Questions, AnswersMention Mobile founder’s shot-in-the-dark e-mail to Mark Cuban results in billionaire’s backing. Monday, May 7, 2012
Ozonian and Jones come up with game concepts and have weekly meetings with Cuban to get his input.
In April, Mention Mobile announced a second investment of an undisclosed amount from Cuban, who said he’s excited by the company’s direction.
“Mention Mobile’s innovative minds and creative games is what initially attracted me and have kept me interested,” Cuban said in an e-mail to the Business Journal. “Their social games with original twists will continue their path to success.”
Those twists are under wraps as Mention Mobile preps for a slate of title releases this summer.
Mention Mobile now has a publishing deal with EA Mobile subsidiary Chillingo for soon-to-be-released word game Word Derby. Another deal is with Moonshark, the mobile division of Creative Artists Agency, for a celebrity face morphing app. The company is also developing a Mavericks social game for Cuban.
Mention Mobile was co-founded in 2010 by Ozonian and Jones. Ozonian had a background in social media management, and Jones had run his own mobile business and produced live sports event graphics for Fox, ESPN and CBS.
The company’s biggest competition is New York-based Omgpop. That mobile studio’s Draw Something title broke download records earlier this year by reaching 50 million downloads in the first 50 days of its release. Draw Something is an asynchronous, Pictionary-type game.
Mention Mobile’s Doodley, a social doodling contest, has been downloaded more than 100,000 times since its August launch.
Ozonian said Mention Mobile didn’t have the big budget to market the game, while Omgpop did. Zynga Inc.’s Words With Friends is the next biggest asynchronous game the company competes with.
“Asynchronous gaming is definitely the biggest trend in mobile gaming right now,” said Carlos Diaz, chief executive officer of Kwarter, a mobile gaming company focusing on live sports in San Francisco.
Ozonian thinks his proximity to the film community and the brand leverage of celebrities could make his company more attractive.
Patrick Sweeney, counsel and head of video game practice at Reed Smith in Century City, says the success of Mention Mobile’s games depends on how many fans they draw.
“Ultimately it’s going to boil down to how good their games are,” Sweeney said.