NaturalMotion’s My Horse Crosses 5M Downloads, Grows SF Office by Poaching From W3i

NaturalMotion, a gaming company that makes use of special, proprietary technology to realistically animate humans and animals, said its sleeper hit My Horse has crossed 5 million downloads. This is on top of the half-million daily active users the company said it was seeing for its app just a few weeks ago.

My Horse is another contender in the animal-caretaking genre. But it’s quite different from its more social gaming-styled peers. Players take care of a single horse that’s very realistically animated, and train it compete in show jumping competitions. NaturalMotion also employs a virtual currency-oriented model by charging for items like special saddles to personalize the animal.

The company, which has offices in the U.K. and in San Francisco, also said that its beefing up its U.S. operations by hiring Nick Bhardwaj from W3i as its new vice president of user acquisition and monetization. Bhardwaj was a business development executive for the Minnesota-based mobile advertising network. Because W3i specializes in driving user acquisition for third-party developers, Bhardwaj is well-placed for being able to get customers cheaply through paid channels for NaturalMotion and then for understanding how to monetize and retain them.

NaturalMotion says it has seen 12 million downloads overall. The company, which has historically licensed out its 3D-animation technology to makers of console games like Grand Theft Auto 4, expanded recently into building its own mobile games. It built My Horse with the help of San Francisco-based studio MunkyFun.

NaturalMotion has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Balderton Capital and other investors and the company has more than 100 employees.