Jump Gaming – Indie Gaming Platform

Transcript, Jump Gaming – Indie Gaming Platform | Anthony Palma

 

Alan
Welcome back. I’m here today with Anthony Palma. He’s the founder and the CEO of Jump. Anthony, welcome to today’s show.

Anthony
Thanks for having me, Alan.

Alan
So Anthony, for the listeners, can you give us the background of, you know how you came to be where you are today?

Anthony
So I’m originally from West Virginia. I was born in Georgia and grew up from the time I was four, through high school in Wheeling, West Virginia, up in the northern panhandle, close to Pittsburgh, so I don’t have the accent, and went to West Virginia University for my undergrad degrees in computer science and computer engineering. So I come from a tech background, went straight to Carnegie Mellon for a Master’s of entertainment technology there, which is what got me into the gaming space.

Alan
Wow. So and the level of your degree was a master’s?

Anthony
Master’s? Yeah. And it’s a really unique degree. So it’s a Master’s of entertainment technology, not a master’s of science. And its degree that’s conferred by both the art and computer science schools at CMU.

Alan
So let’s expand you know, because I’m intrigued by the Masters of entertainment. Yeah, I’m dropping the technology. But how do you differentiate into that into that space versus just a regular computer science degree?

Anthony
It was a really interesting program, it was separate from Main Campus down by a more the business campus in in Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. And so the program was three different semesters of just doing projects. So the first semester was mostly classes and getting us up to speed. And then the last three semesters were projects where you would work on an interdisciplinary team that simulated what the real world would be like getting out into an entertainment company. Or you could also do a co op, and actually work at a company like Electronic Arts or Disney to get real world experience. And that would count as a semester of school as well. So it really tried to prep you for getting into the entertainment industry, whether you went into film or themes, entertainment or video games.

Alan
Now coming right out of school, was Jump at top of your mind, or how did you how did you come to be in this new company?

Anthony
hHdn’t even thought of it yet. So we actually founded this company as a game development studio, when I was still in my final semester at Carnegie Mellon. And we were able to do a co op with our own company. So that’s how we did our final semester. And we started building games for platforms like the PC, and for Playstation and certain other ways where you would just sell games directly to consumers, I even got into a program out here in Silicon Valley, called the plug and play startup camp out in Sunnyvale. And that allowed us to bring the company out to Silicon Valley and learn more about the game industry out here and really get plugged into the community. But it also made us realize that building games individually and selling them to consumers was a very hard business to actually make a living in. It’s very volatile, and it got harder and harder to break through. As a company, particularly with no name recognition, we were all fresh out of college trying to build a game. So what we did was we kept ourselves afloat through contract work, and whatever we could do to keep the company alive through 2014. And at the end of 2014, we realized that there really wasn’t a good solution for a game subscription service. All there was was really selling your games on different platforms. And in the process, I had actually gotten hired to be the director of an accelerator program called Core Labs out of a company called GSP labs in the Bay Area. And what I did there was I helped game development studios understand the business side of game development, because a lot of them, like me came from development backgrounds. So running that program made me realize that not only was there not a subscription service for games, but there were two major problems that game developers face. And that was both discoverability. So people actually being able to find their games and distribution, especially across multiple platforms. So around the end of 2014, and we started building the idea for what would eventually become Jump on fast forward a couple years. And here we are getting ready to launch this summer.

Alan
You know, there’s quite a bit in, in this gaming distribution is you outline the two aspects, there’s the development, and then there’s a distribution. And when developers starting to venture saying, hey, I want to I want to write a game on this, this this topic of how much research they do to make sure that it actually is going to be something the market wants?

Anthony
I think there’s a wide range depending on the size of the company. One thing that’s happened over the last few years is what we call the democratization of game development. Which means a lot of the tools that people use to build games have dropped to be basically free. And so what happens now is we get anything from hobbyists building random content and trying to throw it up there to make a quick buck, all the way up to still the major companies like Electronic Arts and Activision and Ubisoft, who spend millions of dollars on market research to make sure that people are actually going to buy their game. So for small developers like myself, A lot of it is really passion and putting ourselves into the game you see a lot of independent developers that really feel that their games are art. Rather than just trying to make something that people want to play, they put themselves into the game so that people can feel emotions that they feel or experiences that they’ve been through. So it’s a really interesting gamut, kind of across the spectrum of what’s being built in the gaming industry.

