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Making games like Sonic Speed Simulator for Roblox, Gamefam saw record growth with revenues up more than 275% over a year ago so far in 2022.
The Los Angeles company started just three years ago, recruiting veteran Roblox game developers to make games for brands that wanted to reach the 50 million daily active players in the user-generated content worlds of Roblox.
It also makes games for Minecraft and Fortnite. Now it has more than 30 titles on the platforms, and the Sonic game has done the best, capturing 500 million visits in its first four months. And the top ten games from Gamefam account for 90% of its gameplays.
The company was one of the first to professionalize game development on the Roblox platform using authentic game devs who grew up playing the platform, said Joe Ferencz, CEO and founder of Gamefam, in an interview with GamesBeat.
“2022 has been a phenomenal year for us, which I could not be more proud of as it shows how talented our team is and the value we provide to our partners and communities,” said Ferencz. “We see endless opportunities to build engaging experiences that are authentic to the brands we’re partnering with and the communities they’re able to now reach, along with the portfolio of great games we’re creating and supporting from our developers.”
As a private company, Gamefam doesn’t release its revenue or profit numbers, Ferencz said. Ferencz said that production budgets for partnership have expanded along with the scope and vision of brand partners who want to be in the space.
“We saw in the early days of the company over three years ago how brands were wanting to dip a toe into the water and do something very quick. What we’re now seeing is brands recognizing that this is a platform that can accommodate triple-A level production values, and brands are bringing substantially larger budgets now to develop Roblox games, which has made us focus on fewer bigger projects with top tier brand partners.”
Gamefam sees itself as a gaming and content company across metaverse platforms reaching Gen Z audiences with live operated original games, virtual concerts, and experiences that connect brands with new audiences.
It has top-performing titles and branded experiences within Roblox, Minecraft, and Fortnite. The company has more than 18 million worldwide gameplay sessions daily, and it has more than 2.8 million daily visits and gameplay sessions in the U.S. This further supports the company’s goal to create the next generation of super-hit franchises from within the metaverse.
Gamefam kicked off this year announcing the close of its $25 million funding round led by Konvoy Ventures with participation from Play Ventures, Makers Fund, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Galaxy Interactive. It was relatively early in recruiting professional teams to make games on Roblox, which has prospered on user-generated content.
Ferencz said the capital was critical to invest in new creator partnerships, analytics and live ops tools, and advertising tech. The funds also helped to grow the Gamefam team to over 250 full-time people, including native metaverse developers and designers, combined with seasoned veterans in production, corporate strategies, data science, marketing, and community. The company also works with external devs.
Many of Gamefam’s developers are in their 20s and they started playing and developing games on Roblox when they were 10 years old. But Ferencz said he likes to think he brings a mature approach to the company, investing in its infrastructure like HR, studios, hiring and career development.
“Metaverse natives are performing key contributor roles,” Ferencz said.
As the first and biggest professional Roblox game developer and publisher — and leading developer on Fortnite and Minecraft — Gamefam has made a significant investment and impact with its blockbuster titles and chart-topping experiences, Ferencz said.
The company operates the largest network of titles on Roblox with its portfolio reaching over 20 billion lifetime visits, more than 500 million visits and 83 million hours of engagement each month. More than 1.5 million people in the U.S. play Gamefam titles daily.
Gamefam’s continued success with Roblox, Fortnite, and Minecraft players, plus global brands looking to enter the metaverse, drove the company’s consecutive revenue growth for the last 11 quarters.
Roblox players consistently give the highest average player-rating to the company’s games, and Gamefam received more nominations than any developer for this year’s prestigious “2022 Roblox Innovations Awards.”
Robeats and Starving Artists won “Best Audio Design” and “The Builderman Award (picked by Roblox CEO Dave Baszucki) of Excellence” by community vote. Having a proven track record is why top brands and music artists choose to work with Gamefam when looking for an authentic and engaging metaverse experience.
Hot games of 2022
Sonic Speed Simulator quickly became the biggest game launch in Roblox history, surpassing 275,000 concurrent players in week one, attracting over 500 million visits in its first four months. It was the No. 1 branded game on Roblox.
“Our biggest game of the year was Sonic Speed Simulator. It was the No. 1 launch in Roblox history in terms of hitting the most number of players most quickly, hitting 275,000 concurrent players in its first week,” Ferencz said. “It is the No. 1 branded game of all time on Roblox by over a 100 million visits. That was a huge highlight for us working with Sega and developing how a triple-A brand should [be presented] on the platform.”
The company has a big expansion plan for the game, which quintupled its yearly forecast in its first nine months.
“I think that brands are realizing that they need to have a persistent, best in class, metaverse presence to reach Gen Z audiences because this is where Gen Z audiences are engaging directly,” Ferencz said.
Gamefam’s portfolio reached over 20 billion lifetime gameplay sessions from top games including Funky Friday, the No. 1 music game; Starving Artists, the No. 1 art game; and Festival Tycoon, the No. 1 branded music game.
It also has avariety of top games across multiple genres: Weapon Fighting Simulator, Maple Hospital, Military Tycoon, Easy Obby, Ultra Power Tycoon, and Hot Wheels Open World.
And the company developed two of the three top rated Roblox concert experiences with The Chainsmokers concert experience (84.15% player rating) and 24K Golden Concert Experience (83.23%, player rating).
Gamefam delivered over 1.8 billion campaign engagements across more than 18 branded integrations and ad campaigns for top properties including: Doctor Strange, Paws of Fury, Kung Fu Panda, Monster Jam, Bakugan, Skechers, LOL Surprise, Beyblade, and Spin Master’s Pixo Bitz.
Beyond Roblox, Ferencz said, “We’re starting to experiment in Fornite and Minecraft because our creators here at the company are passionate about those platforms as well. And so there’s been organic demand for innovation opportunities across Minecraft and Fortnite as well, but Roblox remains our primary focus at this time.”
The company launched its Fortnite division with an experienced team responsible for creating over 40 of the most popular Fortnite Creative Mode maps and partnering with leading brands including Samsung, Puma, and the BBC’s Dr. Who.
Lastly, it expanded its Minecraft portfolio with three of the top Minecraft servers that continue to attract over 150,000 gameplay sessions per month.
In addition to successfully creating branded experiences that bring brands into the metaverse, Gamefam brought one of its most popular Roblox franchises — Twilight Daycare — out of the metaverse with the release of a toy line available at major retailers, including Walmart, Target and Amazon.
“We’ve got a very ambitious roadmap that will drive our future growth plans and expansion opportunities, and I can’t wait to share more soon,” said Fercenz. “Our experience and passion will continue to guide us and fuel our creative endeavors to serve the needs of our partners and our players in metaverse gaming.”
Will triple-A game companies start moving onto Roblox. Some may, but Ferencz thinks it is more likely they will partner with companies like Gamefam, which has native talent that understands product authenticity.
“There are so few professional developers who truly understand what the Roblox audience is looking for,” Ferencz said.
For 2023, he said the company has a suite of the biggest brands and IPs in the world that it will be bringing to the Roblox platform.
“I can’t tell you what any of them are right now. But they are both from the pop culture space, the sports space, and the brand space,” he said.
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