Mobile-social gaming powerhouse GREE recently announced on Dec. 6 that it invested $3 million in independent mobile game studio MunkyFun, a partnership, MunkyFun believes, that aligns with the direction both the companies plan to pursue.
“MunkyFun is about making fun above all else and connecting people,” said Nick Pavis, CEO and co-founder of MunkyFun. “We see that connecting people through games is where things are going and this is where GREE has made a lot of success in Japan and foreign territories. We are very much in alignment with where things are going.”
MunkyFun, which was founded in 2008 by a group of former LucasArts developers that worked on Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, had developed notable titles for MunkyFun so far including free-to-play iOS title My Horse under the guidance of developer NaturalMotion, who’s known for CSR Racing, and FPS Archetype for iOS.
“Back in 2008, we decided we wanted to do something a little bit more interesting than ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Indiana Jones’ repeatedly,” Pavis said.
Pavis told Inside Mobile Apps that although the indie developer consider multiple companies to partner with, GREE stood out to MunkyFun the most. The Tokyo-headquartered company is moving toward building more technologically advanced games, he added, which aligns with MunkyFun’s plans as well. GREE, who’ve been in talks with MunkyFun for quite some time, will also bring its expertise in user acquisition, marketing and monetization to MunkyFun.
“Another thing that GREE brings to the table for a small developer like ourselves is cash-flow,” Pavis said. “This investment is allowing us to expand in line with the industry. The industry is exploding and there’s just a wealth of opportunity. It’s moving quite fast. It’s good to get an injection of cash to help us expand at the rate that we need to in order to take full advantage of this growth in this industry at this time.”
MunkyFun also plans to expand its team out in which its actively looking for a 2D/UI artist, analytics/data jockeys and a senior game designer. The company is also moving its office to a former Ghirardelli Chocolate factory at Jackson Square in San Francisco.
The studio, which has 15 to 20 million total game downloads to date, plans to launch a couple of new games in early Q1 2013 on GREE’s platform.
MunkyFun has been independently and privately funded company up to this point until GREE’s recent investment.