Socialgamesobserver

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

19Aug/13

Who is Who in Europe: Playforia

By Camilla Noon

This week we look at Playforia, the social game developer from Finland that publishes casual games on Mobile, Facebook and Web platforms. Here’s what they had to tell us:

Developer Name: Playforia Oy

Where founded and office/s location/s: Helsinki, Finland

Founded by: Pasi Laaksonen, Janne Matilainen, Asmo Halinen

Founded in (year): 2001

Funding: 4 m€

Number of employees: 35

Number of games published: 48

List of games published: Bubbles IQ, a Facebook app and multiple games under playforia.com web service

Describe what you do in one sentence: Playforia develops casual social online games into multiple platforms

Bubbles IQ Screenshot

Where games are published: iOS, web (Facebook, Playforia), Android

Publishing games in which languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Russian, Norwegian, Finnish, Estonian, Latvian, Polish, Hungarian

Game genre/s: Casual, Puzzle, Fun

User demographics (gender): Women 65%, men 35%

User demographics (location): America, Europe, and Australia

Best-selling virtual item: Bubble Pack 0,9 €

Most expensive virtual item: Pro Combo 10€ for Bubbles IQ

What do you see as the current most exciting trend in the industry: Multiplatform mobile games

12Aug/13

Who is Who in Europe: Playdemic

By Camilla Noon

Playdemic, a cross-platform social game developer based in Manchester, UK spoke to Social Games Observer this week and we learnt more about who they are. Their newest and biggest game, Village Life, has been praised for its original gameplay. Let’s see what they had to tell us:

Developer Name: Playdemic

Where founded and office/s location/s: Founded and based in Wilmslow, Manchester UK.

Founded by: Paul Gouge & Alex Rigby

Founded in: 2010

Funding: Yes

Acquisitions: Ideas Pad

Number of employees: 65

Number of games published: 6

List of games published: Village Life, Gourmet Ranch, Kingdom Quest, Crossword Buddies, Quiz Buddies, Eye Spy!

Village Life Screenshot

Describe what you do in one sentence: We create high quality, incredibly fun games that really matter to our players.

Where games are published: Facebook, iOS

Publishing games in which languages: Village Life is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Turkish and Portuguese (Brazilian)

Game genre/s: Virtual world, puzzle games

User demographics (gender): Male and female

User demographics (location): Worldwide

Best-selling virtual item: Gems – Village Life

What do you see as the current most exciting trend in the industry: The transition of the mainstream games industry into a free to play service model.

30Jul/13

Finland’s Grand Cru Raises $11M In Financing As It Shows Off Its First Game: Supernauts

By Camilla Noon

Finland’s Grand Cru has raised more than $11 million in a new round of funding for its mobile game studio. The company is also nearing the debut of its first mobile game, Supernauts, which has been in development for more than 15 months.

Grand Cru was formed in 2011 on the hopes of being the next major hit maker in Helsinki, which is home to mobile game juggernauts Rovio (maker of Angry Birds) and Supercell (creator of Clash of Clans).

The investors include Idinvest Partners, Qualcomm Ventures, and Nokia Growth Partners. To date, the company has raised more than $16 million.

“We are impressed with Grand Cru’s team of mobile gaming veterans. They have created a great title and combined it with unique in-house developed technology,” said Walter Masalin of Nokia Growth Partners in a statement. “Growth in mobile gaming is accelerating and we are excited to be part of it.”

The company is starting to show off Supernauts, a 3D creative social game in which players build and share their own, unique worlds. The characters travel to a flooded Earth to rescue humans. The game was inspired by Minecraft and other casual sandbox games. In the game, each player gets a customizable, semi-private space where they can create and craft blocks and materials such as clay, bricks, concrete, wood, and tile. They can then use those materials to build structures. It has more than 50 levels in a variety of cities on Earth. Each level has 3D physics puzzles where the player has to rescue Earthlings by getting them to safety by building bridges, clearing paths, and removing obstacles.

The Supernauts: Screenshot

“At Grand Cru, our name derives from our ultimate goal of delivering outstanding products that raise the bar on quality, and our commitment has been recognized and bolstered by these strategic investments from partners such as Idinvest, Qualcomm Ventures and Nokia Growth Partners.,” said Markus Pasula, the cofounder and CEO of Grand Cru. “Our soon-to-be-released first title, Supernauts, is a mass-market world-building game for iOS that is truly social, allowing players to solve puzzles and create shareable worlds, brick-by-brick.”

