Mobile-social gaming powerhouse GREE 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.”
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 including free-to-play iOS title My Horse under the guidance of developer NaturalMotion and FPS Archetype.
“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 considered 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.
“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 and move 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 until GREE’s recent investment.