Jam City (company)

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Jam City
Subsidiary
IndustryVideo game industry
Founded2007
Headquarters
Number of locations
6
Key people
Chris DeWolfe, Colin Digiaro
ProductsCasual gaming
Number of employees
500 (September 2016)
ParentNetmarble Corp.[1]
SubsidiariesTinyCo
WebsiteJamCity.com

Jam City is a Los Angeles-based[2] mobile game developer. The company was founded in 2010[3] by MySpace co-founders Chris DeWolfe, Colin Digiaro, Aber Whitcomb and former 20th Century Fox executive Josh Yguado.[4] The company has 50 million monthly users and 7 titles to date that have ranked in the 100 highest-grossing charts in the Apple App Store.[5][6] Jam City has studios located in both California and South America.[7][8]

History[edit]

Chris DeWolfe’s company, Platform G, acquired San Francisco-based social gaming platform MindJolt in March 2010 with Austin Ventures backing.[9]

In April 2011, MindJolt doubled its staff (to 80) and added mobile games to its portfolio of web offerings by acquiring two companies, Social Gaming Network and Hallpass Media.[10] Social Gaming Network had a strong mobile presence,[11] as the creator of iPhone and Android games that had been downloaded 30 million times.[10] Game portal Hallpass Media had a big web presence[11] with four million monthly users of about 1500 web-based games.[10]

MindJolt adopted a new name, Social Gaming Network (or SGN), in March 2012.[12]

In June 2013, SGN acquired Mob Science, which was a Facebook games developer of "mid-core social games" and known for Legends: Rise of a Hero.[13]

In December 2015, SGN acquired two companies, Fat Rascal and Kiwi, Inc.[14]

The acquisition of TinyCo in July[15] added 125 employees to SGN,[16] bringing its total number to about 400.[17] Mobile entertainment games that TinyCo had created included Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff and Marvel Avengers Academy.[18]

In September 2016, SGN rebranded itself as Jam City, Inc.[19]

Games[edit]

Most of the games Jam City produces are free-to-play and give users the option to make microtransaction purchases with real money to obtain more lives or add special skills in-game that allow them to advance further in it faster.[20] Jam City's goals include long shelf life games that generate revenue for years.[21] As of January 2017, two of Jam City’s largest hit games, Panda Pop and Cookie Jam, were growing every month and had been on the market for four years.[20]

At the time of the September 2016 rebranding (from SGN to Jam City, Inc.), Jam City announced that they had obtained a license for the intellectual property necessary to develop a game based on Peanuts.[19]

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery[edit]

On April 25, 2018, Jam City released Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, a mobile game based on J.K. Rowling's Wizarding World franchise. Developed by Jam City in partnership with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery is the first mobile game where players create their own character and experience life as a Hogwarts student.[22] In the game, players customize their own personal avatar and can attend magic classes, learn spells, battle rivals, and embark on quests at Hogwarts.[23] Several actors from the Harry Potter film series comprise the voice cast for the staff of Hogwarts in the game, including Dame Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Warwick Davis, Sally Mortemore, Gemma Jones, and Zoe Wanamaker.[24] Over 3 million players pre-registered for the game before its launch,[25] and within 24 hours of its release, it reached #1 in the free-to-play category in the Apple App Store and #10 in the top-grossing chart across all categories.[26]

Cookie Jam[edit]

Cookie Jam, Jam City’s flagship game, is a match-3 puzzle game where players complete baking-themed puzzles in order to proceed to the next level. Cookie Jam was named Facebook's “Game of the Year” in 2014.[27] On May 24, 2014, Jam City released the next game in the Cookie Jam franchise, Cookie Jam Blast, and announced that Cookie Jam had over 100 million downloads and 5 million daily active players worldwide.[28]

Products and Collaborations[edit]

MindJolt released a monetization tool, AdJolt, in November 2010. AdJolt was made available to third party developers who would then share revenue generated through use of the tool with MindJolt.[29]

In December 2012, SGN launched its proprietary technology, MasterKey, which allowed them to develop a game once and then publish it across multiple platforms in less time than it would take to build on the varying platforms individually.[30] MasterKey was described as being technology that "essentially works like a translator or convertor."[11]

SGN partnered with Fox to create a game, Book of Life: Sugar Smash, that was based on Guillermo del Toro and Jorge Gutierrez’s animated film, The Book of Life released in October 2014.[31] This was SGN’s first collaboration with a major Hollywood studio to simultaneously release a game and film.[32]

In December 2014, SGN and Chinese internet technology company NetEase announced a partnership that enabled SGN’s game, Cookie Jam, to be distributed in China in early 2015.[33] In contrast to the two major app stores in the US (iOS and Android), China has over a dozen.[34]

South Korean mobile game company Netmarble was announced a $130 million investment in SGN in July 2015; this was one of the largest investments in mobile gaming since 2013.[35] The investment made Netmarble the largest shareholder in SGN.[36]

