At just over 2 years old, a formerly indie mobile game publisher is rocketing to the top of its industry, with one of its founders attributing LA-based Rogue Games’ success to its origins in KC.
“We take pride that our Kansas City roots have given us an edge in the industry, to be honest with you,” said Eric Williams. “We’re definitely more hungry than most. We tend to push the envelope a little harder than most guys out on the market.”
Williams co-founded Rogue Games, Inc. with Mike DeLaet and Matt Casamassina. The startup aims to bring mobile game developers’ products to market in the casual and mid-core genres, assisting with everything from platform management to monetization and even content/cultural sensitivities, Williams said.
Rogue’s recent industry wave-making centers around its $1.25 million seed financing round in March, led by Grishin Robotics.
Click here for a look at Rogue’s services and game portfolio.
True to the company founders’ ideals of agility and grind, the game publisher is in the midst of preparatory expansion for greater scaling soon to come. The goal: be the best gun in a Wild West industry.
“We are going to start our [Series] A funding round within the next six months — so we are moving very fast,” Williams said. “This round was for us to scale the company, and add some key employees, but the next round is going to be more geared toward continuing to grow the company from an employee perspective, and more — we want to find some interesting investments we can make, whether it’s potential studios or picking up entire games.”
The story of Rogue’s current potential for industry leadership started in 2017 as another small game operation with an interesting blend of experience, connections, and tenacity, Williams explained.
“Two years ago, we were still trying to understand what our business model would be, what was going to work,” he said. “The great thing about us is we’re very agile, and very open to making changes in the company as needed to make sure we we’re going to be successful.”
Leveraging Williams’ and DeLaet’s extensive history in 2000’s mobile app and content development — both men launched their careers at Sprint — the Rogue team went on to sign more than 40 mobile games in the second year of their company’s life, compared to the industry standard of five per year.
“In all our years of experience, we’ve really seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of publishing,” Williams said. “We really touched every aspect of it already through the years — everything from the marketing side, the business side, working with the platforms, you name it.”
That experience is what continues to set Rogue apart from other publishing outfits — and land them funding, he said.
“There is a handful of decent publishers in mobile games, but there are a lot of publishers out there who don’t come from real publishing backgrounds,” Williams said. “A lot of these guys tend to be kind of old studio guys or had other roles in the game industry. We said, ‘When we put together this company, let’s put our superpowers together and really provide a service that’s meaningful for the little guys.’”
With the success and expansion of Rogue, Williams — who retains his home base in Kansas City — said he’d love to see his home town have a slice of the mobile gaming pie.
“Me being here in Kansas City and Mike being at Kansas City guy, we are very partial to our business here,” he said. “We would definitely like to give people the opportunity here to be a part of something new in Kansas City, something that doesn’t seem to be a big presence yet: mobile gaming.”
Click here for a primer on how series funding works.