Small Screens and Big Ambitions: Why We Joined Forces with Action-Reaction Games

Wave Ventures
Aug 24, 2018 · 3 min read
Blobs fighting about. Image courtesy of Action-Reaction Games.

After a spring of busy teaming up with more outstanding entrepreneurs, we’re excited to finally break the silence and share (five of) our latest investments with all of you during the upcoming weeks. The first company in line is Action-Reaction Games — a newly founded gaming studio aiming to bring competitive online multiplayer experiences into the hands of everyone.

Even though one might think that the mobile gaming industry is reaching a matured state, with only a handful of companies being able to build games for the top Appstore rankings, recent events show that the industry still has a ton of room for innovation — plenty of new game makers are seeking to turn the odds in their favour in this challenging yet lucrative market.

Regardless of the current user acquisition spending spree and consolidation mania among larger gaming studios, most notably Tencent’s recent M&A activity, we’re able to spot a trend where these behemoths are increasingly interested in teaming up with emerging studios in order to fund ambitious founders and their projects, which might not fit the core genre or focus of the incumbents. This growing interest can be seen among VCs as well, with the most recent European example being Atomico’s latest move in the space.

What Is Action-Reaction Games?

Action-Reaction Games is a Finnish startup creating mobile games in the competitive multiplayer PvP (Player vs Player) space. We first met the team at Slush 2016 and regrouped with them as they were attending the Kiuas Accelerator batch of 2017. The team had showed clear progress during that time, and after finishing the accelerator program we continued to work with them for several months before finally deciding to invest in them in early 2018.

Contrary to traditional games investing, where the founding teams almost always comprise of veteran game developers with long-standing track records, the team over at Action-Reaction Games is a mixture of both old and new. We perceive this mix to be the optimal play in bringing captivating games to the younger generation.

With their first title Battle Blobs in the making, Action-Reaction Games is aiming to enter the market with their fast-paced mobile multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) with elements from team-based shooters. The game aims to implement the best practices of major MOBAs and shooters, including the aspect of social gaming as well as an easy to play but hard to master level of difficulty. The team intends to make the experience more native to mobile by utilising touch screen movement and controls, instead of relying on virtual joysticks, as is the default for many of their competitors. The game is targeting a soft launch in early 2019.

What Made Us Invest?

As the case usually is when it comes to investing at the earliest stages of a company’s lifecycle, this decision was very much based on our notion of the team. With founders’ vision of the games they intend to build, combined with the grit and passion they’ve shown in taking these visions closer to reality, we are extremely confident to embark on this journey together with them.

The round was joined by experienced game industry angel investors, looking to give strategic guidance in aspects relating to publishing and user acquisition.

We have seen a number of iterations from the major players of bringing MOBA to mobile, most notably Tencent’s Arena of Valor (Honor of Kings in the US) and Super Evil Megacorp’s Vainglory, with high fantasy themes and almost PC like game environments. With Arena of Valor raking in profits and Vainglory pushing to climb up the ladder, we think there is room for a new entrant with a lighter touch to the game environment and IP. Another contender within the MOBA-esque shooter space is the upcoming title Brawl Stars, which is expecting a global launch after a year in soft launch. Action-Reaction Games’ fresh take on the genre and the aim of making it more mobile-friendly through effective utilisation of touch screen qualities, was definitely something that appealed to us and was, in addition the team, a decisive factor in our decision.

If you want to discuss the European, or especially the Nordic gaming scene, please hit me up at anton@wave.ventures or @backman_anton on Twitter.

Wave Ventures

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