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Mobile gaming is predicted to become a $21 billion business in 2014
Mobile gaming is turning into big business. It's a space that some analysts predict will surpass $21 billion this year, so its no wonder that all of the sudden we're seeing an infusion of venture capital, and some very high priced acquisitions centered around it.
The latest to get funding is consumer mobile entertainment network Scopely, which has announced on Thursday that it has raised a $35 million funding round. It was led by Evolution Media Partners and Highland Capital Partners, with Knoll Ventures, Greycroft, The Chernin Group, Sands Capital Ventures and Double M Capital also participating.
The company had previously raised $8.5 million in seed financing from Anthem Venture Partners, The Chernin Group, Greycroft Venture Partners and New Enterprise Associates, in September of 2012. This latest round brings its total funding to $43.5 million.
The Los Angeles-based Scopely was founded by AdSense co-creator Eytan Elbaz, Walter Driver and Ankur Bulsara in 2011. Elbaz co-founded Applied Semantics, which was bought by Google in 2003 and became the AdSense product. Driver founded O Negative Media and co-founded Ignition Interactive. Bulsara was the lead developer on MySpace's Developer platform.
The company helps independent mobile game developers optimize their products for competition against products from larger competitors. It works with independent studios to co-develop multi-player games that leverage its network for technology, distribution and monetization.
Its games include the "With Buddies franchise" such as Dice with Buddies, an asynchronous game similar to Yahtzee in that people roll the dice to get certain combinations and Jewels with Buddies, where the object is to match jewels. Scopely boasts a network of more than 35 million players.
In addition to the funding news, it was also announced that Rick Hess of Evolution, and Andy Hunt of Highland Capital Partners, have joined the board of directors at Scopely. The other members are Driver, who is also CEO of Scopely, and Elbaz, who is Chief Strategy Officer of the company.
Mobile gaming space
Like I said earlier, the mobile gaming space has been seeing a lot of activity this year,
For example, mobile game developer Kiwi raised $15 million in Series B funding; Gaming studio JuiceBox Games raised $2.5 million; Industrial Toys, a next-generation mobile games developer, raised a $5 million Series A round; Stealth mobile gaming company Hobo Labs raised a $4 million round; and RockYou, a cross-platform advertising network for games, raised $10 million.
It's the acquisitions, though, that have made the biggest impression, with two massive deals taking place this year: in September, Microsoft bought Mojang, the gaming studio behind mega-hit Minecraft, for $2.5 billion. Then, this week, it was announced that one of the most popular casual game publishers, Big Fish Games was purchased by Churchill Downs.
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Founded in 2002, Big Fish is the leading online marketplace for premium casual games. Through its proprietary, data driven platform, millions of consumers seeking immersive, relaxing entertainment easily discover and purchase premium casual games created by Big Fish’s network of more than 500 development partners and in-house by Big Fish Games Studios. Renowned for offering A New Game Every Day!® on www.bigfishgames.com, the company offers thousands of games on multiple platforms -- PC, Mac, mobile phone, and tablet. Big Fish’s websites, games, and customer service are available in ten languages – Danish, Dutch, English, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish – and its games are sold in more than 150 countries. The company is headquartered in Seattle, WA, with regional offices in Oakland, CA; Vancouver, Canada; Cork, Ireland; and Luxembourg.
Joined Vator onRockYou is a leading provider of applications and widgets on the web. RockYou widgets include photo slideshows, glitter text, customized Facebook applications and voicemail accessories that are simple to use and enable people to frequently refresh their online style. Founded in 2006, RockYou has over 35 million users, serving over 180 million widget views per day in more than 200 countries. RockYou applications are customized for easy integration across all social networks including Facebook, MySpace, Bebo, Friendster, Tagged and hi5.