YoYo Games was founded in 2007 by a group of leading Games and Entertainment industry executives including James North-Hearn, CEO of Foundation9, Michel Cassius, ex European Marketing Director (Xbox) and Spencer Hyman, formerly COO of Last.FM. The company, headed by CEO, Sandy Duncan (ex-Vice President of Xbox Europe), was created to support the founders' belief that a new generation of games development talent and devices was emerging and there was an opportunity to incubate and showcase some of the very best of this talent on these new and existing platforms.
In 2007 YoYo Games acquired the rights to GameMaker from Professor Mark Overmars. Mark, who launched GameMaker in 1999, joined the YoYo Games board at that time. He has since become an active member of the Executive management team.
GameMaker is available today for free from the YoYo Games website (www.yoyogames.com) and has been downloaded more than 5 million times since 2007. In addition GameMaker is the teaching product of choice for more than 5,000 schools and Universities worldwide. In September 2011, YoYo Games introduced GameMaker:HTML5, unleashing the games development talent of hundreds of thousands of gamers on the web.
YoYo Games has three divisions:
- Tools (GameMaker)
Game Maker was initially developed by Prof Mark Overmars in 1999. GameMaker is the world’s most widely used Game Development product and has been downloaded more than 10 million times. The demand continues to increase and Game Maker downloads more than 5,000 times every day from the YoYo Games website.
- Community (sandbox.yoyogames.com)
The YoYo Games' website allows users to upload, share, and play the games they’ve created using GameMaker. The community of more than 1 million young developers worldwide has created over 300,000 games with approximately 150 new games uploaded per day.
- Publishing (YoYo Studios)
YoYo Studios began publishing the best content created by the YoYo Games Community In October 2010. These games are distributed on Apple™'s iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Google Android™ Devices and on Sony's PlayStation® Network. With new games published every week YoYo Studios already includes award winning games such as "Karoshi" and "They Need to Be Fed" as well as the iPad chart topping hit "Simply Solitaire HD".
Board of Directors
Prior to YoYo Games, Sandy spearheaded the European games business as vice president for Xbox Europe for Microsoft. He has over 16 years experience in the industry and is a self proclaimed hardcore gamer. He founded YoYo Games in 2007 with Mark Overmars in the UK to support the future development of GameMaker and develop a community of developers and casual game players.
For over ten years, Mark was the creator and sole developer of GameMaker, his drive and vision have brought GameMaker to where it is today, and he is still one of the driving forces inside YoYo Games. Mark is a Professor at the Institute of Information and Computing Sciences at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. He heads the Center for Advanced Gaming and Simulation, that performs research in areas such as 3D modeling, animation, virtual characters, adaptive game play and artistic aspects of games.
James was a founder of Gremlin and VP of Publishing at Infogrammes/Atari before he helped to found Sumo-Digital, a 150 strong development studio in the UK. Before Sumo, he was Director of Development with Gremlin Games before being appointed Head of Publishing (Europe) with Infogrames. James has established strong relationships with publishers across Europe and the US in the games industry and is currently the CEO of Foundation 9 Entertainment Inc since 2008.
Michel is an experienced MD/CEO of Games and Internet businesses, working both in start-ups and within major international companies. He has been voted 3 times in the top 50 'New Media Visionaries' by the specialist UK publication New Media Age. Co-founder and Director of YoYo Games, he previously spent few years at Apple before joining Electronic Arts running their online business in Europe. He then joined Sandy at Xbox as director of publishing. He is currently the CEO of Gekko and Vice-Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Funcom.
Spencer spent a lot of his formative years working in Sales and Marketing for Hasbro in Japan and the Far East. After that he helped setup and develop Amazon’s UK subsidiary launching its Software, Video Games, Electronics and Toys in the UK and EU where he met Sandy and got involved with YoYo Games. From 2005 to 2009, Spencer was the COO of Last.fm and successfully helped the sale of $280 million and integration to CBS. As of January 2011 he is now a Venture Partner with Wellington partners sharing his vast experience in the Digital Media Sector on both sides of the Atlantic.