Bit Fry Game Studios has raised $3.5 million to make arcade-action sports mobile games such as its Ultimate Rivals: The Rink.
The Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based Bit Fry raised the money from 1Up Ventures, founded by Xbox co-creator Ed Fries; and Bitkraft Esports Ventures, a venture capital fund focused on esports. The capital supports continued growth of Bit Fry’s arcade-action sports gaming franchise, Ultimate Rivals, which had its premiere launch on Apple Arcade during The Game Awards in December.
Ben Freidlin, CEO and founder of Bit Fry Game Studios, showed me the game during a briefing in December. In a statement, he said that Bitkraft and 1Up Ventures will be strategic partners that can help the studio attract more talent and strategic capital in a highly competitive market.
Scott Rupp, a founding general partner of Bitkraft, said in a statement that the sports game category is overdue for innovation on the broader entertainment platforms that are popular with gamers today. He thinks Friedlin is ripe to disrupt the space.
And Fries said in a statement he agrees that great sports video games have evolved too slowly and the market has calcified. He said Bit Fry’s ability to execute on its vision has been remarkable and they will continue the attack.
Bit Fry’s licensing agreements are with 10 major professional sports organizations, including the National Hockey League, the National Hockey League Players Association; the National Basketball Association; the National Basketball Players Association; the National Football League Players Association; Major League Baseball; the Major League Baseball Players Association; the Women’s National Basketball Association; the Women’s National Basketball Players Association; the US Women’s National Soccer Team; as well as Wayne Gretzky.
Freidlin started Bit Fry Game Studios in 2013, and his first investor was former Red Sox owner and vice chairman Les Otten.
In addition to continuing to expand its franchise of sports titles into additional sports, the studio announced two key hires in support of its growing interest in the competitive gaming and esports space:
- Nick Caras (BreakyCPK) joins as Bit Fry’s new vice president for competitive gaming strategy. Caras is an experienced esports caster, was trained in sports broadcasting, and has been involved in esports and on notable games including Heroes of Newerth, Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, World of Warcraft and more.
- Hali Oughton joins as Bit Fry’s new vice president for community and engagement. She brings deep digital and social sports covering 20 different sports in roles from on-air hosting and streaming, to video production and branding.