The L.A.-based company, whose game titles include “Cookie Jam,” “Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff” and “Marvel Avengers Academy,” acquired mobile-game rights to “Peanuts” from Peanuts Worldwide LLC, a joint venture owned 80% by Iconix Brand Group and 20% by members of the Charles M. Schulz family.
Jam City’s new name alludes to its popular “Cookie Jam” game, replacing SGN (which stood for “Social Gaming Network”). The company will increasingly focus on licensing Hollywood intellectual property to launch new games, with about half of the company’s titles moving forward to be based on established entertainment-industry IP, co-founder and CEO Chris DeWolfe said.
“The fastest platform for growing Hollywood IP is mobile games,” said DeWolfe.
Jam City’s “Peanuts” game, slated to launch in the first quarter of 2017, will be a free-to-play, casual puzzle game incorporating the beloved characters created by Schulz including Snoopy and Charlie Brown. The game will feature “Peanuts” storylines, audio and music to let players “engage with the Peanuts characters in a more active way than watching a TV show or movie,” DeWolfe said. “There’s a nostalgia factor for the older demographic, but it’s also resonating with millennials.”
In 2015, 20th Century Fox released “The Peanuts Movie,” which grossed $256 million at the box office worldwide, per Box Office Mojo.
Jam City now has about 500 employees, after its acquisition this summer of TinyCo (maker of ““Marvel Avengers Academy” and “Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff”). Jam City also has released “Book of Life: Sugar Smash,” based on 20th Century Fox’s feature film.
“Games can offer years of engagement and revenue for a film or TV show,” Rick Phillips, executive VP at Fox Digital Entertainment, said in a statement. “Chris and his team have done an exceptional job. They’ve already succeeded with two Fox-owned properties, ‘Family Guy’ and ‘Book of Life.’ We’re looking forward to what they do next — this time under their Jam City brand.”
The company last year received $130 million in funding from South Korea’s Netmarble Games, and DeWolfe said Jam City plans to launch an initial public offering at some point. According to DeWolfe, the company’s revenue has doubled every year for the last five years, with a projected run rate of more than $400 million in the next 12 months. Jam City says its games have been downloaded more than 800 million times and has nearly 50 million active players monthly.
Founded as SGN in 2010 by DeWolfe and Aber Whitcomb — formerly co-founders of Myspace — and ex-20th Century Fox executive Josh Yguado, the company has studios in Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego and Buenos Aires. Jam City’s competitors include Supercell (acquired by China’s Tencent), Activision Blizzard (which bought “Candy Crush” developer) King Digital), Rovio and Electronic Arts.