By Brianna Bailey
Copyright © 2013, The Oklahoma Publishing Company
Oklahoma City-based GoldFire Studios hopes to be able to afford a bigger office by next year.
The city’s only video game startup is currently housed in a dimly lit but orderly one-room office equipped with a refrigerator, a sink and long table cluttered with several computers in the back of a downtown building.
It’s there that 24-year-old GoldFire founder and CEO James Simpson and 28-year-old partner Luke Simpkins, GoldFire’s chief technology officer, spend most of their days writing code.
“We hope to be able to afford an office with a window by next year,” Simpson said.
It’s about to get a little more crowded at GoldFire headquarters. The company of two is preparing to add three more people to its staff after receiving a round of seed funding from investors.
GoldFire was able to secure the funding after participating in the Oklahoma City-based business accelerator VentureSpur’s inaugural program in 2012. The program culminated with GoldFire pitching its business plan to rooms of potential investors in Oklahoma City and Dallas.
“It helped us find mentors and connect with potential investors,” Simpson said.
Simpson and Simpkins are working toward launching their latest game, CasinoRPG. Set on the Las Vegas Strip, the game combines role-playing elements with casino-style games.
GoldFire has embarked on a fundraising campaign to help launch the game through the crowd funding website kickstarter.com. GoldFire set out to raise $20,000to help launch CasinoRPG and had pledges worth more than $18,200 by late Monday.
Simpson hopes to have CasinoRPG in beta testing by the end of February.
Simpkins credits the company’s successful crowdsourcing efforts on a growing online following the company has gained from games like PokerRPG, which GoldFire touts as the web’s first role-playing poker game.
GoldFire also is in the process of developing goldfire.me, which Simpson and Simpkins plan to develop into a platform for gamers to play web-based games on any device — even television. The network supports only three games, all developed by GoldFire, but the company plans to make web-based games created by other companies available on the network, which allows users to play against their friends online in real time.
Simpson started GoldFire in 2008 while he was still a student at the University of Oklahoma. He started writing code for his own video games at age 13.
Simpkins was working as a programmer in Oklahoma City when he met Simpson in Austin at South by Southwest in 2011 and the two decided to partner.
The partners aren’t daunted by being Oklahoma City’s sole video game company.
“I think it gives us a competitive edge — especially when it comes to hiring people,” Simpson said.