Socialgamesobserver

The Latest News on the Social Games Market in Europe and Emerging Markets

17Jul/13

AppFlood Aims to Give Developers Total Control Over Their App Marketing

By Camilla Noon

AppFlood, the commission-free cross-promotion network for buying, selling and exchanging mobile app traffic, today launched a series of updates that provide never-before-seen levels of transparency, accountability and control for developers seeking to monetize or promote their mobile app or game. New features include the Open Direct Deal Network, Multi-Dimension Analytics and Ad Network Mediation.

The new AppFlood features directly address the lack of transparency that is still an issue with mobile advertising, with many developers finding it difficult to fully understand how best to monetize their apps and where their budgets can be most effectively spent. By providing the accurate, in-depth insight they need to create and manage app marketing campaigns that achieve the best possible results, developers and publishers can be confident of getting the best return on their investment.

Unlike other networks, AppFlood is neutral and doesn’t take any revenue from either direct deals between its users or network-bought traffic. It therefore offers a level of openness and transparency to customers that no other advertising network can match.

CEO Shi Shen 2

“AppFlood’s new features raise the bar for visibility, openness and accountability in the mobile app cross-promotion space,” said Si Shen, CEO of PapayaMobile, the company behind AppFlood. “Transparency has become a vital competitive advantage in mobile advertising, but so far traditional mobile ad networks can’t deliver the visibility developers really want. AppFlood now has the openness developers need to deliver app marketing campaigns that are targeted, flexible and effective.”

The new features include:

  • Open Direct Deal Network – this new marketplace combines the transparency of one-to-one direct deals between developers and publishers with the range and reach of a mobile ad network – all in a single, unified platform. Developers buy, sell or exchange traffic like a normal ad network with the added benefit of seeing the performance of every other app on the network. Developers can then identify which apps are the best potential partners for publishing or cross-promotion campaigns, and then set up direct deals immediately.
  • Multi-Dimension Analytics – with this new feature users can identify potential opportunities to boost ad revenue and ROI from an app with AppFlood’s advanced data mining-driven analytics. Unlike other ad networks, AppFlood’s multi-dimensional analytics allows for comparison and cross-analysis across multiple variables: for example, developers could analyze an app’s eCPM based on “Country” plus “App partner” plus “Network X”, and then compare this to its performance for “Country” plus “App partner” plus “Network Y”. The comparative results provide new insight into how a developer can adjust their existing campaign for better results – something that’s not been previously possible.
  • Ad Network Mediation – developers can connect to and directly compare app performance with AppFlood partner networks including Appia, Cyberagent, Unicume, Clickky, Altrooz and Motive Interactive. It’s now possible to compare an app’s performance across the different networks from a single dashboard using one SDK, and adjust the campaign to improve results and boost revenue in seconds.

Unlike other most other networks, AppFlood provides visibility as to where traffic originates so advertisers can better determine which publishers to work with in order to optimize ­their traffic and ROI. Conversely, AppFlood also enables publishers to decide how to distribute traffic, easily ‘turn off’ any underperforming advertisers and directly negotiate pricing to maximize their return on traffic.

“By adding these new features, AppFlood is putting our money where our mouth is,” continued Shen. “We believe the visibility and insight now provided by AppFlood puts us well ahead of the competition, and finally gives developers the level of transparency and control they need to make the most of their app marketing investment.”

AppFlood’s new features are available now to all new and existing AppFlood customers. There is also an updated SDK available to developers and publishers to unlock this new functionality within their apps. Visit appflood.com for more information.

16Jul/13

appnext Launches Mobile Monetization and Discovery Network

By Mo Moubarak

In online advertising, native ads are gaining traction because of their unobtrusive nature and the contextual relevancy between the ad and the content.

appnext is bringing the same functionality to mobile games with the launch of the company’s mobile game monetization and discovery network. appnext now enables mobile game developers to gain a revenue stream by showing offers to play other games within their gaming environment. At the same time those developers can market their games to users of other games within appnext’s network.

The appnext mobile game monetization and discovery network provides game developers with an innovative interstitial that can be triggered by an in-game event or through the use of a branded “More Games” tab. The ability to scroll across to view additional games through appnext’s interstitials generates an up to 25% increase in engagement rates, while the inclusion of game descriptions for the complementary games offered results in higher quality clicks and, therefore, better conversion rates.

