Bionic Panda Builds A Social Gaming Business On Android, Raises Funding From Top Investors
If you?re trying to build a mobile game for the hardcore crowd, you?re going to want things like at least moderately elaborate graphics? you?ll probably choose to build on iOS first. But if you?re trying to build a casual-style game that anyone can play easily, that reaches as many people as possible, Android is looking better and better.
That?s at least the thesis behind Bionic Panda, the Android-focused gaming company from veteran entrepreneur Charles Hudson. The company is today announcing some growth numbers and a founding round ? in other words, its strategy seems to be working out so far.
Its first game, Aqua Pets, will be familiar to anyone who has played the many popular aquarium care titles on Facebook over the years. You feed fish, buy pretty new ones, clean your aquarium, etc. Since launching early last year, the title has managed to get 3 million downloads on Android, and is one of the platform?s top 100 grossing apps. The company, meanwhile, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Norwest Venture Partners, Google Ventures, 500 Startups, and angels Craig Sherman and Kal Vepuri, as well as from SoftTech VC, where Hudson is a Venture Partner.
?We?re not doing the Kabam/Kixeye thing,? Hudson explains, contrasting Bionic Panda?s approach to building social games with the action and violence-themed RPGs and simulations those developers build for hardcore gamers on Facebook. Instead, he says, ?we?re focused on casual. The nice thing is that these games tend to have big mass market hits ? which gives you the ability to benefit from volume and scale on the Android platform.?
What he means is that the Android operating system now has the most market share of any OS in the US, with the same trend happening around the world. Even if it offers fewer development possibilities, it offers potentially bigger market opportunities.
A big existing issue, of course, is payments. Similar to other free-to-play social games, Aqua Pets relies on users getting hooked (har) on the