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.

5Aug/13

Who is Who in Europe: Nekki

By Gary Merrett

Social Games Observer this week spoke to Nekki. The game developer with its headquarters in Moscow publishes browser games, social games and also mobile games. Their name means “enthusiasm” or “inspiration” in Japanese and they’re passionate about creating engaging games. Let’s see what they have to say:

Developer Name: Nekki

Where founded and office/s location/s: Headquarter is in Moscow, Branch offices are in UK, Germany, USA

Founded by: Dmitry Terekhin

Founded in (year): 2002

Funding (if yes, please state amount): self-financed

Acquisitions (if yes – who?): no

Number of employees: +50

Number of games published: 15

List of games published:

Browser games:
11×11.com
mygladiators.com
icekings.com

Screenshot from social game: Gladiators

bananawars.ru

Social Games:
Vector
Shadow Fight
11×11
Gladiators
Colonizers
Funny Pets
Happy Circus

Mobile Games:
Vector
Jackpot Cruise
Banzai Surfer
Stick Run Mobile

Describe what you do in one sentence: Our mission is making the world more interesting by igniting enthusiasm and inspring positive feelings through our games.

Where games are published: Facebook, Google+, Vkontakte, Naszaklasa, Apple App Store, Google Play

Working with publisher (if yes, then state who): No

Acting as a publisher (if yes, then who): Yes. But we are only publishing very few selected games, such as “Stick Run Mobile”, which is a mobile conversion of Facebook’s most successful arcade game of all times. Our main goal is to develop our own IPs.

Screenshot from mobile game: Vector

Publishing games in which languages: Up to 20 languages. Mainly we publish our games in English and Russian.

Game genre/s: Economic Simulations, Manager Games, Arcade, Slots – we don’t limit our self to certain genres.

User demographics (gender): 80% male / 20% female

User demographics (location): Our top games, like Vector are successful in many regions: Western and Eastern Europe, Asia, North and South America

Best-selling virtual item (also indicate price and for which game): “5.000 coins package” in Vector for 0,99 USD

Most expensive virtual item (also indicate price and for which game): - A pair of Swords with +90% damage in our arcade game Shadow Fight on Facebook. (Price ca.  5 USD)
- 3 licensed real stadium designs in our Football Manger 11×11 on Facebook (Price ca. 10 USD)

What do you see as the current most exciting trend in the industry: Crossplatform gaming

1Aug/13

Plarium Launches Soldiers Inc. For Facebook

By Matteo Carli

Plarium, one of the world’s fastest growing developers of social and mobile games, has announced the worldwide release of the massively multi-player, real time strategy game, “Soldiers Inc.” for Facebook.  The title introduces an unprecedented level of quality to the social platform and an evolution of the game dynamics featured in Plarium’s hits “Total Domination” and “Stormfall: Age of War,” already enjoyed by millions of users daily.  The war has begun and players can start building their own army by visiting: http://bit.ly/17EUZj4.

Set in 2019, Soldiers Inc. takes gamers into a realistic near-term future where international corporate powers struggle over dwindling resources.  The search for the world’s largest deposit of minerals in the Former Republic of Zandia has launched a black ops corporate free-for-all waged by a new breed of legal mercenaries.   Players take command of elite private military contractors in a conflict where navigating complex alliances is key and war is big business.

“From the deeper, darker storyline and immersive gameplay to Jesper Kyd’s new soundtrack, Soldiers Inc. outdoes anything we’ve ever offered on Facebook,” said Avi Shalel, Plarium’s Chief Executive Officer.  “With Soldiers Inc., we wanted to offer everything gamers have come to expect of Plarium games while pushing the production value even further in a non-conventional game world.”

Soldiers Inc. also features:

Core Quality

  • Top-quality artwork and character modeling with the level of detail demanded by hardcore players
  • Classic, intuitive, real time interface accessible to all levels of RTS gamer.
  • Regular updates, new content, missions, and characters fuel an ever expanding plotline.

Screenshot: Soldiers Inc

AAA Caliber Voiceovers and Original Music

  • Fully-scored soundtrack and sound composed and produced by BAFTA award-winning composer Jesper Kyd.
  • Players learn the basics of command from their Syndicate handler, Mr. Black. His fully-voiced tutorial will guide them through gameplay essentials like contracting, combat, and joint operations.
  • Fully translated and voiced in English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, and Turkish.

Hardcore MMORTS Gameplay

  • Gameplay is geared towards hardcore players with a passion for deep strategy. Victory goes to those who choose their friends wisely, but aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty solo. Allies and enemies can change at the drop of a bullet casing.
  • Team up in one-on-one partnerships, dive into clan-style warfare in large Tactical Combines, and participate in global Joint Operations.

