Red Robot dips toes into publishing to expand its R2 platform


By Kathleen De Vere Comment

Red Robot Labs, the company behind the top grossing location-based game Life is Crime, announced today it will publish three new-location based games made by third party developers.

The new games will be developed by ShortRound, 50 Cubes and Box of Robots, and will all use the R2 Engine and platform, Red Robot’s in-house developed, proprietary location-based game technology. In addition, Red Robot’s own Supermono Studios and investment partner Next Media are also working on games using the technology. All five games are scheduled for release by the end of the year.

While the deals with ShortRound, 50 Cubes and Box of Robots are all publishing deals that grant the companies access to the R2 platform, and come with technical help, product development support, funding and revenue share arrangements, Red Robot’s co-founder Pete Hawley explains the move is more about furthering R2 as a platform than jumping into the mobile publishing business.

“This isn’t some sort of fund we’ve set up where we put some of the Series A aside and we’re trying to reach out to any and all comers,” he says, telling us part of the reason Red Robot took such a significant initial investment from Benchmark Capital was to ensure that it could expand the underlying technology required for location-based gameplay, not just release first-party games.

“We’ve got a very selective group that’s really passionate about location,” he adds. “It’s not some sort of carpet bomb to just trying and find content.”

As part of today’s announcement, Red Robot has also committed more than $2 million to further the development of location-based games on its R2 platform.

“I think the underlying theme with all of the developers we’re working with is that it similar to the PlayStation mentality,” adds co-founder and CEO Mike Ouye. “Sony has always made its own games, but it also went to third parties to produce great content. We’ve worked with all these guys before, and they’re all very bullish on mobile and location.”

Red Robot has raised more than $15.5 million in venture funding from Benchmark Capital, Shasta Ventures, Rick Thompson, Chamath Palihapitiya and Taiwan’s Next Media. Unlike most other location-based games, Red Robot’s flagship game, Life Is Crime, has been a big success, particularly on Android. The company plans to preview its next game at this year’s upcoming consumer-focused gaming convention PAX Prime.