Carlsbad-based Redemption Games, a mobile app game developer, received a $5 million investment from Supercell, one of the world’s biggest mobile gaming companies. Courtesy photo
Carlsbad Community

Indie game company gets $5M investment

Even without a product on the market, one local company is making waves in its industry.

Redemption Games, a mobile app game company, was recently the beneficiary of a $5 million investment from Supercell, the giant in mobile app games. Supercell has created hits such as Clash of Clans and Boom Beach, two of the most popular mobile app games ever.

The games are played on mobile phones and tablets.

Michael Witz, 46, co-founder of Redemption Games, said his company is currently developing two games, but the investment is a vote of confidence in the industry. He said one game, in the puzzle category, has been in development for nearly three years and he hopes to bring it to market soon.

Adding to the buzz, Redemption Games is the first-ever U.S.-based games company to receive an investment from Supercell, Witz said. Supercell has only invested in five companies worldwide.

“Supercell was able to see the one game we built … and understand the caliber of people we have over here,” Witz said. “Supercell makes bets on people and teams. They felt we had a great team and passion for creating games. In our industry, they are on a whole other level than anyone else. It’s a huge endorsement.”

Like millions of kids in the late 1970s and 1980s, Witz was consumed by video games, starting with the Atari 2600, the platform bringing video games into the home and giving popular appeal to classics such as Pac Man, Asteroids and Space Invaders.

Witz started making games 10 years ago and he and Daniel Lin, 43, landed a success with Cookie Jam in 2014.

The two had formed Mob Science in 2008, focusing on games on Facebook, and then sold the company to SGN in 2013. After two years, Witz and Lin started Redemption Games in Carlsbad.

Witz and Lin had also entered into a partnership with Scopely to develop two games, but the deal fell through and each company kept one game.

Regardless, Witz and Lin are focused on making a quality product rather than churn out lesser games.

“Making games is a lot harder than playing games,” Witz said. “There’s a lot of characteristics about it. The primary one is it’s a hits-driven business. It’s not like there is some exact formula to make a hit.”

As for the Supercell deal, Witz said Redemption Games still maintains control of its design, marketing and launch of its games. Supercell, based in Finland, will provide support if needed, but more importantly, provides credibility and wisdom navigating the competitive industry.

Redemption Games isn’t without talent, even though it has yet to launch a game, Witz said. It is slowly building its team and making sure its game has the right feel, is ready and not rushed.

Still, the success of a game depends on many factors, most of which Witz and Lin cannot control. As technology advances, so does the pace of which games get to market.

Witz said now it is between one to two years to develop and bring an app to market, which is much faster than even three years ago.

“Motivation for us stems from the craftsmanship of creating a great product,” Lin, told Venture Beat, a tech magazine, earlier this month. “As I’ve told everyone who joins our team, the only promise we make, is that we are only going to ship a game we are proud to put our name on. This means we’re ridiculously stubborn and won’t give up on even the smallest feature until we nail it.”

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