War Games: Invasion Interactive’s Rising Eagle Plays in Israel

Israel is no doubt one of the leading countries in the weapon industry. These days, a young Israeli start up aims to supply sophisticated and futuristic weapons, but in a safer place, the gaming field.

For the past 4 years, Invasion Interactive has worked on their first game, “Rising Eagle: a futuristic Infantry Warfare”, a multi-player, team based, tactical first shooter game. The game sets the player in the year 2040, where the US army has to face 2 major and equal forces, the Chinese and the Europeans. In the latest version released last week (download link below), players are able to simulate military campaigns in Gaza, or play realistic battles between the Israeli infantry unit Golani Vs. the Iranian revolutionary guards.

The video game industry’s new frontier is military simulators. The US Army has created a video game unit and will invest $50 million over five years on games and gaming systems designed to prepare soldiers for combat. One of the most famous games known in the space was America’s Army, which is distributed for free and considered to be the most effective and high quality recruitment effort for the US Army. Rising Eagle steps up to the plate in this case, with realistic battlefield scenes and futuristic weaponry.

In a recent interview, 34 year old Yaron Dotan, CEO of Invasion Interactive, said:

“Since I was 8 years old I used to play computer games all the time. 4 years ago when I’ve talked to other developers about the idea to create a real game (Triple A game, M.S), they thought I was insane”.

Those who thought Dotan went crazy had good reasons doubt him. Several Israeli attempts to develop a serious game have failed to gain serious traction. Some of the contenders in the space include: Pixel with “Blue Star”, Ranan Glazman with “Pipush” and Majorem with “Ballerium“.

Invasion Interactive signed a world-wide distribution contract with the American company IGN which owns GameSpy, FilePlanet and Direct to Drive. Dotan did not revel how much money the Rising Eagle development project cost, but market estimations are talking about 2 million dollars, he confirmed that development costs were well below $2 million. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, one of the investors in the company is Kevin Burmeister, the Sydney-based businessman behind the popular P2P sharing program Kazaa. The investors only joined the company months after the game was released. Today, Rising Eagle is a free to download and play game. Invasion Interactive makes its income from in-game advertising done in cooperation with IGA-World Wide, one of the leading in-game advertising companies in the world

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According to Dotan, high quality games can be produced in Israel at a fraction of what it would cost in the US or Europe. This fact may be critical given that only 4% of the games developed turn up making profits according to a recent study published by Electronic Entertainment Design and Research company. To those who want to create, develop and build the Israeli gaming industry, but are afraid to fail, listen to what Dotan has to say:

“learn from our mistakes and jump on board, this Israeli gaming industry will not be rising because some venture capital fund decided to invest in it, it will raise from the bottom (Just like an eagle… M.S) only if we dare to dream and do, there are many Israelis developers that are very familiar with the gaming field and they can do a great job and lead us, the Israelis, to the top of the world gaming industry”.

Despite the sensibility that might be caused by the setting of the game in Muslim countries, the company spared no punches. Rising Eagle includes several billboard-size photographs ridiculing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Want to play? Download Rising Eagle for free.

– UPDATE from Yaron Dotan:
1. Kevin Bermeister is not invested directly in Invasion Interactive, he is a part of a group that invested in the last few months AFTER Rising Eagle was released to the world.
2. Development costs were well below $2 million.
3. Today the game is given away for free play and download and revenue is generated through in-game advertising provided by IGN.

This post was co-authored by Eze Vidra and Morad Stern, VC Cafe’s newest team member. Morad is a usability Expert who loves web, gadgets and tech. He also writes the Usability Blog. (Hebrew)

Eze Vidra
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Eze Vidra

Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote
Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Ezewas a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google's first physical hub for startups, and was the Head Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He's an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.
Eze Vidra
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Eze Vidra

Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Eze was a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google's first physical hub for startups, and was the Head Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He's an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.