Andrew Bell, formerly of Warner Bros., Zynga, and LucasArts, has announced today that an influx of new financing has been acquired to make mobile games exclusively for Skillz, which most people know as the marketplace company that connects over 20,000 game makers and over 30 million players. As the CEO of Big Run Studios, Bell will leverage this new funding to create a cutting-edge studio dedicated to creating mobile games that are interactive and competitive for audiences that are typically underrepresented within the gaming community.
While players may not immediately recognize the name of Bell, they should no doubt be familiar with the games he has worked on. Early in his career Bell was involved in the production of FarmVille, Star Wars: Battlefront, and more recently, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. These are titles with significant heft to their names. At Zynga, FarmVille had 83 million monthly users at its peak, and at LucasArts, LEGO Star Wars and Lego Indiana Jones are classic titles that Bell produced directly.
At Warner Bros., the recent Harry Potter: Wizards Unite saw Bell handling over 100 developers in the games production. There is no doubt that Bell possess the industry experience to successfully navigate today’s highly competitive gaming market, especially within the mobile platform which is bursting at the seam with consumer options.
Skillz is already known for seeing capital investments in the mobile gaming space, which accounts for roughly 45% of the $150 billion gaming market and an audience of around 2.6 billion users around the world. Pitchbook data states that venture capitalists have invested no less than $3.3 billion into projects relating to esports since 2013. In the long term, Skillz provides game makers with the tools they need to succeed in the long run, including additional solutions for monetization that extends beyond ads and in-game purchases, which better assists in coordinating developer revenue with the player experience.
Speaking about the project, Bell states that,
“Our ultimate goal is to bring together players of all backgrounds through mobile gaming, the most accessible and affordable form of entertainment available for mass audiences worldwide. Modern game development requires monetization strategies that compliment player motivation. Skillz aligns revenue models with the player experience, so game makers like us can build successful businesses doing what we love. Our investors recognized the promising upside of taking an inclusive, audience-first approach to building games exclusively on the Skillz platform. Big Run is inspired by Skillz, which is driving the future of interactive entertainment by connecting millions of people through fair competition and a positive player experience”
Big Run Studios looks poised to excel within the mobile gaming market. Founded in May of this year, the studio is comprised of game industry veterans with over 100 years of combined experience. Combined with Skillz patented technology to host over 2 billion tournaments for 30 million mobile players worldwide, the overall combination of strengths between the two is impressive, and it is exciting to consider what lies ahead as esports continues to grow within the mobile gaming platform.