iOS accessory maker Discovery Bay Games announced today that they’ve closed a $15 million Series B round with Logitech and Trilogy Equity Partners leading the charge. The Seattle-based company originally started as a board game company but transitioned to the iOS “appcessory” gaming market last year with the launch of the first “Duo” product for the iPad in conjunction with Atari.
Other investors include Greg Maffei of Aspen Grove Capital, a number of Seattle investors and a “significant” amount of participation from existing investors.
“The new funding is primarily for development and launch of a range of “digital + physical” gaming experiences for the iPad and iPhone, and the launch of those experiences under our Duo brand,” Mike Sievert, CEO of Discovery Bay Games, told me. “Moving forward, all iPad app-supported accessories will be branded under the Duo name. The funding is meant to ensure that Discovery Bay Games is positioned to be an early leader in a big new market.”
You may recall seeing the Discovery Bay Atari Arcade for iPad the last holiday season but if you didn’t then you must not have read any holiday shopping guides. Point being, the app-enabled gaming accessory market is still relatively young and untapped. The more traditional game companies like Hasbro have also jumped on board with appcessories for popular titles like Monopoly. Other than DBG, the only other arcade-style accessory is one from ThinkGeek.
I personally don’t game much on either my iPhone or iPad but many of you do as evidenced by the dominance of games in Apple’s App Store. Games are typically at the top of the charts for both the iPhone and iPad. With that in mind, DBG has struck several partnerships with household gaming companies like Atari and Gameloft to boost credibility and push the market in the direction of app-enabled accessories.
According to Flurry, the games category dominates with a 49 percent share amongst the top 10 iOS categories. Just look at how much the market has shifted since 2009 from traditional portable machines like the PSP to smartphones. On top of that, users engage in about 25 minutes worth of gaming, says Flurry. So yeah, people like to game on their mobile devices.
Earlier this year, the company released an Dora the Explorer peripheral and the plan is to release three more partner-themed accessories this fall. A new Atari Arcade will be in stores this year to help the iconic games company celebrate its 40th anniversary, Sievert told me.
Gameloft plans to release its branded accessory this October but Michael Ehrenberg, senior key account manager at Gameloft, was coy about which titles would work with the system at launch. He says a variety of old and new games will work with DBG accessories.
“Accessories made the right way in conjunction with high quality content has the potential to change the way mobile games are experienced by consumers,” Ehrenberg told me. “The Gameloft + DBG partnership enables us to be first to the iOS market with a true console-quality gaming experience on mobile. The partnership developed with DBG is currently focused fully on iOS.”
With that being said, don’t expect to be playing all Gameloft games with an accessory. Ehrenberg says they’re mostly focused on delivering “core” games like FPS and sports titles that will only be enhanced with an accessory.
Gaming accessories for iOS devices have come and gone but DBG seems to have struck a chord. Maybe it’s the partnerships or the games that work with its accessories. Whatever it is, the mobile accessory market is expected to generate $20 billion in revenue this year and hit $38 billion by 2017. So maybe they’re on to something.
Sievert added: “Our belief is that the consumer device market for games will unfold much the same way the accessories market for audio devices unfolded when the iPod was being popularized, but potentially on a much larger scale. Gaming is way bigger than music. There isn’t a bigger category than gaming in all of entertainment.”