PORTSMOUTH, N.H., Feb. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Bit Fry Game Studios, a fast-rising arcade-action sports video game developer for all platforms, announced that it continues its strong funding performance with an additional combined $3.5 million from 1Up Ventures, founded by Xbox co-creator Ed Fries, and BITKRAFT Esports Ventures, a leading venture capital fund focused on esports. The capital supports continued growth of Bit Fry's rapidly growing arcade-action sports gaming franchise, Ultimate Rivals™, which recently had its premiere launch on Apple Arcade.
"As we continue to expand our franchise into the competitive gaming space, I can't think of better capital and strategic partners than BITKRAFT and 1Up Ventures," comments Ben Freidlin, CEO and Founder of Bit Fry Game Studios. "BITKRAFT is the world's preeminent esports-focused fund, and Ed is a gaming luminary as co-creator of Xbox. Their investments demonstrate how our studio continues to attract leading strategic capital players in this highly competitive space."
"The sports video gaming category is overdue for innovation that's relevant to today's gamers, platforms and the broader entertainment culture," says Scott Rupp, a Founding General Partner of BITKRAFT. "Bit Fry CEO Ben Freidlin is a force of nature and the perfect person to disrupt this space. Ultimate Rivals is just getting started and will re-define this category for the long-term."
1Up Ventures General Partner and Xbox co-creator, Ed Fries agrees that there's been slow evolution of great sports videogames over the past 25 years, saying that the market has calcified. "Bit Fry's ability to execute on its vision has been nothing short of remarkable. They're continuing to attack an opportunity previously thought impenetrable and is long past due."
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 U.S. Women's National Soccer Team Players Association; as well as Wayne Gretzky.
In addition to continuing to expand its franchise 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, Competitive Gaming Strategy. Caras is an experienced esports shoutcaster, and classically trained in stick and ball sports broadcasting. He's been involved in esports, including games such as 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, Community and Engagement. She brings deep digital and social sports experience covering 20 different sports in roles from on-air hosting and streaming, to video production and branding.
Blending their experience and knowledge of both competitive gaming and sports, Caras and Oughton are uniquely suited to building out the studio's strategy as it looks to expand into the competitive gaming space.
About Bit Fry Game Studios, Inc. Bit Fry Games Studio, an independent developer and publisher of video games for all major platforms, is composed of technology, gaming, and entertainment veterans who have come together to disrupt and reinvigorate the sports video-game market. The company's first franchise, Ultimate Rivals, is a multi-sport, arcade-action sports platform featuring competitive online multi-player action for mobile, console and PC.
The first two games in the Ultimate Rivals franchise will feature athletes from the National Hockey League, National Basketball Association, the National Football League, Major League Baseball, Women's National Basketball Players Association, and the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team Players Association, as well as retired legends that include Wayne Gretzky.
Bit Fry was founded in 2013 with its first investment coming from former Red Sox owner and Vice-Chairman Les Otten, and now counts among its investors many leading names in sports and gaming including Xbox co-creator and managing partner of 1UP Ventures Ed Fries, MLB All-Star and World Series champion Ryan Howard, private equity fund Dugout Ventures, co-founding partner of March Capital Gregory Milken, Barclays' head of Equities Trading for the Americas Todd Sandoz, and the late NBA Commissioner Emeritus, David Stern. More information can be found at www.bitfry.com.
About BITKRAFT Esports Ventures An early and mid-stage investor focused on the esports sector, BITKRAFT discovers, supports, and scales esports startups globally along with the industry's most influential companies. BITKRAFT Esports Ventures was founded in 2017 by esports legend, Jens Hilgers. Hilgers previously founded ESL and served as CEO before selling the majority stake to MTG in 2015. In addition to serving as Managing Partner at BITKRAFT, Jens is the Co-Founder and Chairman of G2 Esports, and the CEO of DOJO Madness. BITKRAFT launched a Venture Fund in 2018, and is active in Berlin, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
About 1Up Ventures 1Up Ventures is a new fund focused on building a community of independent game developers. Founded by Ed Fries, former vice president of Microsoft Game Studios and a co-founder of Xbox, Fries opened the fund in 2019. 1Up Ventures is located in Kirkland, Washington.