Alan
I’m visiting here today with Anthony Palma, he’s the founder of Jump and they have the I need to take a quick break, and we’ll be right back after these messages.

Alan
Welcome back and visiting here today with Anthony Palma. He’s the founder and the CEO of Jump. And it you know, we were talking about the vision for jumping in the gaming industry. And you’re jumping into this relatively right out of school, Master’s in entertainment, technology, computer science degree, I’ve read an email and what communities is jumped designed to serve.

Anthony
So there’s two different sides. So what we’re building with this subscription service, the first is game developers, and specifically, the community that we’re serving at launch is these independent game developers or indie developers, these developers are having a harder and harder time being able to distribute their content and actually be discovered in the market because there’s so much content launching. And without a significant marketing budget, which most of these guys don’t have, it’s really hard to be able to break through and let people actually find your game, let alone convince them to buy it. So we’re working directly with these developers to bring us their games to put on our service, where discoverability is much easier if people can find your game much quicker. And since we’re a subscription service, the people that are subscribing to our service, will be able to just pop into a game and click play. And that developer will be able to generate revenue just when somebody plays their game, we do payouts based on a per minute basis. So it’s a very pure experience where I load up and play your game and you make money. So there’s no more purchasing anxiety or trying to convince somebody to buy your game, you can just generate revenue when somebody plays it. So we’re trying to help those developers find more people not only just to play their game and experience it, but really to be able to generate more revenue for their content. And then the second side is these gamers that are just swamped with the number of games that are coming out in a year as an interesting statistic that I think is 40% of all PC games that I’ve ever launched on this one particular service on PC called steam launched last year. And that service has been around for 10 years. So there’s this huge flood of content that’s coming to the market, and gamers just can’t keep up. Spending hasn’t really changed per gamer, they’re just spending the same amount. There’s just more games that they’re missing. So our service intends to help them find those games and take away the purchase anxiety of buying one game at a time. And now they can pay 10 bucks a month and be able to play all the games they want on our service.

Alan
I’ve heard the analogy of Jump is the Netflix for games. Yes. And when it which is interesting, because the it seems that the market has moved away from what it used to be going to a store buying a game off the shelf and taking home kind of like the old blockbuster rent, you know, I’ve noticed recently in in winter technology store and looked at the game section. And there you what used to be rows of games are now on a single shelf. Right? So, so market timing is is is what you’re doing. Right for the market, I mean, esteemed competitor, or what, how do you view steam relative to where you’re at?

Anthony
Well, to build an analogy, steam would be more like the iTunes of games where you go to purchase games one at a time. And you can play those on PC, Mac or Linux devices. We are more of the Netflix of games, which the Netflix experiences you subscribe for a monthly fee, you get unlimited access to the content that’s on that service rather than buying them once at a time. And the other part of that that I feel is the most important part of Netflix is you can boot up whatever device you’re on, go to the Netflix app and be able to watch content that is part of your service part of your subscription. So what we’ve built is essentially the same thing for the gaming world which doesn’t exist at this point, particularly across multiple platforms. So as a subscriber to Jump, you’re able to play games on any platform that we support, which at launch will be desktop with virtual reality support. And then we’ll move into mobile and eventually consoles and even ancillary devices like Smart TV as well. And that really doesn’t exist in the gaming world, even though movies and music and even data have moved to these unlimited access subscription models. So the market is really ready for something like this in the gaming space and all other indications of every other consumer technology have moved to unlimited subscription models. So we’re fitting in at a perfect time for this.

Alan
So Anthony, I’m again running up against the break. But when we come back, I want to talk about virtual reality and how this is playing into the gaming market. And where do we go from here. So I’m visiting here today with Anthony Palma, he’s the founder and the CEO of Jump, we’ll be right back after these messages.