Game developers can run campaigns with these ad units across a broad range of appnext mobile game publishers to acquire new players as well as to integrate ads from other games via the company’s SDK.

The appnext mobile game discovery network delivers new players and ad revenue based on the company’s patent-pending ad serving technology, which enables dynamic, Amazon-like targeting of games to improve game discovery and ad monetization. Furthermore, the company’s ad serving methodology optimizes game discovery by reaching prospective players during natural game playing breaks when they’re open to seeing offers for new games.

“Thanks to appnext’s innovative ad unit, we’re generating more revenue than we previously did with other ad networks,” said Deniz Piri, CEO, Ahoy Games. “Beyond that, it doesn’t interrupt the user experience and allows us to offer our players more relevant game offers during breaks in the game.”

Only appnext provides support for Unity, Corona, Marmalade, Adobe Air, PhoneGap and HTML 5 through its SDK and plug-ins for games running on Android and soon Windows Phone.  In addition, appnext allows developers that operate on mobile and on the Facebook platform to cross-platform and use money earned in one platform to generate installs on the other platform.

“Regardless of which platform they choose, the appnext mobile monetization network enables any mobile game developer to monetize their game’s existing traffic in order to generate new daily traffic for free,” said Elad Natanson, Founder, appnext.

1Jul/13

Supercell and GungHo’s Cross-Promotion Mutually Boosts Presence in Japan and U.S.

By Camilla Noon

Successful developers Supercell and GungHo Online Entertainment launched a cross-promotion this week where Clash of Clans characters and a special dungeon appears in Puzzle & Dragons, their respective mobile games. But both companies are doing extremely well on the app stores — they don’t need help selling their games. What they can offer each other, however, is a chance to penetrate new markets and become relevant there.

Clash of Clans is Finland-based Supercell’s multiplayer strategy game, which recently launched in Japan and quickly climbed the iOS charts in the country. Its other game is Hay Day, where players tend a farm with crops and animals. (It’s currently not available in Japan.) Both are a huge source of monthly revenue. Given the huge success of GungHo’s match-three game, Puzzle & Dragons, especially in Japan, this crossover should help Supercell attract an even bigger audience.

“Ultimately, we hope the collaboration with GungHo will introduce more Japanese players to Clash of Clans and help Supercell get established in Japan,” Greg Harper, the general manager of Supercell in North America, told GamesBeat. “We are only just getting started and plan to bring our other games to market there as well.”

“If you look at the Japanese market and want to work with the best developer, there really is only one option, which is GungHo,” said Harper. “We met the team at GungHo on our very first visit to Japan back in February, and we instantly connected with them. From a culture point of view, our two companies are remarkably similar in terms of how we think about games and game development in general. So the relationship has really evolved in a very natural way that is mutually beneficial. We also have a lot of fun together, so we plan to keep looking for more and more reasons to work and spend time with them.”

The Tokyo-based GungHo echoed those sentiments. ”We had our first meeting with Supercell at the beginning of this year. We discovered that our philosophy and approach to game development were quite similar, so we immediately thought it would be great if we could collaborate,” Puzzle & Dragons producer Daisuke Yamamoto told GamesBeat. “That discussion eventually led to our current event.”

This isn’t the first time that GungHo has done a cross-promotion with another developer. In Japan, Puzzle & Dragons — where players enter dungeons with colorful monsters and battle them in match-3 puzzles based on their elements — has crossed over with Square Enix’s tower-defense game Crystal Defenders, and Necky the Fox, Japanese magazine Famitsu‘s mascot, has even appeared in the game.

“This promotion with Supercell is similar to our Japanese collaboration events in terms of style, structure, and execution,” said Yamamoto. “In terms of strategy, the biggest difference with this particular collaboration is that both parties really focused on providing marketing and promotional support for each other’s titles.”

Rather than simply competing — Puzzle & Dragons dominates Google Play in terms of revenue but often sits neck-and-neck with Clash of Clans on the iOS charts — they opted to help each other out.

Harper said he couldn’t discuss specific details about the cross-promotion, but Supercell is happy with the partnership. “They can obviously help us tremendously in Japan, and we hope to be able to return the favor in the Western markets where we are strong,” he said. “The nature of the relationship ranges from doing in-game cross-promotion in each other’s games to working together in other areas where either of us can be helpful.

