Game over? Heavily-funded iPad device maker Discovery Bay Games vanishes without explanation

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Heavy Restaurant Group now occupies the Pioneer Square office that Discovery Bay Games once worked from.

It looks like time has run out on Discovery Bay Games, a Seattle-based maker of gaming accessories and add-ons for tablet computers.

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Discovery Bay’s “Duo Gamer Controller” was the first-ever Apple-approved iOS game controller.

Sources tell GeekWire that the company closed its doors in May. We contacted Bob Belknap, VP of Finance at Discovery Bay Games, but he would neither confirm nor deny the closure. Belknap said he “couldn’t go into it right now” and did not want to say anything beyond that.

Discovery Bay’s office space in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood — Office 310 at 206 First Avenue South — is now occupied by Heavy Restaurant Group. They moved into the offices about a month ago and said they thought Discovery Bay went out of business.

Co-founded by Craig Olson in 2006, Discovery Bay started as a traditional board game maker and then began developing an iPad accessory known as the Duo, which works in conjunction with the iPad to bring physical hardware controls to games on the Apple tablet. The company, which partnered with mobile game developer Gameloft, marketed various games such as Duo Plink, Duo Pop and Duo Powered.

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Craig Olson

In June of 2012, shortly after former Microsoft and Clearwire executive Michael Sievert was appointed as CEO, Discovery Bay laid off an unspecified number of employees “to align with [its] new business model.” But then two months later, the company announced a $15 million round from Trilogy Equity Partners and Logitech, bringing total funding to about $40 million. Sievert left the company after just six months, taking on the chief marketing officer role at T-Mobile last November.

We reached out to Trilogy for comment and are waiting to hear back.

A number of signs points to Discovery Bay’s demise:

  • The company’s website, discoverybaygames.com, is on GoDaddy. When it was live, that website was redirected to duo-games.com, which is also on GoDaddy. A quick search on the WayBack Machine shows duo-games.com turning over to GoDaddy sometime in early May. 
  • The company’s social media accounts have gone quiet. The Twitter account @Duo_Games last tweeted on March 7. Oddly, on the same day the company tweeted that it was closing the “Discovery Bay Games” page, it said would use @Duo_Games for future updates. However, there have been no updates from @Duo_Games since March 7. There are also no Facebook pages for either Discovery Bay or Duo Games. 
  • The six items sold by “Duo Games” on Amazon are all on sale and extremely cheap. This Groupon that ended on Saturday discounted the Duo Gamer Controller by 75 percent. There was also a similar sale in March.

The Duo Gamer Controller was the first-ever Apple-approved iOS game controller. It came out to not-so-hot reviews, mainly because it only worked with a few games (Gameloft titles only) and was priced at $79.99. Discovery Bay slashed the price in half a few months after releasing it, but that didn’t appear to help a whole lot.

LinkedIn still lists 14 employees at the company. It’s unclear as to why  Discovery Bay shut down, and we’ll be updating this story as soon as we find out more.

  • FD

    Pathetic. $40m would have funded a lot of more interesting startups than these clowns. They must have been burning cash like crazy.