Alan
Welcome back and building here today with Anthony Palma. He’s the CEO of Jump and and before the break I you know we are getting a younger model of Jump defined is subscription based service. And you know, the in this whole gaming industry has transformed I remember the early days it was Pong, then Atari did their games, and then the tendo and then Sega, and then it kind of evolved to where we are today. But you know, recent companies we’ve seen like Unity, coming through the virtual reality aspect of and how does that play into what you’re doing with Jump.

Anthony
So Unity is one of those booming companies in the space that really has defined that democratization of development that I was talking about before. Unity is a tool that game developers use to build their games. And what it allows you to do is build once inside of it and kind of have your core code base inside of Unity, and then export to various platforms that you want your game to work on. So PlayStation, Xbox, the Oculus Rift for VR, even PC and for Jumps purposes, a web export. So what we work with is an export out of unity that’s meant for the web for browser use. And we can take that build and distribute it to multiple platforms. So Unity is one of the biggest tools that we work with. And we work with developers that have already built games or are building games in Unity. So the export to Jump is actually a very simple process, thanks to engines like their platform.

Alan
Okay, so So when we’re looking at into the future, and you’re coming down, you have big ol column gaming warehouses, like the Sony’s Nintendo’s Electronic Arts, I imagine that there, there may be some view that they could be in competition. And how do you how do you look at what you’re doing and differentiate the collaboration of the industry, towards you.

Anthony
So ultimately, we’d like to work with those groups, because we see ourselves as complementary to premium sales. So to make an analogy to the movie industry, if you think about how movies run their sales cycles, they go to theaters first, and they run premium sales, we buy tickets, one at a time for their movies. And as the sales start to dip off, they eventually pull it off, and then event in take them to services like Netflix, or HBO or Hulu, where you can then generate more long tail revenue for them. After their premium sales have dipped off into nothing. We see ourselves in the same vein, where games should run their premium sales cycles on things like Xbox or PC, or, or even phones. And then once their sales dip off, which is typically very steep in the game industry, they can then bring them to Jump to extend the long tail revenue of their games and be able to generate more revenue over time. So rather than bumping up against Nintendo and Sony, and even steam on PC, we see ourselves as the complementary next step in the lifecycle of content, where developers should be bringing their games and so when we go to work with groups like Nintendo or Xbox will be bringing available revenue or additional revenue to the games that they run on their services as well, instead of trying to compete with their sales.

Alan
So you’re relatively young in in starting this company, you’ve just finished your seed round. And in the winter, when you look to the future, I guess, building a company is it’s much different today than what it used to be in technology, bringing it to fruition, but how do you manage the balance of time in your workspace and trying to get to the next level because you’re in an era in an industry that moves very, very fast we are.

Anthony
So one thing I think is really important is work life balance. I have a beautiful wife and she makes sure that I get out of the office from time to time and that we find time to relax and turn my brain off. And I think that makes me more efficient when we’re in the office. So in building the company, we’ve tried to build a culture of not what what’s typical in the game industry, which is these insane long hours and crunch and things you hear like that. We want this to be more of a company where you’re here because you want to be in, you’re getting your work done, because you’re excited about it. And I think it’s because we have such a unique opportunity in front of us to build a Netflix sized company in the game industry. So everybody that we’ve hired up to this point is an industry veteran, really being able to drive their own divisions. And what that allows us to do is focus on the important things, which is a balance of your life, and actually your work.

Alan
And when you look at when you look at the vision of a game, and of Jump, moving through the game industry, what role will an advisory board play for you?

Anthony
Well, it’s a really crucial thing, especially for me as a first time entrepreneur, I like to say that I know what I don’t know, in most instances instead of I don’t know. So when I run up against something where I’m not sure I’m able to defer to these guys. And we’ve put together an excellent advisory board of industry and valley titans like Tom Kolinsky, the former CEO of Sega, Mike Fisher, former CEO of Square Enix, Mike Williams, former CFO of EA games, some really incredible people. And these guys all have expertise in different areas. So when I run up against something that I don’t know, I’m able to defer to them and get advice from them from based on their years of experience in the industry. And it really helps me grow as a leader. So that I’m able to manage my team who largely is older than me, and has a lot more experience in the industry. So it allows me to more confidently lead and push forward knowing that we have the sage advice of of these gentlemen.

