Paris-based mobile games studio Oh BiBi has raised $21 million and now hopes to take on “Fortnite.”
The series B investment was led by Atomico, which has previously backed games companies such as Supercell (the studio behind “Clash of Clans”) and Rovio (“Angry Birds”), with participation from French VC fund Korelya Capital.
To date, Oh BiBi has specialised in racing games, but now wants to branch out into new genres more associated with PC and console gaming. A new shooter game called “FRAG” is the focus of its efforts.
“What always struck us as weird was why no shooter was super successful on mobile, because shooter is the biggest genre on console and PC, and so far the mobile market was eluding it,” said Martial Valery, the 34-year-old cofounder and COO of Oh BiBi.
Atomico partner Mattias Ljungman told Business Insider that Oh BiBi’s idea to move into the shooter genre is what attracted Atomico to put up about two thirds of the funding for its series B. “That was sort of what got our interest because they said look, there are some really big genres that have yet to be tapped,” he said.
Atomico was also impressed by Valery and Stanislas’ track record at their former studio, Gameloft. “It was pretty obvious when we met them that they were pretty unique guys. Between them, they have 18 years experience, 150 titles under their belt,” Ljungman added. These games include hits such as “Minion Rush” and “Ashphalt.”
Taking on “Fortnite”
There is one game bucking the trend of low numbers of shooter games on mobile: The wildly popular battle-royale game “Fortnite,” which was brought to iOS this spring, and will be coming to Android this summer.
“The key difference is that ‘Fortnite’ is a port from console and PC, while our game is designed exclusively for iOS and Android from the start,” Valery said.
He said “FRAG” will be more accessible than “Fortnite,” which currently requires 2 gigabytes of memory.
“Our upcoming game is only 100 megabytes, so [it’s] something very optimised for mobile that people will be able to access super quickly, and without their battery being killed by all the processing power,” he said.
Whereas “Fortnite” has 100 players facing off, “FRAG” will be one-to-one, with each opponent controlling a team of five “heroes.” Valery said that in creating these heroes, Oh BiBi drew a lot of inspiration from Pixar, describing them as “super-colourful and soft-edged.”
Tackling new genres
According to Valery, Oh BiBi’s ambition to adapt PC and console-centric genres to the mobile platform are not limited to “FRAG.”
“We think in terms of sports games there is a huge opportunity that has not been completely fulfilled on mobile, there is not an actual football game that can rival ‘FIFA’,” he said. “The sandbox type of game, à la ‘GTA’ (Grand Theft Auto) is also something that has not been successfully brought to market.”
His believes developers haven’t been able to adapt PC and console game genres for mobile because they stick too closely to the source material.
“I think what has been problematic for a lot of developers before is that they’ve tried to take these genres very literally and bring them to mobile without much adaptation in terms of session length, or controls, or accessibility,” he said. “What we’re trying to bring is really a secret sauce that can make these genres tick and work on these platforms as well.”
A beta version of “FRAG” will be available on iOS and Android next month, and the game will launch fully by the beginning of next year.