“Both companies know their own game very well, and we simply tried to do what we thought would be the most effective collaboration to cross-promote each other’s game. I think everyone is very pleased with how it has worked out.”

“We plan to promote Puzzle & Dragons [in the West] through ad campaigns and more exciting collaboration events,” said Yamamoto. “We hope everyone is looking forward to them!”

Via: VentureBeat

17Jun/13

White Nights Conference: The Final Count Down

By Camilla Noon

There’s not long left until the largest European mobile gaming conference on development and marketing of mobile games. The White Nights: Mobile Games Conference will take place on June 27-28, 2013 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Make sure to register by June 17, because the prices will go up.

The White Nights program has been finalized and includes three sets of lectures and master classes all running in parallel. The conference will feature more than 40 speakers from companies like Rovio, Supercell, Chillingo, Facebook, Wooga, Big Fish, FishLabs, G5, FDG, Gamevil, InMobi, Flurry and more. There will also be master classes and presentations from ALL of the leading mobile platforms.

The conference includes three incredible, casual, networking parties: a badge pick-up pre-party sponsored by MoPub, a boat cruise on the 26th of June and the main all night party organized by Nevosoft and Supercell after the first conference day. Not to mention a unique attendee list that includes representatives from over 400 companies.

“I can easily say the WNMG is one of the best events ever. It was extremely well organized, content-wise straight to the point with an excellent line-up of speakers and great attendees to network with in a fabulous location”, – Michael Schade, CEO, FishLabs.

The WNConf has 15 sponsors, including industry-leading companies such as Samsung, the event’s main partner, as well as platinum sponsors Big Fish and i-Free. The conference an ongoing project organized by game publisher and developer Nevosoft.

Register now, because prices will go up on June 17th!

If you have any questions, please, contact wnconf@nevosoft.com

21May/13

Peter Molyneux’s 22cans Partners with DeNA to Release Mobile Game GODUS

By Camilla Noon

DeNA and 22cans announced a partnership to publish GODUS, the highly anticipated game from 22cans that is a reinvention of the god game genre pioneered by legendary game designer Peter Molyneux.

22cans, a game studio founded by Molyneux, chose to partner with DeNA to distribute and market its game GODUS when the mobile game is released for Android, iPad, iPhone and iPod touch devices. The game will also utilize DeNA’s Mobage mobile social games platform in Western territories, Japan and Korea.

“We have huge respect for DeNA’s successes in mobile gaming. By fusing their expertise and experience with our passion and dedication, we are going to make GODUS a truly groundbreaking reinvention of the god game genre,” said Peter Molyneux, founder of 22cans. “As a global leader in developing and publishing mobile games, DeNA is the ideal partner for us to collaborate with on the launch of GODUS. Their breadth of expertise working with second and third-party game developers is invaluable as we prepare for the release of GODUS on mobile devices.”

GODUS is a new type of game for mobile devices. In it you are a god, able to wield divine powers over your devoted followers. As you advance your civilization to ever-greater power, your people will grant you belief. With this belief you can sculpt entire lands, beautifying them with your touch. However, there are other worlds and rival gods to face and to challenge. Additionally, you have the power to wreak earthquakes, volcanoes or tornados upon these foes, as well as send armies of your devoted followers into the battle for ultimate control. You and your people will clash with other gods and followers in the most intense and exciting multiplayer battles for supremacy.

“One of my first jobs in the video game industry was working on the quality assurance team for Peter’s Populous 2. That title and its predecessor set the tone for a whole new generation of games,” said Clive Downie, CEO of DeNA West. “Fast forward to 2013, and it’s an honor to have the opportunity to work with Peter again on the launch of GODUS. Our team is looking forward to working with 22cans on a game that we know will set a new standard for the mobile generation.”

2May/12

Mobile Game of the Week:Sports Car Challenge

By Huel Fuchsberger

This week’s game is an example how mobile games can be used as advertisement. The German developer Fishlabs have made several “branded games” over the last years and established them on the mobile market. One of their most successful games is  Sports Car Challenge and was made for the Volkswagen (China) Investment Co., Ltd.(Page in Chinese) . The main target was to introduce German automobile brands as Porsche or Audi to the Chinese market. But the game was also released in other countries.
Even though the game is made for marketing, it has to compet in quality with other free racing games on the mobile market. Does it deliver?

