Lockwood Publishing

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Lockwood Publishing is a leading independent UK company that specializes in developing worlds for mobile platforms. Its headquarters are in Nottingham, England, with further studios in Newcastle, Lisbon, and Vilnius.[1]. Founded in 2009 by Joel Kemp and Bjornsson to make realistic games with 3D avatars for PlayStation Home, the company has gone on to develop the 3D virtual world Avakin Life for mobile devices[2].

In 2020, Tencent led the latest investment round in Avakin Life[3], joining several previous Lockwood investors - including Novator Partners, Unity co-founder David Helgason, and CCP Games CEO Hilmar Pétursson. A year later, the free-to-play mobile game reached 200 million users[4].


In 2007 Lockwood was a work-for-hire company specializing in creating cross-platform entertainment software for the mobile market. Years later, the company grabbed an opportunity to work with Sony on PlayStation Home. The partnership was the kickstart for Lockwood to start creating digital spaces, items, and games for the once-popular service. Lockwood Publishing obtained the “Best Developer” accolade for five years in a row[5], before PlayStation Home closed its doors, in 2014[6].

At this point, and since 2013, Lockwood Publishing was already investing in a new game, the 3D life sim Avakin Life. Following a period of uncertainty for the company, after PlayStation’s Home closing and the end of PlayStation’s 3 cycle, Lockwood moved to mobile altogether and focused its efforts on the free-to-play game[7].

In 2020, Lockwood Publishing secured funding [8]from the Chinese technology conglomerate Tencent Holdings. The tranche was supported by a range of existing investors in the Nottingham-based firm, namely Novator Partners, David Helgason (Unity), and Hilmar Pétursson (CCP Games).

Avakin Life[edit]

Avakin Life is a social 3D avatar-based mobile metaverse launched in 2013. In 2021, it welcomed its 200 millionth registered user,[9] and won a third TIGA Game of the Year award in-a-row[10]. Avakin Life’s global community consists of 1.4 million daily active users[11], who design their avatars using more than 30,000 virtual items and accessories, including real-world brands. In Avakin Life, players become avatars that explore, create and meet others in a rich and ever-changing virtual world.

The mobile free-to-play experience focus on roleplay and socialization, while reaching out to other key-elements of the metaverse. Immersive venues within Avakin Life range from virtual music festivals to TV shows[12], with digital events surpassing the 500,000-attendee mark[13]


  1. "Lockwood Publishing opening studio in Lisbon". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 2021-10-04.
  2. "Tencent leads $25 million round for Avakin Life maker Lockwood Publishing". VentureBeat. 2020-11-04. Retrieved 2021-10-04.
  3. "Tencent invests in Lockwood Publishing". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 2021-10-04.
  4. Partleton, Kayleigh; Writer, Staff. "Avakin Life welcomes 200 million users". pocketgamer.biz. Retrieved 2021-10-04.
  5. "Lockwood Publishing's Halli Bjornnson on the relationships between networking and securing investment". Creative England. 2020-09-10. Retrieved 2021-10-04.
  6. "PlayStation Home: Sony's most successful failure". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 2021-10-04.
  7. MCV Editors (2019-05-15). "How Lockwood Publishing survived the closure of PlayStation Home". MCV. ISSN 1469-4832. Retrieved 2021-10-04.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  8. "Tencent Leads USD$25m Lockwood Publishing Round; Nintendo Profit Rockets by 209%". TheGamingEconomy.com. 2020-11-05. Retrieved 2021-10-04.
  9. ""Lockwood Publishing announces games industry recruitment expert Peter Lovell as new Strategic Director of Talent Acquisition" - Games Press". www.gamespress.com. Retrieved 2021-10-04.
  10. "Lockwood Publishing Scoop Game Of The Year 2019 For Avakin Life - PLAY4UK". 2019-11-11. Retrieved 2021-10-04.
  11. "Avakin Life reaches 1.4m daily active users". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 2021-10-04.
  12. Partleton, Kayleigh; Writer, Staff. "Lockwood Publishing partners with World of Dance for Avakin Life content". pocketgamer.biz. Retrieved 2021-10-04.
  13. Records, Spinnin' (2021-04-23). "Avakin Life Players Ready To Dive Into A Deep-Sea Clubbing Experience with Spinnin' Records | News". Spinnin' Records. Retrieved 2021-10-04.

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