A true gamer at heart, Tom Murphy was a chess champion at the age of 6. He created Ireland’s most successful social media site in 2001 and when he sold Boards.ie in 2008 it had grown to over
relatively young market and this fuels the excitement of being able to influence it.” Both Karl and Tom agree that Gone Gaming isn’t your typical mobile company. You need a well built, desirable product but they are quick to stress that their ethos goes a little further than that. “Discoverability is a big challenge. There are great companies and brilliant games that go undiscovered for a host of reasons. We realize that our marketing strategy is as important as the game itself and we’ll try and give the game as much of a chance as possible.” Karl goes on to say that it’s not only
2 million unique Irish users per month.
he creation of Gone Gaming brought Tom together with Karl Hutson, a graduate of game design, with significant expertise in data analytics and experience with some gaming giants such as Paddy Power and Devil Fish Poker. Within months Gone Gaming has gone from concept to a company that has launched, The Jump: Escape the City, one of the most successful Irish debut mobile games, worked with Grammy award winning artists and collaborated with design talent that boast Disney, Dreamworks and 20th Century Fox on their portfolio. “I’ve played games all my life. I could play chess before I learnt to write and even the creation of Boards.ie sprung from its humble beginnings as a community of gamers. The move into games development seemed a natural progression for me”. Indeed Murphy has had software experience through his venture Spin Solutions and was always close to the gaming community through Boards.ie and the reach it created. The explosion of mobile gaming was always going to draw Tom’s attention. Mobile gaming, Murphy says, is where the focus is at the moment. “At this time mobile gaming is where the games industry is successful. Having access to millions of potential customers almost instantly brings huge opportunities. The potential I saw with social media I see with mobile gaming. Despite its undeniable success, it’s still a
about making a successful and fun game. The technology goes beyond the customer download. “We collect and analyze data that is retrieved from devices after each gaming session and use that data to deliver a better and more tuned experience for our customers. We believe that being able to shape the game around the data makes Gone Gaming unique in the marketplace and better positioned to provide titles that the customer will not only enjoy but will help create”. It is this connection to the customer that Karl and Tom have put to the forefront of what defines Gone Gaming. Karl puts it best when he says, “the explosion of mobile
platforms has transformed the way we live, no more so than the mobile commerce of having your very own shop in your pocket.” Games development is still a business and like all businesses you need to have a sound business model and a clear understanding of how to achieve it. For Gone Gaming one of the earliest calls for support was made to Enterprise Ireland. Successful applications for Enterprise Ireland’s Feasibility Study funding and later their Competitive Start Fund provided seed capital that would help provide the essential support necessary to get the first game off the ground. Murphy adds, “They were very positive towards us as a games company, even more so than had we been a regular software house. There is a great culture of like-minded games companies all of which help and collaborate with each other, all made possible through Enterprise Ireland. We believe that Ireland is one of the best places to develop games. The support we received from government agencies was a real plus and there is no doubt that universities are starting to produce the right people with the right skills. We outsourced some of the development process based on budgetary constraint but we can see the day where we are employing home grown talent across all the required skillsets”. Indeed, some of the outsourcing included Grammy award winning composer DJ Poet, famed for work with The Black Eyed Peas and others. Karl notes, “Music is a big part of The Jump. We were keen to have it part of the design process right from the start and his music compliments the gameplay perfectly.” Karl and Tom are clearly focused and seem to have come a long way in the past nine months. Now that they have had such a success with their first game they are keen to secure investment that will help them grow the business and grow their presence in the market. “We want to grow to a twelve person company by the end of 2014 allowing us to focus on multiple projects and give us the capacity to react quickly to a fast paced market. We want to forge alliances that can help position us as one of the main players in the mobile space.” Tom’s comments are ambitious but his recent successes are testament to someone who not only has drive and ability but a sense of what is possible and a mechanism to achieve it. Silicon Valley Global | 41
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