Cincinnati's Zoo Games brings independent game design to a larger audience

For those that love video games, a new one is an addictive, guilty pleasure. Some fan favorites come from a local company - Zoo Games.

From their offices near Rookwood Pavilion, Zoo Games finds and promotes new games and innovative ways to enjoy the gaming experience. The company specializes in moderately-priced, family-friendly games for the casual gamer: racing, game-show, action-adventure, and the like. Brands represented include Jeep, Hello Kitty, and Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson.

Some Zoo Games products are bundled with creative gaming accessories that put players into the action. Independent game designers bring fresh ideas; Zoo Games provides the marketing polish, and connects the finished products to distribution platforms.

"Zoo Games was originally based in New York," said Mary Kish, company marketing specialist.  "But as we began to focus primarily on sales and marketing as opposed to development, the need for a location with consumer marketing ability increased. Cincinnati was a prime location for these needs."

Currently, Zoo Games' Cincinnati headquarters employs 20. The company plans to recruit new talent for its finance, digital, and marketing departments.

Zoo Games recently launched IndiePubGames, a site where gaming enthusiasts and indie game developers can meet, game, and generate new ideas. May 1, IndiePub launched a Game Design Competition; the designer of the grand prize game receives $100,000 and a contract to have their game published. Gamers who register are entered to win an iPad each month, and a flat-screen 3D TV as a grand prize. Both contests end September 15.

Zoo Games launched in 2007; its leadership team was formed after a merger of three companies: Green Screen Interactive, DSi, and Zoo Publishing. Zoo Game's top leadership includes CEO Mark Seremet, who also co-founded Take 2, the world's sixth largest publisher of interactive entertainment software. David Rosenbaum, former president of DSi, was appointed president of Zoo Games in 2009. Steve Buchanan rounded out the leadership team with his appointment as COO in March 2010. He was president of West Chester-based Jack of all Games, a major video game distributor.

Today, Seremet, Rosenbaum, and Buchanan steer Zoo Games; the length of their successful involvement with video games gives them a wide-angle view of the fast-paced industry.

Writer: Elena Stevenson
Source: Mary Kish, Marketing Specialist, Zoo Games
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