After market close today, Zynga announced that it was acquiring Benchmark portfolio company NaturalMotion for $527MM in cash and stock.
The World Cup draw is set and man, it's a tough one for the US men's national team. And for England and Italy and Uruguay. And for Spain and Netherlands and Chile. Like we expected, the draw produced several very difficult groups.
On December 6, in Salvador, Brazil, FIFA will stage the massive dog and pony show known as the World Cup draw, setting the field for next summer’s tournament. ... You can bet that there will be representatives from the football associations of at least a dozen countries holding their heads in disbelief when the dust settles and the names are all drawn December 6th.
Cyanogen, Inc. has announced its $7MM Series A financing, led by Benchmark.
Kim-Mai Cutler wrote an interesting piece in Techcrunch this week about venture financing and the games business. Greatly simplified, her main thesis is that venture capital may not be the best vehicle for financing video game companies. In general, I agree with her – for the vast majority of game companies. But not all games companies.
It is interesting to think about EA’s assets and the current state of the digital game economy in light of the challenges a new leader at EA might face.
The lack of really important football analytics contributions on display at SSAC '13, particularly compared to the great leaps forward being made in basketball, makes me wonder. Is there less here than meets the eye?
I love this conference (for my take on last year's SSAC, click here). I have zero professional connection to the world of sports business or analytics, and I rarely discover anything investable here, but I still find this two-day affair one of the most thought provoking and fascinating on my calendar.
The always-insightful Dean Takahashi wrote a long piece on The DeanBeat yesterday about the fall of OnLive. As the Series A investor in one of OnLive’s rivals, Gaikai, I was a pretty active observer of OnLive and of the cloud gaming market generally. I think Dean provides a thorough – if somewhat gentle – overview of the facts of OnLive’s collapse and his piece is totally worth reading.
Writing is so important that I thought it deserved its own post. Unfortunately, most writers underestimate the importance of tools and workflow, thinking (with apologies to Truman Capote’s famous quip about Jack Kerouac) that typing is the same as a writing.
For the launch of my new blog design, I am doing a series of posts on workflows. The first will be about my personal, everyday workflow, the way I use tools to try to get things done. The second will be about my writing workflow. The third is about my digital audio workflow, both recording and listening.
This is going to be a massive nerd-fest, so if you are not in the mood for a long read about personal productivity software, stop now ... hopefully, if you choose to read on, you’ll find one or two interesting things in the posts that follow.
Today Sony announced an agreement to acquire Benchmark portfolio company Gaikai for $380MM in cash. In just four years, Gaikai built a revolutionary cloud technology platform for gaming. To see console-quality games streamed from the cloud to browsers, tablets and TV is truly magical.
Today Benchmark announced an $11MM investment in NaturalMotion, a publisher of 3D games for mobile devices. I am joining NaturalMotion's board of directors. Many people in the packaged-goods games business know NaturalMotion from their Euphoria and Morpheme 3D animation engines, which have been used in high-end console games to produce incredibly realistic character animation (if you've played Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption, for example, you've seen this in action).
Ok, you can't deny this has been a very entertaining tournament so far. All of the final games of the group stage had stakes, and every pair of final matches in the groups had real drama. There was even some decent football.
If you've played Journey from Jenova Chen's thatgamecompany (TGC) you know you have experienced something strange and magical, something that feels totally unique and yet fun and full of the pleasures that games can deliver (and if you haven't played it, and you own a PS3, stop reading this post and go download it). If you've also played Flower and Flow, you know that Jenova is one of the most ambitious and creative forces in games.
The other day, a friend sent me an introduction to a game company with a note saying, in effect, "I thought you might be interested in this since you invest in content."
The fascinating MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference which took place in Boston this weekend (and which I had the privilege to attend) is known affectionately by its attendees as "Dork-palooza" -- a celebration of the number crunchers and obsessive compulsive fans of sports statistics. Panelists, researchers, and attendees discussed a wide variety of topics with a very ambitious goal: to change the way we watch and measure team, individual, and business performance in sport.
Benchmark Capital has announced an investment in Meteor Entertainment, the publishing company that will bring the amazing mech shooter Hawken to market, together with Adhesive Studios, later this year.
As was widely reported yesterday, the Chinese internet giant Tencent has agreed to acquire a majority of the capital stock of Los Angeles-based Riot Games, a Benchmark portfolio company. The transaction is a huge validation of Riot's meteoric rise to prominence in the online game business. CEO Brandon Beck, his co-founder Marc Merrill and the team at Riot have executed their business plan brilliantly, and the Tencent transaction now gives them a global platform to continue to disrupt the video game business for years to come. Congratulations!