MindJolt, the gaming company led by MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe, recently announced that it’s changing its name to the Social Gaming Network. DeWolfe spoke to me earlier this week about the name change, and about his plans for the coming year.
The new company name may sound familiar, because MindJolt actually acquired SGN last year. (SGN founder Shervin Pishevar is now a managing director at Menlo Ventures.) DeWolfe says the SGN name is a better reflection of what the company is doing.
After all, MindJolt/SGN has now released a number of successful mobile and social games, such as Jewels of the Amazon and Bubble Atlantis. MindJolt, meanwhile, was just the first acquisition in DeWolfe’s strategy to “roll up” a number of gaming companies, and the MindJolt arcade site now accounts for only 25 percent of the company’s revenue.
That’s also reflective of a larger shift in the company’s business, DeWolfe says. In its early days, the company made 95 percent of its revenue from advertising. However, like most social games companies, it decided to invest into building a virtual goods model, and those goods now make up more than half of SGN’s revenue.
This year, SGN’s plans to release 11 new social games, all built using the company’s new technology for cross-platform development. DeWolfe says SGN can now achieve the coveted goal of being able to “develop once and publish anywhere.” It can build a game for Facebook, then create versions for iOS, Android, and the Web with some minor alternations, rather than rewriting it froms scratch. (Not every SGN game will be converted to every platform, but many will.) DeWolfe says that HTML5 will probably fill this role eventually, but for now it’s too limited, and he says there will probably be other gaming companies developing similar technologies.
“This year should really be the year of convergence,” he says.
On the financial side, DeWolfe says he wants to develop more games internally, and as a result he has his eyes on some game studios. “Expect some announcement of studio acquisitions in the very near future,” he says — and to support those acquisitions, SGN may be raising more money.