Sports Car Challenge is a 3D racing simulation. It comes with two tracks, one is “Black Forest Germany” that is an adaptation of the real racetrack “Nürburgring” and the other is the frozen “Yunlong Lake China”. The handling of the cars is significantly different on the frozen lake and the more powerful cars tend to be less manageable on it. There for it is better to take the first turns with a slower car on the German track, until you get used to the controls.

Typically for mobile racing games you steer the car with the accelerometer by turning the device. Accelerating is done automatically and to hit the brakes you have to touch the screen. For those of you who want more control, manual shifting by swiping and manual acceleration via touch screen can be enabled. As an alternative you can also use the touch screen for steering. To get the perfect view of your car or the track, you can choose from three different camera positions – a cockpit view and two outside views, for those who want to admire their car while racing.

As for other racing games the selection of cars is an essential part of the game, but since we are dealing here with a branded game it is limited. We have cars from Volkswagen Group that covers Porsche, Bugatti, Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and of course Volkswagen. You can make photos and videos of the exterior and interior of the car and then share them on facebook. After Races you can also share your times and compare them with others in the Game Center.
Customization options are limited to color and rims, but the game has an option to visit the website or search for dealers and contact them immediately.  If you prefere to turn a few laps virtually you can choose one of three game modes; Time Trial, Slalom, Breaking. In Time Trial you try to drive the best time over track. Slalom asks you to drive a short slalom course as fast as possible and in Braking you are have to accelerate and then stop in a target zone.  All three modes can be played on both tracks.

In conclusion Sports Car Challenge is a solid free racing game for iOS devices. It doesn’t set new standards or blows anyone away, it was never meant  to. It’s purpose  is to introduce you to the brands of the Volkswagen Group, not more. Unfortunately that is not enough to be a good game. It feels like a generic racing game that has been painted with some brands. On paper it seems that everything is there, 3D, 2 Tracks, 8 Cars 3 Modes, but lack something different. It has an identity but no soul. And this is the problem with many “branded” games. Because marketers and their concept of “gamification” tend to fall short due to a misunderstanding of what makes a game a game.
Sports Car Challenge is available for free on all iOS devices in the App Store.

7Feb/12

Game Marketer HitFox Acquires Advertising Network ad2games from Gameforge

By Regina Leuwer

German game marketer HitFox today announced the acquisition of Chili Entertainment to add game advertising network ad2games to HitFox’ portfolio.

In 2011, ad2games generated around 75 million clicks for online game publishers such as Bigpoint, gamigo, Gameforge, InnoGames, or Upjers. The ad network was previously majority-owned by online game publisher Gameforge. Terms of the deal were not disclosed; according to our sources HitFox paid a “seven digit” euro figure.

Often referred to as ‘Groupon for gamers’, HitFox offers time-limited deals with steep discounts on games, hardware or virtual goods.  The company also expanded into the field of performance marketing. This latest acquisition adds the capability of a specialized games advertising network. HitFox aims to become a major game distribution, marketing and user acquisition channel for game publishers and manufacturers.

HitFox was founded in August 2011 by Jan Beckers, Tim Koschella, Ruben Haas and Team Europe.  Investors include Holtzbrinck Ventures, Hasso Plattner Ventures, and Digital Pioneers by Bigpoint’s Heiko Hubertz.

The company currently employs 30 in its Berlin headquarters and another office in San Francisco.

18Jan/12

SponsorPay Reports Revenue Growth of 125% in 2011, Now Employs 110

By Thorsten Bleich

In-game advertising platform SponsorPay announced that it achieved 125% year-over-year revenue increase in 2011. This growth was fueled by the launch of video advertising and brand engagement market, as well as a mobile and Android pay-per-install network. They company states that it’s on track for equally strong growth in 2012.

SponsorPay expanded last year to over 110+ employees in seven locations, including new offices in New York, Tokyo and Istanbul to support operations in Berlin (HQ), London, Paris and San Francisco.

SponsorPay’s video and engament advertising was adopted by publishers such as Bigpoint, Digital Chocolate, King.com, Spil Games, GameDuell, among others. The company also introduced a mobile offer platform including Android app installs and mobile-optimized advertising.

