Just a year after selling his mobile-social gaming network OpenFeint to GREE for $104 million, Jason Citron is at it again. He’s starting a new company called Phoenix Guild and has pocketed $1.1 million from YouWeb, Accel Partners, and General Catalyst Partners. The goal is to be the “Blizzard of the post-PC era.”
After months of playing video games and traveling, he decided to have another go at it. “I knew that I wanted to do another gaming company,” he said. “So I took a nice, deep breath and did it. I love making games.”
He added, “I’m a core gamer and it’s just weird to me that I didn’t find much on my iPad to play. Early on, it became apparent that there was a lot of action in free-to-play FarmVille-style games. So there are still a lot of fairly low fidelity titles. We want something that’s more like what you would see on consoles and PCs but re-imagined and built with modern monetization mechanics.”
The company is announcing the funding to attract a few more founding members. They want a top developer, a 3D artist and a game designer. The company plans to ship its first title this year. Citron intentionally kept the round size smaller, even as we’re seeing $3 or $4 million-plus seed rounds these days.
“If you put too much fuel on the fire, you’ll blow up. You just need to take your time and be methodical before you hire 30 people,” he said. “We took a small amount of money to get something to market and see how it works.”
He’s trying to do a few things differently compared to the last time around too. He put together a lot of material around the core principles of the company in a way that’s maybe a little inspired by the Valve employee handbook.
For one, no one in the company will have traditional titles like “engineer.” Instead, they’ll be called “Craftsmen.”
“Everyone that is involved in building this — writing, marketing, programming, art — it’s a craft,” he said.