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10Apr/12

Machine Zone Aims to Bring its Mobile MMOs to Android and Windows Phone

By Regina Leuwer

Mobile developer Addmired recently announced $8 million in Series B funding from Menlo Ventures, along with a name change to Machine Zone. We reached out to them to learn about the story behind the new name – and their plans for spending the newly raised money.

Addmired, launched in 2008 with Y Combinator funds, was one of the first developers to release free-to-play iOS games such as iMob 2, Original Gangstaz, and Global War. These titles managed to attract a loyal and highly-engaged following, making Addmired one of only two companies that have three games among the 50 top grossing games on the App Store. The name Addmired dated back to the company’s origin as a creator of a dating app and didn’t really fit a developer of mobile MMOs – so they used the opportunity of a new funding round to rebrand. “We had to do it now,” CEO Gabriel Leydon tells us. Machine Zone was picked as the new name because it evokes the sense of ‘getting in the zone’ while gaming.

The Series B funding is primarily geared towards hiring new developers to Machine Zone’s team of currently 70, and to enable the company to expand to other platforms, namely Android and Windows Mobile, within the next few months. “We build games around how people use their phones which is primarily for human-to-human interaction and our technology is built around this concept,” Leydon says. An expansion to Facebook or the browser is not planned, one reason being that native apps allow the use of push notifications to engage users (potentially) 24/7 with a game.

Machine Zone’s best performing title Original Gangstaz combines asynchronous elements with real-time action and features a live chat with up to 100.000 concurrent users, which Leydon calls the “best chat system ever”. He says that synchronous play lets players spend more time in their game sessions whereas asynchronous features work best for user retention. Machine Zone’s games have been growing primarily through their engaged community and word of mouth effects. Going forward, the Palo Alto-based company aims to provide long-lasting mobile games with three to five-plus years lifespan.

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