Griptonite Games
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Griptonite Games

Foundation 9 Entertainment, Inc.
IndustryVideo game industry
FoundedMarch 29, 2005; 14 years ago (2005-03-29) in Los Angeles, California
  • Jon Goldman
  • Andrew Ayre
  • Douglas Hare
  • Gary Priest
  • Mark Loughridge
  • Richard Hare
  • Jeff Vavasour
  • Steven Sardegna
  • Larry Kelly
Defunct2015 (2015)
Key people
  • Jon Goldman (CEO; 2005-2008)
  • James North-Hearn (CEO; 2008-2015)
Number of employees
750+[1] (2007)

Foundation 9 Entertainment, Inc. was an American video game company based in Irvine, California. The company was formed in March 2005 through the merger of video game developers Backbone Entertainment and The Collective.


Foundation 9 Entertainment was founded on March 29, 2005, in Los Angeles, through the merger of video game developer Backbone Entertainment and The Collective.[2] The company's initial management board consisted of Jon Goldman (chief executive officer), Andrew Ayre and Douglas Hare (co-presidents), Gary Priest and Mark Loughridge (co-chairmen), Richard Hare (chief creative officer), Jeff Vavasour (vice-president of Canadian operations), Steven Sardegna (chief financial officer), and Larry Kelly (chief operating officer).[3] Shortly after the merger, on April 12, Foundation 9 acquired and integrated Pipeworks Software.[4] Subsequently, Dan Duncalf, the company's president and co-founder, joined Foundation 9's board of directors.[5] In May, Foundation 9 acquired an equity stake in Circle of Confusion, a Hollywood management company, to establish a strategic partnership.[6]

On June 1, 2006, investment firm Francisco Partners (as advised by UBS Securities) agreed to provide US$150 million in funding to Foundation 9 over a time frame of several years, with additional funding to be provided when needed.[7] The investment was followed by the acquisitions of Shiny Entertainment from Atari in October 2006,[8]Amaze Entertainment and related studios in November 2006,[9] and Sumo Digital and its Indian sub-studio in August 2007.[10] Under the terms of Shiny's acquisition, the studio would co-locate and merge with The Collective.[8] The merger was formally announced in October 2007, at which point both studios had moved to new 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) offices in Irvine, California.[11] The amalgam was named Double Helix Games in March 2008.[12] In January 2008, Foundation 9 promoted David Mann (previously chief operating officer), Chris Charla and Jack Brummet to president, vice-president of business development, and vice-president of quality assurance, respectively,[13] followed by James North-Hearn, one of Sumo Digital's founders, becoming the chief executive officer of the company in March.[14]

In July 2008, Foundation 9 reinstated Griptonite Games and Fizz Factor, two studios absorbed into Amaze in 2005, under their original brandings.[15] However, in July 2009, Fizz Factor was closed down entirely, while Amaze was merged into Griptonite and Double Helix suffered staff cuts.[16] FXLabs, based in Hyderabad, India, was acquired by Foundation 9 in October 2010 and became part of Griptonite under the name Griptonite India.[17] Griptonite was sold to Glu Mobile in August 2011 in exchange for 6 million shares of Glu's common stock.[18] Backbone's location in Vancouver had been closed in May 2009, and in October 2012, its ImaginEngine studio was closed as well, while its primary location in Emeryville, California, laid off the majority of its staff.[19][20][21] In February 2014, Double Helix was sold to Amazon.[22] Later that year, under advisory from GP Bullhound, Foundation 9 sold Pipeworks to Italian publisher Digital Bros, and Sumo Digital to its own management, the latter of which was backed by NorthEdge Capital.[23][24][25] In 2015, Foundation 9's board of directors elected to dissolve the company.[]



  1. ^ Martin, Matt (April 12, 2007). "Solid Foundations". Archived from the original on April 14, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ Feldman, Curt (March 29, 2005). "The Collective, Backbone laying Foundation 9". GameSpot. Archived from the original on April 17, 2014. Retrieved 2019.
  3. ^ Jenkins, David (March 29, 2005). "Backbone Entertainment, The Collective To Merge". Gamasutra.
  4. ^ Maragos, Nich (April 12, 2005). "Foundation 9 Acquires Pipeworks Software". Gamasutra.
  5. ^ Gamespot Staff (April 12, 2005). "Pipeworks laid into Foundation 9". GameSpot.
  6. ^ Gibson, Ellie (May 27, 2005). "Foundation 9 teams up with Hollywood management specialists". Archived from the original on December 1, 2018. Retrieved 2019.
  7. ^ Carless, Simon (June 1, 2006). "Foundation 9 Gets 'Significant' Funding Investment". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on February 3, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  8. ^ a b Dobson, Jason (October 2, 2006). "Foundation 9 Acquires Shiny From Atari". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on January 31, 2018. Retrieved 2019.
  9. ^ Gamespot Staff (November 14, 2006). "Foundation 9 Amazed". GameSpot. Archived from the original on November 28, 2018. Retrieved 2019.
  10. ^ Elliott, Phil (August 17, 2007). "Foundation 9 buys Sumo". Archived from the original on April 7, 2015. Retrieved 2019.
  11. ^ Hatfield, Daemon (October 9, 2007). "Shiny, Collective Merged into Mega Studio". IGN. Archived from the original on April 28, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  12. ^ Androvich, Mark (March 27, 2008). "Double Helix is new Foundation 9 studio". Archived from the original on June 25, 2018. Retrieved 2019.
  13. ^ Martin, Matt (January 16, 2008). "Foundation 9 promotes three execs". Archived from the original on October 9, 2017. Retrieved 2019.
  14. ^ Androvich, Mark (March 17, 2008). "North-Hearn named Foundation 9 CEO". Archived from the original on October 9, 2017. Retrieved 2019.
  15. ^ Caoili, Eric (July 21, 2008). "F9E Reinstates Griptonite, Fizz Factor Brands". Gamasutra.
  16. ^ Graft, Kris (July 29, 2009). "Foundation 9 Confirms Staff Cuts, Merges Studios". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved 2019.
  17. ^ Spencer, Tiffany (March 21, 2011). "Griptonite India (Formerly FXLabs) Announces Expansion Plans in Hyderabad". Press Trust of India. Archived from the original on October 11, 2015. Retrieved 2019.
  18. ^ Cifaldi, Frank (August 2, 2011). "Glu Mobile Picks Up Griptonite, Blammo After Narrowing Losses". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on November 1, 2017. Retrieved 2019.
  19. ^ Lavender, Terry (November 18, 2009). "Is it Game Over for Vancouver's Video Game Industry? Not quite yet". Vancouver Observer. Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved 2019.
  20. ^ Takahashi, Dean (October 12, 2012). "ImaginEngine game studio shuts down (exclusive)". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on December 1, 2018. Retrieved 2019.
  21. ^ Rose, Mike (October 9, 2012). "Layoffs at digital game studio Backbone Entertainment". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on December 1, 2018. Retrieved 2019.
  22. ^ Farokhmanesh, Megan (February 5, 2014). "Double Helix Games acquired by Amazon (update)". Polygon. Archived from the original on April 8, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  23. ^ Buri McDonald, Sherri (February 21, 2016). "Pipeworks progress". The Register-Guard. Archived from the original on April 15, 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  24. ^ Rose, Mike (November 11, 2014). "Sumo Digital has separated from its parent company". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on February 14, 2017. Retrieved 2019.
  25. ^ "GP Bullhound advises Foundation 9 Entertainment on the sale of Sumo Digital and Pipeworks". GP Bullhound. November 18, 2014. Archived from the original on August 7, 2016. Retrieved 2019.

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