NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Nov 5, 2012) - Hearst Corporation announced today it has made a minority equity investment in Spooky Cool Labs, a new studio focused on creating one-of-a-kind branded games for mobile and social networks. The studio is pushing the boundaries of social gaming by enabling expansive and engaging 3-D worlds that allow players to go on expanded journeys, play compelling mini games and experience embedded videos all within a universe they help create.
The announcement was made by Frank A. Bennack, Jr., CEO of Hearst Corporation, and Scott Sassa, president, Hearst Entertainment & Syndication. Financial terms of the investment were not disclosed.
Spooky Cool's core focus is to create a new generation of social games -- based on premium entertainment brands both new and classic -- that look, feel and play better across mobile and social platforms. The company just released its first social game based on the iconic film The Wizard of Oz. The Wizard of Oz™ game is a 3-D adventure-driven "city builder" game licensed from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for social networking platforms and mobile devices. The Wizard of Oz™ game was launched to coincide with the film's 75th anniversary celebration, which includes a just-announced 3-D version of the movie.
Commenting on the investment, Sassa said, "We believe Spooky Cool has achieved a step function improvement in social and mobile gaming with their 3-D game engine that powers The Wizard of Oz™. Joe and Larry are two of the best land-based casino and pinball game developers in the world. We plan on pairing our intellectual property and access to third-party intellectual property with the game development expertise of Spooky Cool to build a big presence in this space."
Spooky Cool is led by CEO Joe Kaminkow and Chairman Larry DeMar, two of the world's top game designers. Kaminkow has personally developed more than 1,000 games including popular slot machines Wheel of Fortune, Sex and the City and Ghostbusters and pinball games Jurassic Park, Star Wars and South Park. Combined, Kaminkow and his team have designed hundreds of the top games and hold more than 150 patents in the gaming and interactive space. DeMar has designed more than 30 games, including arcade legends Defender, Robotron and Stargate, as well as pinball titles The Addams Family, High Speed, Fun House and Black Knight.
"This investment is an affirmation of the mission we've embarked on at Spooky Cool," Kaminkow said. "We're starting an amazing new adventure with The Wizard of Oz™ and we're proud to have an organization with the foresight of Hearst realize our potential and support it."
Interested players can play The Wizard of Oz™ game on Facebook for free. For more information on Spooky Cool, the company website features more information on the game and access to its customer support portal, game forums and blog.
About Spooky Cool Labs
Spooky Cool Labs is a social game developer and publisher committed to introducing the next-generation of social games to be played and enjoyed by all generations. Located in Chicago, Spooky Cool Labs was founded by legendary game designers Joe Kaminkow and Larry DeMar, who have both created some of the most well-known games in arcade, pinball and slots. The accomplished duo is now leading Spooky Cool Labs with a vision focused on creating cutting-edge social games built on great brands and industry leading design for social networking services and mobile devices. Follow us on Twitter @SpookyCoolLabs.
About Hearst Corporation
Celebrating its 125th anniversary, Hearst Corporation (www.hearst.com) is one of the nation's largest diversified media and information companies. Its major interests include ownership of 15 daily and 36 weekly newspapers, including the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News and Albany Times Union; hundreds of magazines around the world, including Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, ELLE and O, The Oprah Magazine; 29 television stations, which reach a combined 18 percent of U.S. viewers; ownership in leading cable networks, including Lifetime, A&E, HISTORY and ESPN; significant holdings in the automotive, electronic and medical/pharmaceutical industries; a 50 percent stake in the global ratings agency Fitch Group; Internet and marketing services businesses; television production; newspaper features distribution; and real estate. Follow us on Twitter @HearstCorp.