When Iván De Cabo hacked together ‘Steve – The Jumping Dinosaur‘, the super casual game playable from within the iOS Notification Center, he had no idea what would happen next.
The game become a minor viral sensation, shooting it up the App Store charts, eventually catching the attention of Apple itself who featured the ‘app’. This then led to an acquisition offer that went up and up — from an initial $350 to $60,000, De Cabo told TechCrunch at the time — that was politely declined.
However, TechCrunch has learned that ‘Steve – The Jumping Dinosaur’ has since been acquired by a different suitor, Spanish gaming company Genera Games, for a sum I understand to be more than triple the offer De Cabo originally received. He’s also joined Genera Games where he’ll be heading up a team at the company developing “ultra casual” titles.
In a call, De Cabo told me he was first introduced to Genera by his then boss at Icinetic, Lucas Gozálvez (who also owned a 15 per cent stake in ‘Steve – The Jumping Dinosaur’) but at first the gaming company wasn’t interested in making an acquisition.
That was before it took on a viral life of its own, and got featured in the App Store (in part thanks to another shareholder, marketeer Chris Obereder, who had a 10 percent stake, with De Cabo owning the remaining 75 per cent).
“I never made a game before and I decided to do one in a weekend to see if I’d be able to make a game within two days. What I don’t know is how I found out that there exist extensions for iOS that let you code for the notification center,” De Cabo recalls.
“So there I was, I picked the Google Chrome easter egg as a tribute plus the mechanics of the game were pretty simple (just a character jumping) and I decided that I’d be different from the rest by putting it right into the notification center”.
That resulted in a million downloads to date. And, eventually, being acqui-hired by Genera Games. I also understand there was another offer on the table, a partnership with a different leading but unnamed games publisher.
“My first impression when I met Ivan was that guy is really smart and honest, I want to work with him to evolve the game niche that he has opened,” says Curro Rueda, Genera Games Chief Operating Officer, in a statement. Now the two are doing just that.