CEO Michael Martinez highlights lack of ‘great distribution strategy’ as biggest failure by team

Ex-Zynga devs’ studio JuiceBox closes because ‘our games weren’t good enough’

HonorBound and StormBorn creator JuiceBox Games has been shut down after three and a half years in the business.

The mobile outlet was founded by former Zynga developers including CEO Michael Martinez, who revealed in a Medium post the straightforward – if blunt – reason the studio failed to survive.

“We never built the game that could serve as JuiceBox’s revenue engine? – ?funding infrastructure build out and development of more games,” he wrote.

“Quite simply, we didn’t build good enough games. Which begs the question, why didn’t we build good enough games? That’s because game making is incredibly hard! It’s a devilishly challenging problem: a creative act that needs to work as a business.”

Martinez goes on in the detailed post-mortem to say that “our company essentially bet itself on each game launch”.

While HonorBound may have found traction, landing near the top of the iOS App Store charts, follow-up StormBorn only achieved a tenth of its predecessors’ download figures.

“There are two ways for a game to become a business,” Martinez observed. “One: [A] huge number of installs (either IP or viral)??make enough money with okay metrics. Two: Great core metrics enables profitable growth (either organic or paid).

“Truthfully, our titles failed on both fronts. Not a ton of installs and not great core metrics.”

Admitting his own mistakes, Martinez said: “Building a great product is a requirement and it can work, but make it easier on yourself with a great distribution strategy.

“My failure to address this (whether through IP, marketing budget/expertise, unique take on community/YouTube/Twitch, or eSports) is the largest reason for our failure.”

Regarding the fate of the 36-strong team, he declined to offer details, but mournfully concluded: “We attempted to build something great and valuable in a complicated and challenging environment.

“Despite our best efforts, we did not succeed.”

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