Launchpad to return for aspiring game developers

By Oliver Milman
Friday, 08 April 2011

Mobile entertainment developer Jumbuck is to launch a fresh round of its Launchpad start-up commercialisation program after unveiling the first project to have been developed through the scheme.


Jumbuck has rolled out My Level, a multi-player Facebook game which allows users to create their own retro video game level and share it with their friends.


My Level is the first application to benefit from Jumbuck’s Launchpad scheme, which selected Foolhardy Games, run by developer Clinton Shepherd, to create the game.


Shepherd received an initial $50,000, in return for a 50% stake, to partner with Jumbuck in October


David Gibbs, CEO of Jumbuck, says that Launchpad will return in “one or two months’ time” in order to seek out innovative game developers to invest in.


“We learned some lessons in the experience we’ve had with Clinton which we’ll take into the next round of Launchpad,” he tells StartupSmart. “It will be focused on high utility. We’ll look for a strong concept and the ability to tailor with our own communities, such as pets and sport and wellbeing.”


“We’ll probably tweak (the investment total). The $50,000 is the headline figure, but we are happy to pay more if needs be. We put $50,000 out there, but internally, these things ultimately take $100,000 to $200,000 to get out there.”


Gibbs adds: “More than 200 million users play games on Facebook each month, but this is just the starting point for MyLevel and we have no shortage of ideas as to what to do next.”


“The company recognised its appeal to the massive Facebook gaming world, as well as its utility in providing a foundation for introducing social gaming to existing and emerging Jumbuck communities.”


Gibbs says that the mobile games industry still has some way to progress in Australia.


“I went to the US and I was struck by how easy it was to create a game on the iPhone and get it up and running,” he says. “A lot were one-shot wonders and very few manage to make themselves into a real business like Zynga.”


“I saw a few Australian developers out there – in fact, there were probably more Australians in Silicon Valley playing with this platform than in Australia.”

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