Talking about augmented reality (AR), two major examples come to our mind including Pokemon Go and the Snapchat dancing hotdog. However, as more and more businesses are entering the space, the AR competition is starting to get fierce.
One of them is WarDucks, a Dublin-based augmented reality (AR) game development studio, which has recently announced a €3.3 million funding round. The lead investor in the round was the EQT Ventures fund, with participation from Suir Valley Ventures and other investors.
How will WarDucks use capital injection?
The funding will be used to drive the development of WarDucks’ new location-based AR game and expand the company’s development team. EQT had discovered WarDucks through its AI platform Motherbrain, a proprietary product used to identify and proactively contact promising startups.
WarDucks’ CEO Nikki Lannen, formerly a senior member of Facebook’s gaming team, founded the company in 2013 with the aim of creating world-class content for mobile, AR and VR platforms. The team continues to attract global talent to work on its latest AR game as the company recently welcomed gaming legend John Romero as a creative consultant. Co-founder of the BAFTA award-winning Romero Games studio and winner of more than 100 awards, Romero is best known for his work on Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM, DOOM II and Quake. In his role, Romero will be actively advising on WarDucks’ upcoming location-based AR game.
Adding to the team’s already impressive gaming credentials, WarDucks has also hired Doug Kaufman, the game designer behind Civilization II and Frontierville, as its lead game designer. Kaufman will be joined by lead narrative designer Lawrence Schick, who was previously at ZeniMax where he was Loremaster on the Elder Scrolls Online. Schick worked with Gary Gygax on Dungeons & Dragons in the 1970s and with Sid Meier at MicroProse in the 1980s.
“There’s a huge opportunity in AR location-based mobile gaming, which combines the local appeal of real-world maps with engaging gameplay,” said Nikki Lannen, CEO and founder, WarDucks. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with EQT Ventures as we race towards the launch of our location-based AR game as the team’s extensive mobile gaming experience will be invaluable on the next phase of our journey. The fact that we’ve also had so many top gaming executives from around the world join our team is a testament to the talent and vision of the team we’ve currently got in place.”
“WarDucks is a strong, proven games studio with an impressive team of passionate game experts ready to take on this rapidly growing genre of mobile gaming,” said Lars Jörnow, Partner and Investment Advisor at EQT Ventures. “We believe that WarDucks’ next title will engage players all over the world and become a popular franchise. The EQT Ventures team is excited to partner with Nikki and the team on this journey with our in-house gaming expertise.”
WarDucks’ portfolio of game titles
The Irish game development startup has already launched six game titles across desktop, mobile and console platforms. Its portfolio includes game titles such as RollerCoaster Legends, My Smooshy Mushy and Sneaky Bears.
Further, in December 2018, EQT Ventures had its first exit when Small Giant Games, a Finnish mobile gaming studio, was acquired by Zynga Inc. (Nasdaq: ZNGA) in a deal worth $700 million. Prior to founding EQT Ventures, Lars Jörnow was at King Digital for six years where he, among other things, set up the mobile games team that launched Candy Crush Saga in 2012.
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