Rocket Ninja's $3.5M, bringing 3D to Facebook

Katie Gatto · November 4, 2010 · Short URL:

San Francisco-based social gaming startup raises funds to blow out 3-D games

Games are a market that everyone seems to want a piece of.  You can make them yourself, even if you do not know how to code. You can download and play right away. Or, you can play on the Web, any number of free games.

That is probably because there is no shortage of players. On Average, 67% of American households have at least one person who plays a computer or video game. With a devotion of an average eight hours a week on game time, players can be certain to spread the love around.

Gamers, however, can be a fickle lot. If you want to keep their attention, and draw users away from well-established titles, you need to do something new. So, how about 3-D games? That's pretty new, right? And what if a company could bring them, not a multi-thousand dollar 3-D TV, but to your computer? That definitely has the potential to turn some heads.

That may be why Rocket Ninja received some funding. The San Francisco-based social game company announced on Thursday, that it raised $3.5 million from a number of angel investors. 

The games will be available on Facebook, which means that they are likely to be free.

It also means that they will come up against some stiff competition from the reigning king of Facebook games, Zynga.

Zynga, which was founded one year prior to Rocket Ninja, has a significant lead, with 360-plus million monthly active users, and an impressive list of distribution channels, which include: Facebook, MySpace, iPhone, MSN Games and My Yahoo. Though, the game that Rocket Ninja has already released on Facebook, Ocean Kingdom, already has 1,834 fans.

Speaking of hurdles the company will have to face, a 3-D game will also face a user-adoption hump, since in order to get the full effect of the game, most users will have to upgrade their system. Since a 3-D graphics card setup, like the NVIDIA 3D Vision bundle, can cost users roughly $600, the real merits of a 3-D game are likely to be appreciated only by hardcore PC gamers and HD movie buffs, for the time being. All those polygons, used to render the three dimensional characters, are of no use to you if your system can't display them.

Rocket Ninja is currently hiring for the following positions: Game Server Programmer, Online Game Programmer, and Lead Systems/Game Designer.

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Zynga is the largest social gaming company with 8.5 million daily users and 45 million monthly users.  Zynga’s games are available on Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Hi5, Friendster, Yahoo! and the iPhone, and include Texas Hold’Em Poker, Mafia Wars, YoVille, Vampires, Street Racing, Scramble and Word Twist.  The company is funded by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, IVP, Union Square Ventures, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Pilot Group, Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel.  Zynga is headquartered at the Chip Factory in San Francisco.  For more information, please visit