Alan
So when you look at the challenges of overcoming technology issues, you know, what, what role does the team that you have in place provided to helping you out,

Anthony
I think, with the experience each one of them brings to the table, it allows me to rely on them to push forward where we need to be able to push, or we’re starting to get into uncharted territory, as far as some of the technology we’re building. And we have some things that we’ll be patenting and putting in place to protect it. But I’ve hired people that are smarter than me, that’s one of my my core philosophies is I always hire people that are smarter than me and can do better than I can’t at certain jobs. I like to know a little bit about what everybody does, so that I can have constructive interactions with them. But largely, I let them run their own divisions, and manage their own projects so that they can drive it forward. And so by hiring people that are better than I am at certain aspects of the company, I know that they’re going to lead us in the way that we want them to lead. And I can just more focus on the overall vision and execution at the high level of the company.

Alan
Now you’re considering yourself to be more at a development stage company. Yeah, correct. And then and then transitioning over to the revenue stage. You know, at what point do you say, Okay, now we’re ready to start launching.

Anthony
So we’re gonna be rolling out subscriptions this summer, later in the summer on desktop with virtual reality support. So we’re finishing up the final touches on the technology. Now, we’re in the process of onboarding developers via final contracts. And we’re working on our PR and marketing plans to go to market very soon. So it’s definitely an exciting time for us having just closed the round. And now being able to higher up the team. We went from four to eight in we’re pretty sure we’re bringing on at night to be able to get to market later this summer. And then from there, we’re able to quickly scale aggressively, but measured in a measured sense so that we know we can get to market quickly across all devices, not just on desktop with VR support.

Alan
Now Anthony, how do we find Jump if we want to get on that subscription service,

Anthony
so you can go to play on Jump.com That will be our launch website. And we’ll have updates very soon for the site so you can find out when we’re going to be going live, when you can access it and when you can sign up to play.

Alan
Amazing here today with Anthony Palma. He is the founder and the CEO of Jump. Anthony. We’re out of time today but I appreciate you being on today’s show.

Anthony
It was a pleasure. Thanks for having me. Really appreciate it.

 

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About Anthony Palma

Anthony Palma, is the founder and CEO of Jump Gaming, a startup positioned to be the Netflix of Games. Jump Gaming provides a cross platform experience for indie developers to distribute their games as well as the larger companies such as Sony and Nintendo to extend the revenue life of their products. Prior to Jump, Anthony worked as the Director of Core Labs Game Accelerator and General Manager of Entertainment at GSVlabs. Anthony attended Carnegie Mellon where he received his Master’s of Entertainment Technology in Computer Science and resides in the Greater Los Angeles Area with his wife.

 

Anthony Palma on Alan Olsen's American Dreams Radio
Anthony Palma

Anthony Palma, is the founder and CEO of Jump Gaming, a startup positioned to be the Netflix of Games. Jump Gaming provides a cross platform experience for indie developers to distribute their games as well as the larger companies such as Sony and Nintendo to extend the revenue life of their products. Prior to Jump, Anthony worked as the Director of Core Labs Game Accelerator and General Manager of Entertainment at GSVlabs. Anthony attended Carnegie Mellon where he received his Master’s of Entertainment Technology in Computer Science and resides in the Greater Los Angeles Area with his wife.

Alan Olsen on Alan Olsen's American Dreams Radio
Alan Olsen

Alan is managing partner at Greenstein, Rogoff, Olsen & Co., LLP, (GROCO) and is a respected leader in his field. He is also the radio show host to American Dreams. Alan’s CPA firm resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and serves some of the most influential Venture Capitalist in the world. GROCO’s affluent CPA core competency is advising High Net Worth individual clients in tax and financial strategies. Alan is a current member of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (S.I.E.P.R.) SIEPR’s goal is to improve long-term economic policy. Alan has more than 25 years of experience in public accounting and develops innovative financial strategies for business enterprises. Alan also serves on President Kim Clark’s BYU-Idaho Advancement council. (President Clark lead the Harvard Business School programs for 30 years prior to joining BYU-idaho. As a specialist in income tax, Alan frequently lectures and writes articles about tax issues for professional organizations and community groups. He also teaches accounting as a member of the adjunct faculty at Ohlone College.

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