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Former Funzio developers launch tablet-focused mobile company Wormhole Games

Industry veterans James Kelm and Jamil Moledina launched their new company Wormhole Games today, a social mobile developer with emphasis on creating multiplayer games for the tablet market.

Kelm and Moledina hope to guide the industry into the next generation of gaming by meshing the "fun factor" of classic games and the community aspect of free-to-play social mobile titles. Emphasis will be on tablets because both founders agree that the platform offers unique creative opportunities and display options in a consistently expanding marketplace.

"If you're designing for tablets you're designing for high resolution and connectivity and a social community," Kelm explained. "In a marketplace that has the expansive capability, it seems the tablet marketplace is the one most likely to migrate to the television marketplaces."

Moledina says Wormhole will pull equally from traditional industry models and the growing social mobile sector, creating a "unique DNA" for approaching the challenges of making mobile games that will foster more long-term engagement.

"We both remember playing and working on games that were genuinely fun, back when people didn't necessarily distinguish between casual and hardcore."

Both Moledina and Kelm previously worked for social developer Funzio, and left the company after it was acquired by Japanese mobile company GREE last May. They took some time off and soon discovered they shared similar ideas regarding the future of social mobile gaming.

"We realized we had very similar overlapping views of where the industry is today and where it can and should go," said Moledina. "We both remember playing and working on games that were genuinely fun, back when people didn't necessarily distinguish between casual and hardcore. That sense of fun transcends the compulsion to play you see with modern social games."

As for naming the company "Wormhole," Moledina says he and Kelm hoped the name would attract developers with similar sensibilities and ideas about the industry.

"A wormhole is a theoretical bridge that separates parts of the universe," he explained. "That's key to our thinking in terms of how we look at opportunities between what the 'traditional' industry has achieved on one half of the universe, and what the social mobile industry has achieved on the other side."

Prior to working at Funzio, Moledina headed organization for the annual Game Developers Conference for several years before moving into business development at publisher Electronic Arts. Kelm was a senior worldwide product planner at Apple working on the iBook before he transitioned to a product manager position at Google, where he focused on creating mobile solution for advertising, shopping and electronic commerce.

"At the end of the day we want to energize a community of players with games they love," Kelm said. "And right now they love tablets. We'll launch our games and see where our community goes."

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