Rumble game start-up scores $15 million in funding


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Rumble, a newly formed online gaming company with a roster of industry veterans, has shaken $15 million in funding from two of Silicon Valley’s bigger money trees -- Google Ventures and Khosla Ventures.

What Google and Khosla seem to be betting on is not Rumble’s games; the company hasn’t published any. Instead, they’re putting their money on Rumble’s business strategy and its high-wattage management team.


First, the strategy: Rumble aims to become a publisher for the next generation of online games -- titles that are easy to jump into, have high-quality graphics and are free to play, but supported by sales of virtual goods or enhanced game features. Although the Redwood City, Calif., company will develop some of its own titles, its primary goal is to help independent publishers bring their games to market.

That’s been a good recipe for Chillingo and Ngmoco, two companies that publish mobile games and were sold a year ago for generous sums. Ngmoco, known for the games Godfinger and We Rule, went to Japanese social networking company DeNA for $400 million in October 2010. That same month, Chillingo, which publishes Angry Birds and Cut the Rope, was snapped up by Electronic Arts Inc. for just under $20 million.

Second, the management team: Greg Richardson, Rumble’s chief executive, was head of BioWare/Pandemic, a game development studio that was sold to EA for $860 million in 2007. John Yoo, Rumble’s design director, worked on a long list of online games, including CityVille, World of Warcraft, City of Heroes and Star Trek Online. Rumble’s general manager of games, Mark Spenner, hails from EA, where he was vice president of social games. And Rumble co-founder David O’Connor was EA’s chief technology officer.

The proof in Rumble’s pudding will presumably reveal itself next year, when it plans to release its first title, an online game targeted at men 18 to 35. Richardson declined to reveal further details of the game.

‘In the entertainment industry, quality is the only business plan that matters in the long run,’ Richardson said. ‘That embodies who we are.’



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-- Alex Pham