Tech Power Player John Yoo Wants to Save You from Mindless Games

The tech industry is notoriously dog-eat-dog. Breaking into the big time isn't just about having a good idea (although you'll need one), or having a strong work ethic (you'll need that too), it's about being consistently tenacious, creative, and forward-thinking. To celebrate those who exemplify these qualities, Gizmodo has teamed up with the Galaxy Nexus™ from Sprint to bring you the Tech Power Players series.

Over the past few days Gizmodo has been profiling industry leaders who have transformed the world of mobile gaming, like Brian Wane, C.E.O of SMERC Designs, who we talked to on Tuesday. Today, Gizmodo is taking a look at the career of John Yoo, former Zynga bigwig and founder of Rumble Games.


If you ask game developer John Yoo, social gaming online has become stagnant. "Mindless clicks" are the words he uses to describe the majority of in-browser and mobile games. While he admits that those games are appealing to casual gamers, there is a barely-served market—the Call of Duty and World of Warcraft players of the world—that he wants to serve so badly, he started a company, Rumble Games, in 2011, to do it.

Yoo's resume is a would-be engineer/developer's dream. He worked for Blizzard Entertainment, Cryptic Studios, Perpetual Entertainment, and was the lead designer on Zynga's CityVille. He was the man behind the item and economic systems of World of Warcraft and performed essential leadership functions during the development of games like City of Heroes, City of Villains, and Star Trek Online. That was all the information eventual financial backers Google Ventures and Khosla Ventures needed to prompt them to ink checks for a total of $15 million before Rumble's first birthday—before it had taken a single game to market.

Rumble's been working hard and putting that money to good use. Since closing its Series A late last year, Rumble has grown to over 30 employees and is currently beta-testing its first game, KingsRoad, a medieval RPG chock full of mystery, intrigue and illusion, castles, knights, battles, and dragons. With each development, Rumble strives to deliver quality gameplay on mobile devices and the web without cumbersome downloads and installations.

And just because the platform is lean, doesn't mean the experience should be. "We're trying to make high-quality games that people would pay for in a boxed game, but deliver that as a free-to-play experience," he told Business Insider,. "All the people in our company, they are guys who want to play good games ... but don't find anything on the browser or social networks or on mobile or tablets. We want to provide that experience to our players." So, as mobile gaming technology develops and smartphone users become more invested in gameplay, Rumble Games, under the helm of John Yoo, will be doing just that.


The Tech Power Players series is inspired by the Galaxy Nexus™ from Sprint. Featuring unlimited entertainment from Google Play on the latest version of Android, the Galaxy Nexus is changing the world of mobile gaming. Head here for more info, and check back soon for the next installment of the Tech Power Player series.