Two new ex-Ensemble studios form: BonusXP and PeopleFun. Word Chums expected as launch title (Part 1)
VentureBeat has reported this week on two new studios forming from Ensemble Studios veterans. The first studio to be announced was “PeopleFun” a new venture from one of the key founders and CEO of Ensemble Studios, Tony Goodman. The other announcement was also from one of Ensemble’s long serving employees, Dave Pottinger who lifted the lid off his new studio “BonusXP”. These new studios are both small studios focussing on mobile gaming and join the line of many other ex Ensemble formed studios to enter the mobile market including the very successful “NewToy” and “Bonfire Studios” who were acquired by Zynga. So lets take a look at these exciting new announcements in more detail!
We’ll take PeopleFun first as they were the first of the new studios to be announced this week. This studio will be headed by ex Ensemble CEO Tony Goodman. Tony will be joined by John Boog-Scott, co-founder of Ensemble Studios and Angelo Laudon, employee number one at Ensemble Studios and lead programmer on the Age of Empires engine. The key focus of this new studio will be mobile games.
“The explosion of mobile platforms including iOS and Android is amazing, and the market that has opened up for game creators is absolutely massive,”
Says Tony Goodman in the PeopleFun press release.
“We watched the space for a while and then it hit a point where I said, we have to get into this market. From that point, we assembled a team of some of the best people in the industry and just a few short months later, we got the studio into full production of our first title.”
It seems that PeopleFun have been working on their first title already, perhaps for some time. Robot Entertainment’s management was reshuffled sometime in around August 2010 it is believed. It was at this point that Tony Goodman became a director at Robot and Patrick Hudson took the reins as CEO. In any event, Tony still remains a director at Robot Entertainment following this announcement, presumably in an advisory role.
In terms of the type of mobile games that PeopleFun is looking to target, in an interview with VentureBeat, Tony is somewhat specific on the type of games they are looking to pursue.
“We’d like to create character-driven games, like the Nintendo games that we grew up with”. “We never indulged our childish desires with Age of Empires.”
This combined with the preview image on their upcoming website may or may not give some clues to what they might be upto. It looks like childish characters could well be on the menu!
Remember ES highly suspects the first title from PeopleFun will be a word game called “Word Chums”. How similar this will be to games like Words or Hanging with Friends is unknown. However the title is certain to feature cartoony characters called “Chums” which may subsequently be used in other games.
There is currently no timescale when we can expect to here more about PeopleFun’s first title be it “Word Chums” or otherwise although the VentureBeat interview and press release does indicate the first title is already in beta and that its release is expected in 2012. This may turn into a public beta in due course, Remember ES will be keeping you updated on any developments.
PeopleFun will definitely be a studio to keep a good watch on – Tony Goodman has previously founded some incredibly successful studios with Ensemble and Robot, he is sure to achieve similar success with his new venture. We look forward to reporting more as more information is revealed on their upcoming mobile title! The full press release of this announcement can be found below.
Coming up in part 2…
In part 2 we’ll be dissecting BonusXP, the other new studio to be announced this week. Stay tuned!
PeopleFun press release:
RICHARDSON, Texas – July 17, 2012 - PeopleFun, a new game company focused on high-quality games for the mobile space and other emerging platforms, was announced today. After founding three previous companies, Ensemble Corporation, Ensemble Studios and Robot Entertainment, and participating in two high-profile exits, Tony Goodman, PeopleFun’s CEO is taking the covers off of the company that he has been quietly working on in the Dallas area since late last year. Known for creating, growing and managing world-class development teams, Goodman is announcing the new venture because the team’s first title is about to hit beta.
“The explosion of mobile platforms including iOS and Android is amazing, and the market that has opened up for game creators is absolutely massive,” said Tony Goodman, CEO of PeopleFun. “We watched the space for a while and then it hit a point where I said, we have to get into this market. From that point, we assembled a team of some of the best people in the industry and just a few short months later, we got the studio into full production of our first title.”
Other key members of the team include John Boog-Scott, co-founder of Ensemble Corporation and Ensemble Studios, Angelo Laudon, employee number one at Ensemble Studios and lead programmer on the Age of Empires engine, and Leon Campise, serial entrepreneur in the technology space. With proven skills on multiple platforms including mobile, the PeopleFun team is poised to deliver breakout titles for the core and mass-market audience.
Goodman continued, “We’ve got our first title almost to the beta stage already which is an accomplishment just keeping the lid on it this long.
This is a departure from the games we made at Ensemble and Robot in terms of scope and genre, but I think our games will appeal to the gamer inside of all of us and hope to play with our friends in the community in the coming weeks.”
PeopleFun is developing games that deliver multiple levels of entertainment.
Much like great movies which appeal to the mass audience, but also feature another level of entertainment for those that seek deeper engagement, PeopleFun is crafting its games with a multi-tier audience in mind.
Players interested in getting into the beta for PeopleFun’s games can express their interest by Liking PeopleFun on Facebook at:
PeopleFun was founded in Dallas Texas in late 2011 by serial entrepreneur and games industry visionary Tony Goodman and a team of highly skilled and respected game creators. The company was formed to create and publish games that offer players compelling characters and worlds that offer new gameplay experiences that are just plain fun. PeopleFun is actively growing as it ramps up to release its first titles in 2012. For more information, please
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