Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) three former developers have gathered $2.5 million to setup a new gaming studio, JuiceBox Games, helped by the release of their first gaming title HonorBound, says a report from Tech Crunch. The new title has already been downloaded 3 million times, and is ranked 94 on the back of top grossing apps with a daily revenue expectation of $14,726 and 2,261 daily downloads, according to ThinkGaming.
Investors already interested
Considering the success of the game, top venture capital investors like Initial Capital, General Catalyst, Index Ventures, and Maveron, and individual investors like Zynga founding team member Scott Dale and former Electronic Arts chief executive John Riccitiello are already taking interest in the startup.
Michael Martinez, the JuiceBox Games chief executive and founder worked with Zynga as a senior product manager, heading the Zynga Poker and FarmVille franchisee and was one the first employees to work on the Farmville 2. With him, two other veterans of Zynga Jason McGuirk, the chief technology officer and creative director Zak Pytlak have, also, joined JuiceBox.
“If there was a team that people should invest in or place a bet on it would be us,” says Martinez.
Many investment firms have built their fortune on the gaming market. Though Martinez is still learning to raise funds, one of their investors, Index Venture already achieved big gains with Supercell and King. According to Martinez, gaming industry is a hits driven business.
Applying lessons learned at Zynga
JuiceBox has taken its inspiration from Asian card-based games like Pokemon and the worldwide popular series the Games of Thrones. The company noted that it had developed more than 500 character art-pieces in its in-house studio to give more animated feel to the game specifically for the company’s target audience of mid-core gamers. Often investors are reluctant to invest in gaming companies due to excessive availability of the games on Android, Amazon and iOS.
The game from the former Zynga developers is free to play, but the company has devised ways to separate players from their cash. Instead of capturing heroes or buying experience, gamers are allowed to buy heroes in the game. According to Martinez, this monetization is an extension of lessons learned at Zynga.
“Our team grew up together making social games at Zynga. We understand how to apply the freemium model, and are applying it to these new games that we love to play.”