Winning the Game of ‘Game of Thrones’: A Disruptor Beam Tale

There once was a man named Jon, who dreamed of the day when social games would go beyond the continuous click-fest seen in many social games to feature more substantial gameplay – which many gamers know and love from more traditional console and PC games. Jon Radoff, a serial entrepreneur, founded Boston-based Disruptor Beam with this philosophy and the goal of disrupting the world of social gaming as we know it.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jon for a number of years as a consultant, initially with GamerDNA, his previous social media start-up focused on game player behavior. So, when he approached me about this new Massachusetts-based company, I was more than eager to get on board. The local game ‘scene’ is filled with numerous game development studios and game-based business, tons of talent and a supportive, productive community. Let’s just say Boston was a natural fit for Disruptor Beam’s home base.

Jon launched the company in 2010 after securing funding support from technology and gaming entrepreneurs in the Boston area, including top management from Cambridge-based Harmonix, Common Angels, and other successful entrepreneurs.  Disruptor Beam first made a name for itself working with local game publisher Game Show Network (GSN) to develop their social games portfolio. Shortly thereafter, Jon had the opportunity to pitch the first ever social game based on the hugely popular ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series of books to the author himself, George R.R. Martin.

A fan of Game of Thrones for many years prior, Jon described to George his idea of bringing the world of Westeros to fans in a social game setting. It makes sense - allow players to live out the social complexity that George created, the strife, betrothals, backstabbing and other awesomeness - in a social game! George loved the idea and work commenced. Securing one of the biggest fantasy licenses in the market today was a stunning success for Jon and his venture-backed start-up.

Game of Thrones Ascent launched on Facebook on February 21st of this year, followed by a launch on Kongregate.com. The game has since seen close to a million installs and the company recently closed another round of funding to support the expansion of the Disruptor Beam team. Hank Howie, long time industry veteran and the former co-founder of Waltham-based Blue Fang Games, joined Disruptor Beam last summer as COO and VP of Business Development. Under his leadership, the company also just secured a publishing partnership with social game industry leader Zynga – to help expand the game’s reach even further. The Disruptor Beam team is moving into a new office space in Framingham this month and has big plans – to create even more highly enjoyable social games based in the worlds that people love most. 

So, I’d say that Jon and the Disruptor Beam team have lived happily ever after, but this is clearly just the beginning of their story…

Elicia Basoli is a communications and PR consultant serving the video game industry. Born-and-raised in Massachusetts, she is particularly passionate about the New England games community working for a number of local developers and contributing to the MIT Enterprise Forum’s Games Circle, the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute and the Boston Festival of Indie Games. Follow Elicia at @EliciaBuzz or learn more at www.EliciaBasoli.com.