An unusual new game venture called Spry Fox launched this week in Juanita, aiming to bring a Hollywood-style business approach to the online, Flash games industry.
Founders David Edery and Daniel Cook formerly worked at Microsoft, where Edery was portfolio manager of Xbox Live Arcade and Cook was a game designer.
Instead of raising money and building a big studio, they’re operating Spry Fox more like a movie studio, assembling temporary teams for individual game projects and sharing the proceeds with the team.
Spry Fox has five games in development with partners in Seattle, the San Francisco area, Australia and Vancouver, B.C. They range from individual developers to small game startups, all drawing on the expertise and connections of Edery and Cook. It’s a distributed company, but a hub is Edery’s home in Juanita.
Eventually Spry Fox could also provide funding to the teams it works with but for now they’re all self-funded.
Edery, who ran a consulting business after leaving Microsoft in 2008, said Spry Fox games – including a new version of the steampunk flying game Steambirds – will appear on Apple and Android devices. But the company’s primary focus is downloadable games based on Adobe Flash and distributed through game portals such as Kongregate.
That market appears saturated, but Edery said there’s still opportunity for quality games such as Steambirds, which has been played by more than 10 million people. If a Flash game hooks players and lead to microtransactions and subscriptions, there’s the potential for the title to generate millions of dollars in a month, he said.
Apple’s platform is an interesting opportunity but it doesn’t come close to the market share of Flash, which is running on a billion browsers worldwide, Edery said.
“I’m interested in any technology that has 99 percent browser penetration,” he said. “Right now, that’s Flash.”