The Los Angeles-based Jam City has now acquired three game assets this year — including Disney’s Emoji Blitz mobile game studio in Glendale, California, and Brainz in Bogotá, Colombia. These deals could potentially help shore the company’s user base and finances in advance of a rumored initial public offering.
The Uken Games Bingo Pop team will add dozens of people to Jam City’s previous 650-plus employee base. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Uken Games CEO Chris Ye said in an email that 42 team members will join Jam City, but Uken Games will still have 68 people working on other games that Jam City did not purchase.
“We are really excited to expand our operations to Toronto,” said Jam City president Josh Yguado in an interview with GamesBeat. “It’s a super-exciting, fast-growing tech market. And the team is one of the best we’ve worked with.”
Jam City said it recognizes that Canada is becoming a haven for top game developers, engineers, designers, and artists, given its good universities, universal health care, (mostly) affordable housing, and diverse communities. More than 35,000 students are enrolled in digital gaming related programs across the Toronto and Ontario regions.
“We are incredibly proud of what the Bingo Pop team has accomplished in creating a leader in the mobile bingo game category. We’re confident that Jam City will be a great home for Bingo Pop and the talented team behind the game in its next phase of growth,” said Ye in a statement. “We’re confident that Jam City will be a great home for Bingo Pop and the talented team behind the game in its next phase of growth. Following this deal,We are excited to focus on the continued success of our iconic trivia titles and introduce brand new game franchises to players around the world. We are fully committed to continue hiring and investing in Toronto as a global hub for gaming.”
Launched in 2012, Bingo Pop has consistently been one of the top bingo mobile games worldwide. The game is a free, classic bingo game mixed with large jackpots, fast action, power-ups and other features including characters and social features. Bingo Pop is available worldwide on the App Store and Google Play. Uken Games also makes the trivia games Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? and Jeopardy! World Tour.
“Bingo pop has a lot of potential,” Yguado said. “It is always one of the top bingo titles, and the live ops are among the best in the industry.”
Yguado said that the game stands at the intersection of puzzle and social casino genres. The latter is a new genre for Jam City.
“I would not say we are actively working to get into social casino,” he said. “It was an attraction to the team.”
To date, Jam City has published 13 games, including its own branded games such as Cookie Jam and six licensed games based on Hollywood properties. Jam City’s licensed games, besides Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Family Guy: AFMG, Family Guy: Quest for Stuff, Marvel Avengers Academy, Book of Life: Sugar Smash, and Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow.
“Consolidation has always been a good part of our strategy,” Yguado said. “There’s a lot of value in being an at-scale company in user acquisition, game services, and other areas. Smaller to midsize companies see the benefit of being part of a large publisher.”
Update 7:18 a.m. Pacific 11/28/18: Uken noted that Jam City only purchased the game, not the whole company.