With backing from Austin Ventures, DeWolfe, along with three other former MySpace executives Colin Digiaro and Aber Whitcomb, have acquired San Francisco-based social gaming platform MindJolt, establishing themselves as the studio’s new heads and announcing plans to expand the platform’s online footprint.
MindJolt provides access to around 1,300 games from over 1,000 developers on the Web and distributes them through more than 20 million active users on Facebook, MindJolt.com, MySpace, and other social sites, according to the statement.
The firm’s new owners unfolded three initiatives configured to extend MindJolt’s online footprint: increasing game monetization through brand partnerships and virtual goods, extending MindJolt to “all relevant websites” and smartphones, and working closer with developers to create tools for their single- and multiplayer social games.
With MindJolt, DeWolfe is attempting to capitalize on the increasing number of people who play games on Palo Alto, California-based Facebook. Zynga Game Network Inc., the largest developer of games on Facebook, is worth $2.61 billion, according to SharesPost Venture-Backed Index, which monitors trading of shares in private companies.
Social games generate income by selling items that let users advance, such as a virtual tractor in Zynga’s “FarmVille.” Electronic Arts Inc. acquired the social game company Playfish for as much as $400 million in November.
DeWolfe, who resigned as CEO from MySpace last April as parent company News Corp. introduced new administration, will serve as CEO for MindJolt. Digiaro and Whitcomb will take on the roles of chief operating officer and chief technology officer, respectively.
MindJolt founder Richard Fields will continue at the company as head of product strategy. Josh Yguado, whose previous roles include VP of Business Development of Fox Networks and strategic planner at MTV Networks/Nickelodeon, will act as senior vice president of Business and Corporate Development at the studio.
“MindJolt has quickly become an ‘on climb’ over the Internet for the world’s independent game developers,” says DeWolfe. “We are building out the company to become the next generation platform for game developers.”
He adds, “Our goal is to make it even easier for developers to get their games noticed and make more money from their work. At the same time we will deliver the most social and viral gaming experiences to our millions of users everywhere.”
Austin Ventures executives Chris Pacitti and Tom Ball will join Platform G’s board and the latter company will be renamed MindJolt. The MindJolt team says the company will increase monetization through brand partnerships and the sale of virtual goods.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. DeWolfe, who will be chief executive, left MySpace in April, about four years after selling the social network to News Corp. as part of a deal worth $580 million.