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PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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Riot Games Secures An Additional $7 Million in Funding

by Rainier on July 10, 2008 @ 12:29 p.m. PDT

Last year Riot Games, comprised of former EA, Sony, Microsoft, Sega, Atari, Konami, Activision, and Midway employees, bagged $1.5 million independent equity funding, and today it announced that Benchmark Capital and FirstMark Capital has invested $7M to finance development of its, still unannounced, new action RPG/RTS hybrid title.

Riot’s development is fueled by the passion of its founders, Brandon Beck, CEO, and Marc Merrill, President and Chief Marketing Officer. The two have brought together respected industry veterans, creating a leading edge development studio comprised of core members of the teams behind some of the industry’s most popular titles, including Ultima Online, Dungeon Siege, Jak & Dexter, Heroes of Might & Magic, Neverwinter Nights 2, Sly Cooper, Total Annihilation and many more. The world-class team is already at work, building the company’s soon-to-be announced title on Riot’s robust technology platform.

Riot’s board of directors welcomes games industry veteran Mitch Lasky, a partner at Benchmark Capital, and Rick Heitzmann, a partner at FirstMark Capital. Lasky is the former founder & CEO of JAMDAT, former EVP of Online & Mobile at Electronic Arts and former head of Worldwide Studios for Activision. Heitzmann brings more than 10 years of entrepreneurship, operating and investing experience as an investor and board member of consumer technology emerging companies including Live Gamer, weplay and Clickable.

“The online game industry is ripe for new ways to bring products to market and new ways to acquire customers,” said Mitch Lasky, partner at Benchmark Capital. “Riot’s unique approach to building customer relationships and its innovative content strategy will make Riot an online publisher to watch.”

Riot Games is the brainchild of Beck, 26, and Merrill, 27. Beck was formerly a consultant at leading global business and strategy consulting firm Bain & Company, where he specialized in media, entertainment and private equity; Merrill previously managed corporate marketing at Advanstar Communications, one of the largest business to business media companies in the US. The two founders bring to the company the unique combination of an authentic love for games and business savvy.

“Tremendous opportunities continue to emerge in the online games industry as distribution and business models evolve,” said Brandon Beck, CEO, Riot Games. “As independent, direct-to-consumer developers with the vision of treating games as services, we are focused on delivering first-rate game experiences to highly targeted online audiences.”

Riot’s titles will combine premium online multiplayer session-based games with best-of-breed online services, powered by the company’s own leading technology platform. Beck and Merrill plan for the Riot platform to provide robust community services that surpass the current industry standard in tools such as matchmaking, stat-tracking, ladders and more.

“Online gamers are not shy about asking for what they want,” Marc Merrill, president and CMO, commented. “Riot is responding with a commitment to creating premium titles that focus on gameplay and replayability in order to build deep, ongoing relationships with gamer communities.”

Riot Games will announce the details of their first title later this year.

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