Big Fish Games

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Big Fish Games, Inc.
Type Private
Industry Video game
Computer software
Founded Seattle (2002)
Headquarters Seattle, Washington, United States
Key people Paul Thelen, Chairman/CEO
Products Video games (Casual games)
Employees 700 (2013)

Big Fish Games is a provider of Internet media delivery software and game services based in Seattle, Washington. The company was founded in 2002 by Paul Thelen,[1] and currently employs more than 500 people.[2] Most of Big Fish Games' titles can be played for free in trial form, with the full version available for a fee. Big Fish Games has several lines of business including distribution of downloadable casual games, free online browser games, game development and game licensing, and most recently a social networking site for casual game players to share opinions and information about games.


Big Fish Games was founded by ex-RealNetworks executive Paul Thelen in 2002 with $10,000.[3] Thelen was the Group Product Manager that launched the RealArcade games service for RealNetworks.[4] In 2009, the company announced the opening of their new European headquarters in Cork, Ireland. The BBB rates Big Fish Games as an A+ due to its response and resolution to complaints, and the relative low complaint volume for a business of its size.[5]

In August 2013, the company announced the closing of its cloud-based games service, Vancouver studio and Cork offices.[6]

Big Fish Studios[edit]

Big Fish Studios is the internal development studio that publishes original titles every year through Big Fish Games. Many of these games are developed using its own proprietary game engine that supports both DirectX and OpenGL.[7][8]

Games developed by Big Fish Studios include:

Digital distribution[edit]

Big Fish Games distributes over 2500 casual downloadable games for over 500 developers.[9] According to Big Fish Games, the company serves over 1,500,000 downloads per day.[10] The service offers downloadable casual games with a try-before-you-buy model where consumers can play games for free for 60 minutes, then have the option to purchase that game to keep playing.

Online games[edit]

Big Fish Games used to distribute online web browser games that were free to play and advertising supported. There were over 80 games to play. The games all included chat and players earned tokens that could be used to enter lotteries to win cash prizes and free games.

Just over 20 of Big Fish Games community games were ported to Big Sea Games, a sister site that was free to play with no advertising. It was announced that Big Sea Games would be closed on September 1, 2010 after just over a year.[11]

Big Fish Games also operated the popular online game Faunasphere, accessible both from its own site and through Facebook. It was announced on February 15, 2011 that the Faunasphere would be shutting down on March 15.

Club membership[edit]

Big Fish Games operates a Game Club subscription that is optionally activated when a customer purchases one of their full-version games. The subscription is billed as a monthly charge, and can be canceled at any time.


  1. ^ "Company History". Big Fish Games. Retrieved May 23, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Executive Team". Big Fish Games. Retrieved June 18, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Paul Thelen". Big Fish Games. Retrieved May 23, 2011. 
  4. ^ Reese, Heather (September 11, 2005). "Thelen Worked Through Illness to Launch Big Fish". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved October 25, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Big Fish Games Inc". BBC. Retrieved June 18, 2014. 
  6. ^ Cook, John (August 21, 2013). "Full memo: Big Fish CEO announces job cuts, cancellation of cloud games business and closure of Ireland and BC facilities". GeekWire. Retrieved June 18, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Chris Campbell, Brian Thompson, Peter Yiap". Adventure Classic Gaming. January 23, 2010. Retrieved November 26, 2011. 
  8. ^ "Big Fish Games presents the Big Fish Games collection". Big Fish Games. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  9. ^ Takahashi, Dean (January 12, 2010). "Big Fish Games and PlayFirst team up for online game distribution". VentureBeat. Retrieved May 23, 2011. 
  10. ^ "People and Big Fish Games Launch Exclusive Partnership". July 30, 2009. Retrieved November 25, 2009. 
  11. ^ Murphy, Conor (July 31, 2009). "Announcing Big Sea Games". Big Fish Games. Retrieved June 18, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°37′15″N 122°21′43″W / 47.620941°N 122.361906°W / 47.620941; -122.361906