In February 2016, Snapchat’s first-ever app-install advertisement was run; it was for SGN’s game, Cookie Jam. The ad featured comedian Ken Jeong dressed as a giant cookie.[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harry Potter Hot, Marvel Avengers Not in Jam City Game Plans, Bloomberg, June 29, 2018
  2. ^ Graham, Jefferson (March 1, 2017). "MySpace co-founder's advice for Snap's Spiegel". USA Today. Tysons Corner, VA.
  3. ^ Graham, Jefferson (March 22, 2017). "Jam City seeks another hit with more Family Guy, plans for IPO". USA Today. Tysons Corner, VA. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  4. ^ Chaykowski, Kathleen (June 12, 2017). "Former MySpace CEO Makes A Comeback As A Mobile Gaming Hitmaker". Forbes. New York, NY. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  5. ^ Karlin, Susan (August 9, 2017). "Jam City CEO Chris DeWolfe Talks Mobile Gaming Strategy—And A 2019 IPO". Fast Company. New York, NY. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  6. ^ Chan, Stephanie (April 26, 2018). "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery tops Apple App Store charts a day after launch". VentureBeat. San Francisco, CA. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  7. ^ Spangler, Todd (September 22, 2016). "SGN Changes Name to Jam City, Acquires Rights to Make 'Peanuts' Mobile Game". Variety. New York, NY. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  8. ^ Fennimore, Jack (March 14, 2018). "Mobile Game Giant Jam City Acquires Colombian Developer Brainz and Their Game World War Doh". Heavy.com. New York, NY. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  9. ^ Arrington, Michael (3 March 2010). "Chris DeWolfe Makes His Move – Raises Big Round, Acquires Gaming Platform MindJolt". TechCrunch. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  10. ^ a b c Rusli, Evelyn M. (18 April 2011). "A Myspace Founder Builds Again, Buying Game Companies". New York Times Dealbook. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  11. ^ a b c Kozlowski, Lori (12 June 2013). "The Science of Social Games". Forbes. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  12. ^ Ha, Anthony (2 March 2012). "MySpace Co-Founder Chris DeWolfe Explains SGN's New Name, Multi-Platform Plans". TechCrunch. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  13. ^ M, Will (17 June 2013). "Social Gaming Network's Acquisition Of Mob Science Continues Trend Away From Facebook-Only Social Games". AdWeek: Social Times. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  14. ^ Dave, Paresh (9 December 2015). "SGN buys game development studios Fat Rascal and Kiwi". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  15. ^ Peterson, Steve (17 March 2016). "SGN Brings A Marketing Gem To The Streets of San Francisco for GDC". AList Daily. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  16. ^ Ellingson, Annlee (6 July 2016). "SGN buys startup behind Marvel, 'Family Guy' mobile games". Biz Journals. American City Business Journals. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  17. ^ Spangler, Todd (6 July 2016). "SGN Buys TinyCo, Maker of 'Marvel Avengers Academy' Mobile Game". Variety. Variety Media, LLC. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  18. ^ Peterson, Steve (7 July 2016). "SGN Talks About Acquiring TinyCo, Future Of Mobile Games Industy". A List Daily. Ayzenberg. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  19. ^ a b Spangler, Todd (22 September 2016). "SGN Changes Name to Jam City, Acquires Rights to Make 'Peanuts' Mobile Game". Variety. Variety Media, LLC. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  20. ^ a b Palmeri, Christopher (9 January 2017). "MySpace's Co-Founder Preps Second Act Jam City for Possible IPO". Bloomberg Markets. Bloomberg LP. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  21. ^ Booton, Jennifer (14 June 2013). "Brain Drain? Zynga Loses Top Talent to Optimistic Rival". Fox Business. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  22. ^ Spangler, Todd (December 12, 2017). "Harry Potter Role-Playing Game Set at Hogwarts on Tap for Spring 2018 Release". Variety. New York, NY. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  23. ^ Alexander, Julia (April 5, 2018). "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery RPG launches later this month, stars original cast". Polygon. New York, NY. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  24. ^ Jarvey, Natalie (April 5, 2018). "Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon to Reprise Roles for Harry Potter Mobile Game". The Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles, CA. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  25. ^ Bell, Crystal (April 5, 2018). "New Harry Potter Mobile Game Will Finally Give You The Hogwarts Experience". MTV.com. New York, NY. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  26. ^ Chan, Stephanie (April 26, 2018). "Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery tops Apple App Store charts a day after launch". VentureBeat. San Francisco, CA. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  27. ^ Lorenz, Taylor (December 7, 2014). "Facebook Says This Was The Number One Game On Facebook This Year". Business Insider. New York, NY. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  28. ^ Takahashi, Dean (May 24, 2017). "Jam City's Cookie Jam hits 100 million downloads as Cookie Jam Blast debuts". VentureBeat. San Francisco, CA. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  29. ^ Arrington, Michael (17 November 2010). "MindJolt Focuses On Monetization, Prepares To Invade iPad/iPhone". TechCrunch. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  30. ^ Ha, Anthony (18 December 2012). "SGN Makes Its Big Push For Cross-Platform, Mobile-Social Games With The Launch Of Its MasterKey Technology". TechCrunch. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  31. ^ Bae, Alex (14 October 2014). "SGN Teams With Fox Digital Entertainment The Book of Life: Sugar Smash". Tech Zulu. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  32. ^ Takahashi, Dean (7 October 2014). "SGN unveils official mobile game for The Book of Life animated film". Venture Beat. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  33. ^ Levy, Ari (15 December 2014). "Facebook's top game aims to sweeten up China". CNBC. CNBC LLC. Retrieved 20 January 2017.
  34. ^ Reim, Garrett (16 December 2014). "SGN launches Cookie Jam into China: it was not easy". Built in LA. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  35. ^ Zimmerman, Eilene (23 July 2015). "Netmarble Takes Stake in SGN, Extending Asia's Reach Into U.S. Mobile Games". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  36. ^ Ungerleider, Neal (23 July 2015). "Why This Mobile Game Company Raised $130 Million". Fast Company. Mansueto Ventures, LLC. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  37. ^ Johnson, Lauren (4 February 2016). "Snapchat Runs Its First App-Install Ad, and It's for Moblie Game Cookie Jam". Adweek. Adweek. Retrieved 20 January 2017.

External links[edit]