Mystery buyer purchases sinking startup Ohai
An unnamed buyer has reportedly paid "a relatively low price" for social game startup Ohai, according to VentureBeat. Ohai, which has been shopping around for buyers for quite some time according to an unnamed source, were established in 2008 by Susan Wu. A former venture capitalist and competitive gamer, Wu formed the company in 2008 with many game industry veterans including Scott Hartsman and Don Neufeld, and Blake Commagere (noted developer of the popular early social game Vampires).
Ohai had early promise as an social game startup. TechCrunch referred to their "superstar team" in early 2009, and CEO Susan Wu has been present on multiple "best of" lists including Most Creative People 2010. Ohai had the advantage of using the existing successful social game brand, Vampires, and built their Flash MMOG City of Eternals based on its IP. Prior to its launch, co-founder and VP Production Scott Hartsman and Blake Commagere (CTO) left the company after working with Ohai less than one year. The game launched without them to early promise yet little followthrough.
According to AppData, City of Eternals never reached 1,000 daily active players. The game did end up launching on its own standalone destination site, but never made waves in the social game space. Ohai began work on another title, Unicorn Parade, a clunky Facebook game that has soft released but currently has less than 1,000 monthly active players and feels unpolished and not ready for primetime. Susan Wu is now no longer CEO and has been replaced by Rex Ishibashi, former Ohai board member.
With a history like this, we're not sure what this mystery buyer is hoping to get from Ohai. It could be the acquisition of in-house developed technology. It could be an inexpensive talent acquisition, though the majority of Ohai's talent has since moved on to other things. Blake Commagere has been working on his own stealth startup, and Scott Hartsman left with much of his former team to run the development at Trion Worlds (publisher and developer of the game Rift).