By John Cook
U4iA, a stealthy gaming company developing what it dubs “hardcore, browser-based games for the connected generation,” has raised $5.6 million in new financing from undisclosed strategic partners in the games industry. That brings total funding the company, which emerged on the scene last fall to about $7 million.
U4iA, pronounced “euphoria, hasn’t disclosed the name of its first gaming title, which is expected to be unveiled some time this summer. But co-founder and CEO Dusty Welch, the former senior vice president and head of publishing at Activision, said that it will resonate with hard-core gamers who play titles such as Counterstrike, Call of Duty and Halo.
“We are designing a game that can appeal to more of a core, sticky, engaged audience, but do it in a very disruptive and social manner, so that any platform, any distribution, any technology that a consumer is looking for, we are providing a deep connected experience for them,” said Welch. He added that game players will be able to play across PCs, Macs and mobile devices both synchronously and asynchronously, with patents pending on the technology.
In the next month or so, Welch said they plan to announce partnership agreements with key players in the gaming industry. Some of those have provided the startup funding for the company, with Welch declining to offer names.
“We went completely private with all of our funding sources, and, of course, we did the VC rounds and know those players, but we were really fortunate to find the right kind of partnerships that brought strategic funding in,” said Welch.
Describing the company as in “deep development,” Welch said that they plan to use the funds for continued game design as well as marketing.
U4iA has operations split between southern California and Bellevue, with about 20 employees. It was co-founded by Welch and Chris Archer, the former studio head and director of development at Sony Online Entertainment who previously spent 13 years at Activision.
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