Pasula and five other Finnish game veterans formed the company to make games with the potential for broad appeal. Grand Cru has more than 20 employees. The company is headquartered in the bohemian district of Helsinki called Kallio, which has the most bars per capita in Finland.

Via: VentureBeat

22Jul/13

Who is Who in Europe: From The Bench

By Camilla Noon

This week we profile a developer from Spain, FROM THE BENCH. This Spanish company is one of the top 5 Spanish developers in its market, basing its success on the creation of exciting experiences on mobile devices and other platforms. From The Bench develops sports games with appealing design, random game-experience with users from around the world. Their game, Fantasy Manager Franchise, is present in more than 10 countries with more than 16,5 million users. They just released their next game Be a Legend:Football. We spoke to them to find out more:

Developer Name: FROM THE BENCH

Where founded and office/s location/s: Elda, Alicante, Spain

Founded by: José David Poveda, Felipe Alonso Simarro, Santiago Pérez Castaño, David Cremades Beltrán

Founded in: 2008

Funding: self-funded

Acquisitions: no

Number of employees: 40

Number of games published: more than 25 games

List of games published: Fantasy Manager (Real Madrid C.F., FC Barcelona, Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, A.C. Milan, AS Roma, Chelsea F.C., Liverpool F.C., S.L. SL Benfica and more than 20 clubs around the world), MotoGPTM, Starscup, Liga Evolution and Liga Fantasy.

Describe what you do in one sentence: Specialized in the development of sports oriented multi-platform social games.

Where games are published: Platforms: iOS, Android and web. Stores: App Store, Google Play, Facebook and Amazon(coming soon)

Working with publisher: yes

Acting as a publisher: yes

Publishing games in which languages: Spanish, English, Italian, Catalan, German, French, Portuguese (PT) Portuguese (BR), Chinese, Turkish, Japanese, Russian, Dutch, Greek and Indonesian

Game genre/s: sports, strategy, manager, casual games

User demographics (gender): men and women

User demographics (location): Worldwide

Best-selling virtual item: Football players

Most expensive virtual item: Football players

What do you see as the current most exciting trend in the industry: Borderless Crossplatform Gaming Experience

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

Plumbee’s Facebook Casino Game Mirrorball Slots Goes Mobile

By Camilla Noon

Plumbee, the London-based social casino games company, has expanded its popular Facebook game Mirrorball Slots onto iOS, as the startup makes its first move into the mobile space.

Following a successful year as an online Facebook game, the app is now available for download on Apple’s App Store allowing users to play Mirrorball Slots on their mobile devices.

Mirrorball Slots has close to 300,000 daily active users on Facebook and over one million monthly active users. Being a social casino game, players are able to purchase and win virtual currency, but there are no real money cash-outs.

Raf Keustermans, co-founder and CEO of Plumbee commented:

“It’s been a tremendous year for Plumbee, with the company achieving eight-digit revenues within its first year since launch. The move onto mobile is the natural next step for the company. We are really excited about the new iOS version. Our Facebook game continues to be a huge hit and now with the addition of the mobile app, the sky really is the limit.”

Mirrorball Slots differentiated itself from its competitors on Facebook with high-quality game play, polished graphics and animations. The iOS version remains loyal to the original with three slots games available and more in the pipeline.

Plumbee’s team has a proven track record in combining social gaming and online casino, disrupting the $400B gambling market. The team believes that success will come from creating the best social casino games and offering the best service to Plumbee players.

Plumbee’s mission is to become the leader in social, free-to-play casino games across all platforms.

Plumbee recently announced its involvement in the International Social Gaming Coalition, an association designed to help educate people about the free-to-play space and provide a strong voice in the debate around social regulation. It joins other heavyweights in the industry, including Zynga, Gamesys and DoubleDown.

You can download the app here.

