Interview: Moledina on His Move From EA to Funzio as VP of Business Development

Funzio, which is behind the hit Crime City on iOS, just grabbed Jamil Moledina from Electronic Arts to be its vice president of business development. Moledina worked on EA Partners where he signed up indie game developers for marketing and distribution deals.

Funzio is coming off a strong quarter, where it was able to parlay its Crime City brand onto iOS and maintain it as a Top 25 grossing game on the platform in the U.S. The title is tapering off on the Facebook platform though, with about 1.6 million monthly active users down from a peak in May at around 7.5 million monthly actives. 

We caught up with Moledina briefly on his move:

How long was this move in the making for? Actually, this was several months in the making. I was asked to speak about the future of games at a conference several months back and one of the things the moderator asked me to come up with was a concrete prediction about the future of the gaming industry. It gave me pause to think about who is on track to deliver this future.

Funzio is one of the few companies that has the vision for and has actually delivered a cross-platform game. While Microsoft, Zynga, EA and other large companies have the power to do this, Funzio was at the top of my list for small startups that can actually execute on this.

Crime City was a hugely influential title and when that game came out, I wanted to get to know these guys. We had an organizational conversation and the role kind of emerged from there.

What will you end up doing there? It’s primarily managing platform relationships. I’ll be sitting on the executive team and helping direct strategy for the company. But it’s a startup, so I’ll be rolling up my sleeves and doing some marketing and communications too.

What you say you’ll manage platform relationships, does that mean you’ll be doing what other mid-size developers have been doing in terms of working with or funding third-party developers? This is more about relationships with the platform, not necessarily becoming a platform.

You mean like Facebook, iOS and Android? Yes. One of the things that’s important to us as a company is ensuring that our titles have visibility, a high-level of promotion and familiarity with an audience when they come out.

But you wouldn’t rule out working with third-party developers in the future like you did at EA? We’re very laser-focused on our own games and this specific approach as the company grows. But as the company becomes more successful, it would be foolish to rule out any strategic direction.

How would you distinguish Funzio culturally from many of the other freemium developers building RPGs? At Funzio, we feel there’s an opportunity to build more sophisticated, triple-A game experiences. And that’s relatively rare if you look at the cross-section of this free-to-play space. Crime City was the first graphically-driven gangster game. Crime City got both the single-player campaign and player-versus-player campaign experiences right. It’s balanced and successful on every platform. I’ve had a chance to see the roadmap and these guys are literally pioneers.

What kind of titles are coming down the pipeline? More male-oriented titles? Or will we see more casual concepts? It’s literally premature about me to talk about content. I’m still new here, but we’ll reach out when we’re ready.