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Jawfish Games shutting down after acquisition falls through

Jawfish Games shutting down after acquisition falls through

January 30, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

Seattle-based online/mobile game developer Jawfish Games is closing down, laying off all staff and selling off all company IP, including the rights to the company's real-time multiplayer online tournament hosting platform Jawfish Focus as well as games like Jawfish Words and Jawfish Poker.

Jawfish Games, founded by professional poker player Phil Gordon and staffed at one point by industry veterans like Tadhg Kelly, is noteworthy for attempting to build a sustainable platform for competitive, freemium multiplayer games that could be played in real time across iOS, Android and browsers.

According to a report published on GeekWire, Jawfish Games founder and CEO Phil Gordon posted a message on a closed Google Group yesterday announcing the company's closure.

“We’d spent all our remaining runway on legal to get to a definitive agreement. No further acquisitions were on the table, and no financing was available — the games space has gotten incredibly soft and difficult," reads the message, as published by GeekWire.

"Acquirer then knew we were broke and couldn’t afford to sue, so they refused to pay the break fee. Classy. Three days away from being the hero and turning a business plan on the back of a napkin into $20m in 20 months, now I’m the goat that ran an award-winning startup into the ground and lost everyone’s money. That’s the way the world works, I suppose."

Gamasutra reached out to Gordon, who confirmed that Jawfish Games is shutting down due to a lack of financing.

"The gaming landscape in mobile has changed dramatically in the two years since the formation of the company," Gordon told Gamasutra. "User acquisition prices have risen by 388%, while revenue/player has increased by only 38% in the same time period. That headwind is seriously powerful and dangerous."

Gordon claims Jawfish Games has reconfigured to forward to its former employees, and is encouraging other companies in the industry with opening to get in touch.

"Any company would be lucky to secure the talent we had at Jawfish," said Gordon.

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