8Jul/13

App Store Gives Away Popular iOS Games and Apps

By Camilla Noon

Here’s a little treat on a Monday morning. A number of premium iOS apps and games have been discounted to nothing over at the App Store, including the charming and mildly addictive Tiny Wings (and Tiny Wings HD for iPad), Traktor DJ (normally $20), Superbrothers: Sword and Sorcery EP, as well as Infinity Blade II (usually $7). There’s no official promotion to explain or list all the discounts, so we’re left to guess that this could be a prelude to July 10th, when Apple will mark the fifth anniversary of the App Store. Cupertino has already started sending out promotional material to mark the occasion, listing the usual big statistics to show how far the App Store has come since 2008, so these freebies could well be a part of that. We’ve linked up a few of them after the break, but the list isn’t exhaustive so please add more in the Comments section if you spot any others that merit the storage space. Happy hunting!

Traktor DJ for iPad and for iPhone – “The world’s #1 pro DJ software brings high-impact DJing to iPad”

Infinity Blade II - “Can you unlock all the mysteries and successfully wield the power of the Infinity Blade in this timeless swordplay adventure?”

Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery EP – “an exploratory action adventure with an emphasis on audiovisual style”

Tiny Wings and Tiny Wings HD (for iPad) – “You have always dream of flying — but your wings are tiny.”

Badland – “Award-winning atmospheric action adventure platformer”

Where’s My Water – “Each level is a challenging physics-based puzzle with amazing life-life mechanics.”

via: Engadget

3Jul/13

metricsmonk Releases iOS Analytics and User Distribution

By Gary Merrett

The product’s new innovative “User Distribution” function increases granularity

Today metricsmonk releases the complete iOS analytics feature to complement their current data suite. Joining the already well-established Facebook game and app analytics, the iOS feature contains refined tools to scan how an application or game is performing within different markets.

Up until now, metricsmonk has provided an analytics suite spanning Facebook applications and games. The addition of the iOS feature to this suite ensures customers have access to a broader range of analytics across both the Facebook and Mobile platforms. User distribution is the key tool in this analytics offering. It provides a huge amount of granularity and lets customers scan how users of their app or game are also acting within the iOS market. This helps customers identify who they are competing against for users, thus helping them to adjust user acquisition costs and communication accordingly.

User Distribution Screenshot

The iOS analytics features include:

  • User distribution: the ability to see the distribution of users of a specific application or game over other applications or games
  • Rankings: to show overview of app/game performance within different appstores and categories
  • Item detail: for each app/game, customers can view its ranking across all appstores, the number of reviews it has and the average rating given by its users

“We’re really excited to be introducing iOS to metricsmonk,” CEO Sebastian Sujka enthuses, “I am confident that our clients will find the update a valuable addition to the service. The user distribution is a revolutionary new feature that we’ve been working on for a while and clients are reacting extremely positively to this update. There’s nothing else like this on the market.”

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

27Jun/13

King Partnership with Happy Socks Lets Candy Crush Saga Fans Put Their Best Foot Forward

By Mo Moubarak

King announces first-ever licensing deal for its wildly popular mobile and social game, Candy Crush Saga

King, the world’s leading cross-platform, bite-sized games company, today announces it has signed its first-ever licensing and merchandizing agreement with premium sock designer, Happy Socks.

As part of this global deal Happy Socks and King have co-designed two stylish pairs of socks, both inspired by King’s hugely popular game Candy Crush Saga. One style is based on the chocolaty Color Bomb and the other a Striped Candy, the power-up players get by combining four in a row. Available for consumers to pre-order exclusively on the Happy Socks website (www.happysocks.com/candycrush) immediately at a cost of $12 (€8), these custom Candy Crush Saga socks will come in universal sizes for both men and women.

“Candy Crush Saga has become nothing short of a worldwide phenomenon –a game that people can play and enjoy anywhere, any time. With that in mind, it’s only fitting that the first licensing deal is with Happy Socks, giving all those who love the game the chance to revel in the fun of Candy Crush Saga, literally right down to their toes.” said Riccardo Zacconi, King’s CEO and co-founder.

“We are very excited to work with the creators behind the spectacularly popular game Candy Crush Saga to design these custom, high quality socks. The socks will be exclusively designed, not simply branded, and will reflect the quality both King and Happy Socks are known for delivering,” said Mikael Söderlindh CEO of Happy Socks.

Candy Crush Saga is the most popular overall application on Facebook with over 15 million daily players and one of the most popular titles on mobile (across Android and iOS) in many major markets, seeing over 600 million gameplays a day on mobile alone. To play the game now in anticipation of your new socks arriving, please visit http://www.candycrushsaga.com/