23Nov/11

Iconicfuture Markets Real World Brands in Social Games

By Sebastian Sujka

Lady Gaga did it, Enrique Iglesias did it and Snoop Dogg did it – selling branded virtual goods in social games is heavily trending. But licensing rights still are complicated and expensive to obtain. So what about smaller developers who don’t have the muscle to negotiate directly with premium brands and artists? Here’s where German startup Iconicfuture steps in. The Hamburg-based company helps game developers integrate premium brands into their games without facing complicated paperwork and lofty fees.

Current licensing models don’t support social games

In Iconicfuture’s latest effort, FC Barcelona, the unarguably best football club of recent years, is integrated into online football game Goal United by developer Northworks, a Hamburg-based studio belonging to Travian Games. All original names of stars such as Lionel Messi, photos, and player data, as well as Barcelona’s official home shirt are included in Goal United for the next ten days. Players can purchase friendlies against the Catalan champions and those who manage to beat Barca receive a unique cup to adorn their virtual trophy shelf.

“The existing licensing model doesn’t support development of social and mobile games that spend as much and in some cases more money after the game is launched than beforehand,” Ze’ev Rozov, CEO and co-founder of Iconicfuture, tells us.  The company was founded by sports licensing company Media Group that works with right holders in sports, entertainment or music. Iconicfuture acts as an intermediary between brands and games and aims to simplify the process of adding licensed rights to online and mobile games.

Resource managing games – a new playground for brands

According to Rozov, the advantages for game developers are higher engagement but also uplift in user acquisition and, of course, revenues: “Users are willing to pay a much higher fee for a branded item than they’re willing to pay for a regular item in a game,” he says. Game partners include Bigpoint for whom Iconicfuture has integrated popular children’s franchise Shaun the Sheep. Resource management games work especially well for this model, i.e. all types of farm or city building games. In-app purchases in mobile apps are another projected growth sector, Rozov says.

Revenues from virtual goods sales are split so that game developers keep a majority of the revenue of the items sold, the second larger piece to the right holder and Iconicfuture also receives a share, depending on the game, platform and type of rights.

More expensive items sell better

So far,  game makers can choose among the partners that Iconicfuture already offers. Especially in sports, licensing is complex and varies across countries and leagues. The company promises to get in touch with desired brands that are not listed yet and add them to their portfolio.

On the side of the right holders, Iconicfuture project manages the process of licensing and validates that the rights will be used in line with license approval to prevent a brand sellout.

The company also helps game developers to set the price points for branded virtual goods. Surprisingly (or maybe not), their data suggest an affinity to higher priced virtual goods, Rozov: “The more expensive the item, the more people buy it.”

17Nov/11

Nitto Tire Aligns With Cie Games for Integration in Car Town

By Sebastian Sujka

Tire producer Nitto Tire U.S.A. has announced a partnership with Cie Games to integrate the Nitto Tire brand in the wildly popular Facebook game Car Town. Car Town has been around since the end of 2010 and is still counting 4.5 million monthly active users. The yearlong multiple phase integrated partnership will extend to November 2012. The joint collaboration will offer Car Town players new in-game activities, virtual items, community contests and giveaways.

“We’re very excited to partner with Car Town to bring our established brand of tires and vehicles to their audience,” said Stephen Leu, Marketing Specialist. “This is a great opportunity for us to widen our customer base including enthusiasts and even casual gamers with less familiarity with the brand.  The exposure will help increase awareness and recognition of the Nitto brand and our offerings.”

As part of the partnership, players can participate in Nitto-branded game missions featuring the company’s new line of tires. The first mission will introduce the Nitto Motivo, an all-weather, ultra-high performance tire, recently unveiled at this year’s SEMA show, to Car Town players and tie-in real-world benefits to related activities in-game.

Other Nitto branded virtual items that will be available in-game include posters, garage items and custom virtual vehicles modeled after Nitto sponsored race cars.  Additionally, Car Town will host various community contests to create Nitto custom-branded car wraps and/or garages.

Gamers will also be able to partake in the Nitto Tire Car Town Virtual Giveaway, where they can simply visit and “Like” Nitto’s Facebook page, to unlock various branded virtual items, first one being the Nitto Motorsports Big Rig for use in their Car Town garage.