San Francisco-based start-up Rocket Ninja has come out of stealth mode and reportedly raised $3.5 million in its first round of funding, which will go toward its 3D game engine designed for social titles. The firm secured this financing from angel investors and an unnamed European billionaire.
Its new engine, codenamed Shr3D, is designed to offer browser-based 3D games that don't require any downloads or installations, as it uses Adobe's Flash platform. Rocket Ninja has already launched a 2D game on Facebook called Ocean Kingdom
, and it says that titles built with the 3D engine will begin rolling out some time next year.
Rocket Ninja intends to partner with third-party developers, which will make games that it will publish on Facebook. It aims to approve up to 20 game from independent studios in the coming months. The start-up says Shr3D allows developers to publish their titles quickly and make money by selling virtual goods.
Founded two years ago, the company currently has 23 employees, some of whom are veterans from Zynga and Slide. Rocket Ninja is headed by CEO Oded Pelled, executive producer Neil Haldar, and CTO Randy Fish. Pelled previously founded Israeli investment firm The22Group, as well as sites like GetFit.com and Best-TV.com.
The CEO told VentureBeat
that 3D games aren't successful on Facebook or other social networks when they require users to download plug-ins, as is the case with Unity 3D's engine. Pelled believes that Shr3d will be able to provide a next-generation experience, in terms of its games' graphics, without forcing users to download anything.