Investor interest in mobile gaming continues as Gamevice Inc., creator of a controller that snaps on a smartphone, announced today that it’s closed a $12.5 million Series A funding round.
Last year, mobile games generated $40.6 billion worldwide. People are playing games on small screens more than ever, with an uptick of 12 percent of time spent on iOS and 9 percent on Android. Despite the hours spent on mobile gaming, not a lot of people are beefing up their gaming experience with peripherals, according to a survey by market researcher IDC.
“So the bottom line is that 5.1 percent of all smartphone/tablet gamers in the U.S. in 3Q16 told us they, or another gamer in the household, had hooked their [main] mobile device up to ‘A physical gamepad or controller to play games [without relying on the touchscreen],'” said Lewis Ward, IDC’s research director. Translated to numbers, that’s about 4.1 million to 4.5 million players.
If the success of the Nintendo Switch is any indication, handheld gaming is still attractive to players. Gamevice is hoping its mobile controller will be the one to buck the trend, capturing an audience that is playing more mobile games.
The gamepad is available only for Apple products such as the iPhone and iPad, and it’s in 490 Apple stores around the world. While there are other controllers that also clamp to either side of a smartphone (such as the PhoneJoy Play), mobile gamepads more commonly provide a dock for the side of the phone. Not every game is compatible with the controller, but the company claims that there are around 1,000 games available, which it’s listed on their site as well as in their Gamevice app.
The round was led by TransLink Capital and California Technology Ventures (CTV), and other investors include BAM Ventures and TYLT Ventures. Kevin Chou of Kabam, a notable mobile games developer and publisher, has also joined as a board member, and David Jeon, previously a senior manager at Apple, has joined up as the head of product development.