[NX] Nexon Makes Two Western Investments In Two Weeks: SecretNewCo and Rumble Games

Nexon logo

Nexon Co. Ltd. has announced “strategic” investments into two American gaming companies. Those two companies are social strategy game startup SecretNewCo, based in Maryland, and the Redwood City, California-based multiplatform developer Rumble Entertainment. Nexon will become a minority stakeholder in both companies.

SecretNewCo logo

SecretNewCo is a startup founded by Zynga’s former chief game designer and renowned strategy game designer Brian Reynolds. In addition to taking up a minority stake in the company Nexon has also acquired the global publishing rights for the SecretNewCo’s flagship title, SecretNewGame (working title). SecretNewGame is described as a “mobile strategic social networking game” in which players begin as a leader of a tribe in the Stone Age and guide their civilization through all the ages of human history. Players can form alliances, trade with friends, launch raids on enemies, and defend against attacks from other players. The game is expected to debut in the second half of 2014.

“This highly complementary partnership leverages SecretNewCo’s deep expertise and long track record in developing successful strategic SNGs [social network game] for Western tastes and audiences along with Nexon’s extensive know-how in free-to-play games, distribution capability and international platform,” said Owen Mahoney, the chief financial officer and chief administrative officer of Nexon. “This agreement represents a significant milestone for Nexon as we execute against our strategy to grow our business in key markets in the West. We are excited to partner with such a well-respected industry veteran as Brian and the talented SecretNewCo team to bring SecretNewGame to players around the world.”

Brian Reynolds founded the company in February 2013 and immediately began the production process of SecretNewGame. A 22-year veteran, he learned from one of the best, Sid Meier of Firaxis Games. He is the lead designer for Civilization II and Alpha Centauri, two of the best strategy games ever made. Reynolds founded Big Huge Games, where he made real-time strategy games such as Rise of Nations and Rise of Legends. He also served as designer for games such as FronteirVille and CityVille 2 at Zynga.

“Nexon pioneered the free-to-play model over 15 years ago,” said Reynolds in a statement. “This partnership lets SecretNewCo tap into Nexon’s proven free-to-play expertise and resources as we continue to grow our team and scale the reach of our new game. Nexon shares our focus on developing the best team, most innovative content and – most importantly – connecting people through fun games.”

More details on SecretNewCo and SecretNewGame can be found at http://www.secretnewco.com/ .

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Rumble Entertainment is a developer of premium, free-to-play multiplatform titles led by 15 year industry veteran Greg Richardson. With Nexon’s cash equity investment in Rumble, Nexon will become a minority stakeholder as well as Nexon’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Owen Mahoney joining the Rumble Board of Directors.

Founded in 2011, Rumble develops premium free-to-play games that are instantly accessible and playable across a variety of devices and social networks, all while offering the deep engagement of console games. The company’s games currently in development are KingsRoad, a medieval action RPG which is currently in open beta; Ballistic, a graphically impressive browser-based first-person shooter; and Nightmare Guardians, the multiplayer tower defense strategy game.

“As gaming platforms continue to converge, it is clear that immersive, synchronous free-to-play games are the future of the video game industry,” said Mr. Mahoney. “Rumble is one of the few Western companies at the forefront of this trend, and they share our conviction about the compelling combination of the free-to-play business model with deeply immersive gameplay across platforms. The North American market remains a massive, largely untapped opportunity and we are excited to work with Rumble’s best-in-class team to grow our business in the West.”

Rumble is led by an all-star group of industry veterans with deep social gaming and publishing expertise spanning the gaming world, from critically-acclaimed MMOs and console games to hit social and mobile titles. The team includes developers, executives and product leaders previously with Zynga, Activision, BioWare, Blizzard, Playdom, Electronic Arts, Turbine, LucasArts and RockYou.

“Nexon is a pioneer of the free-to-play model over 15 years ago, and we couldn’t ask for a better partner as we seek to create the world’s best free-to-play games,” said Greg Richardson, Founder and CEO of Rumble Entertainment. “This partnership will enable us to leverage Nexon’s deep free-to-play expertise and global market presence, including the important Asian territories. We look forward to working with Nexon to continue our mission of redefining the games experience on digital platforms.”

More information on Rumble Games can be found at https://www.rumblegames.com/ .

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Posted on July 30, 2013, in Acquisition, International Nexon, Nexon America, Rumble Entertainment, SecretNewCo, SecretNewGame. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Hey Zach, since you are a grown-up and a friend of mine and my dad isn’t around for a few days, mind if I ask you a question?

    If I were to buy shares in Activision, howmany do I need to buy to go to meetings of the company where they discuss their upcomming plans with their Shareholders? I did a little bit of research and one share in Activision/Blizzard is about $19,-
    That seems like almost NO money at all, so I asume you need a X number of shares to really be “someone” and not just a number to them. Would be kinda weird if having 1 share is enough to be recognized by the company, because then everyone could buy one share and need to go to meetings which would result in a few million people (saw tha they had about 20 million total shares).
    Do you know anything of this stuff?

    • Most of the Activation Blizzard stock isn’t actively traded. You’d need to be a large stakeholder in order to get the type of recognition you’re talking about. I’m not completely sure (since I’m not really interesting in this stuff) but you’re probably need to own around 5% of the shares of the company (basically investing around $1 million) in order to get that kind of recognition.

  2. Wow, Rumble Games looks reallllyyyyy promising. I’m honestly looking forward to their games! I can see why Nexon invested in them.

    As for SecretNewCo…..hmmmmmm….Theres a reason why its called secret Q.Q

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