Hammer & Chisel, the core gaming startup founded by Jason Citron, an early pioneer in smartphone gaming, just raised additional funding from Tencent, Benchmark Capital and YouWeb’s 9+. Citron previously founded and then sold mobile-social gaming network OpenFeint for $104 million.
Hammer & Chisel’s first game was a MOBA or multiplayer online battle arena title called Fates Forever. That tablet-centric title isn’t ranked highly on the top-grossing charts, according to App Annie, even though it won a coveted Apple’s Editor Choice award and lots of featured placement in the store.
Citron doesn’t seem fazed, however. “Fates is an experiment in what multiplayer games on mobile could be… to push the boundaries and see what works and what doesn’t,” he said. “It’s the first step on our journey to crafting a meaningful games company.”
He said he didn’t have any announcements as to whether they would be sticking with the title or were working on an entirely new one.
It almost goes without saying that gaming is a hits-driven business. The other mobile gaming companies that are raking in enough cash to buy Super Bowl airtime like Clash of Clans-maker Supercell and Game of War: Fire Age creator Machine Zone either killed several titles or spent years crafting releases before they found success.
Citron says the startup aims to be the first core gaming company to reach 1 billion players. He’s looking at a global market of 850 million smartphone users and $20 billion made to date in free-to-play gaming world.
“I’m confident we will find 100 million users and $1 billion in revenue somewhere along this journey… and you can quote me on that,” he said.
While Citron isn’t disclosing the size of the round, the company had previously raised $8.2 million investors, including Benchmark, Accel and IDG.