Don't look now, but another social, mobile gaming startup has emerged. This time, it's targeting the male demographic and the sports genre.
Wedge Buster announced Tuesday that it's raised $2.2 million in a Series A round of capital from major investors, including Drew Brees, a Super Bowl MVP, Rob Dyrdek, a pro skater and entertainment mogul, 37 Technology Ventures and angels in the gaming and media industries.
The Los Angeles-based startup has created a platform of casual games, mainly with sports themes and mainly targeting the male demographic interested in Fantasy Sports and social asynchronous games.
Since launching in beta on Facebook last spring, it has seen 250,000 sign-ups to its more than 100 lightweight games, with the average time on site coming in at 14 minutes, said Scott Philp, co-founder and CEO of Wedge Buster, in an interview with me.
"We want to be the ultimate destination for guys to have a home to play sports games," said Philp. "Right now, these [games] are fragmented."
But the Facebook platform is just the place to mainly test which games will take off on mobile, said Philp. The games that start performing well will then be created for mobile. The first game to hit the mobile device is called Battle Darts. It will be available on iOS and Android devices this fall.
But expect to see more mobile games soon after.
"The goal since we have such a broad offering on Facebook is to figure out what games make sense," said Philp. Those games are then taken to mobile. “It comes down to virtual real estate and what games move the needle.”
Wedge Buster has an interesting approach to this market. These days, everyone knows that social, mobile games, and games in general, may be one-hit wonders. They can quickly attract an audience and significant revenue. But just as quickly lose it. Just look at OMGPOP's Draw Something, which appears to have quickly lost its luster. This has investors and entrepreneurs both excited and nervous about getting into the action. Wedge Buster hopes to mitigate the risk of betting on a flop by buying games at reasonable prices and applying proven social gaming tactics to them, and watching for those that bubble up to the top, before bringing them to mobile devices.
The mobile game market is expected to be big business. Revenue from these games is expected to hit $11 billion by 2015, according to Jupiter Research. Meanwhile, social games are also attracting big bucks.
It's estimated that worldwide sales for social network games was $4.94 billion last year and will be $6.2 billion this year, according to Casual Games Association. The market for social games will be $9 billion by 2015, according to Jupiter Research.
According to Crowdpark about 400 million people play online social games.
The social mobile gaming space continues to be red hot. Just the other day, Scopely, a social, mobile game publisher, announced that it raised $8.5 million in financing from a slew of angels and VCs. Just this past May, Gree bought Funzio, a mobile gaming company, for $210 million. Zynga bought OMGPOP for its popular social game Draw Something for $200 million in March.