titles to market, expand the platforms we support and introduce new technologies to sustain self-evolving game worlds.”