Build Your Base of Operations

  • Exploit, steal, trade, or borrow the war materiel needed to turn a small outpost into a sprawling fortress.
  • Build defenses by deploying automated gun turrets, artillery, tank traps, and more.

Command the Most Lethal Forces on the Market

  • Players can hire and deploy over 30 realistic units, mercenaries, and battlefield systems from the world’s most modern arsenals.

Soldiers Inc. is available now on Facebook and those ready to join the ranks can learn more by visiting: http://bit.ly/15jJjlZ.

31Jul/13

PapayaMobile’s AppFlood Marks One Year With Significant Growth And iOS Compatibility

By Mo Moubarak

PapayaMobile, the mobile distribution and monetization company, celebrates the one year anniversary of the launch of its AppFlood platform; announcing that the commission-free cross-promotion network for buying, selling and exchanging mobile app traffic has seen a surge of developers joining the network, doubling since April this year.

The AppFlood network has attracted more than 4,500 Android developers to date, accumulating 147 Million users – a 267% increase up from 40 Million in January 2013. AppFlood reached 46 Million Monthly Active Users (MAUs) in June of this year; delivering 1.3 Billion impressions. This growth has been driven entirely on Android and is expected to accelerate with the recent introduction of iOS compatibility.

“We’re positively overwhelmed with the growth we’ve seen in the platform’s first year, which we believe can be attributed to our understanding of developers’ needs,” said Si Shen, CEO of PapayaMobile. “As developers ourselves, we get that developers want more transparency and control over their app marketing efforts; they don’t want yet more middlemen getting in the way and taking all the profits. AppFlood’s transparency and flexibility has resonated with the Android developers that have joined in the first year, and we anticipate that momentum will continue to accelerate our growth through 2013 with the introduction of iOS compatibility.”

Developer Numbers

In addition to iOS, PapayaMobile recently rolled out a number of new features in AppFlood, designed to increase the transparency and functionality of the platform. These features include an Open Direct Deal Network, which combines the visibility of one-to-one deals with the range and reach of an ad network; Multi-Dimensional Analytics that better identify potential opportunities to boost ad revenue and ROI; and Ad Network Mediation, which enables app performance comparisons across AppFlood’s partner networks from a single SDK and dashboard. Partner networks include Appia, Cyberagent, Unicume, Clickky, Altrooz and Motive Interactive.

“The mobile ad network space as a whole is seeing a lot of growth, as illustrated by recent newsworthy acquisitions,” continued Si. “The continued adoption of Android, and Apple’s impressive Q2 results – fuelled largely by the iPhone, indicate that mobile is showing no signs of slowing down. We strive to find new ways to best serve the developer community to better take advantage of that opportunity. Since many of our developers create apps across both Android and iOS, AppFlood’s support of both platforms means far greater reach, far better monetization and more efficient user acquisition.”

The updated AppFlood with iOS compatibility is 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.

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

29Jul/13

Who is Who: Viral Games

By Matteo Carli

The time of the humans has passed / All that you were built for is no more. /But you and your kind endure.

We spoke to Viral Games in a slightly different focus for “Who is Who” this week.  Viral is the creator of print published games which you can currently find in stores in US, Canada, Sweden and UK. We wrote to them to find out more about who they are and what they do:

Developer Name: Viral

Where founded and office/s location/s: boards.4chan.org/tg/ ViralGamesPublishing.com

Founded by: Viral

Founded in: 2008. Jesus Christ, that was five years ago.

Funding: Kickstarter, baby!

Acquisitions: Does fan mail count?

Number of employees: 1, 2, 3, or more, depending on how you count.

Number of games published: 20+

List of games published:

  • Engine Heart
  • Joints & Jivers
  • Modempunk
  • Rivet
  • Soiled Doves
  • WETSUIT
  • …and a lot more that can’t be named here.

Describe what you do in one sentence: We make games for people that don’t have time to read a lot of rules.

Where games are published: Engine Heart, its related supplements, and Joints & Jivers are all printed in the United States, and available all over the world! Unless your country has an embargo or something. Then we’re gonna have to go black market up in here. Everything is also freely available online, with Engine Heart and Joints & Jivers both available for free download at ViralGamesPublishing.com and more games to come!

Working with publisher: No, but the thing is…

Acting as a publisher: We started out as print-on-demand, but thanks to /tg/ and the success of the Kickstarter, stores in the US, Canada, Sweden and the UK all have print copies Engine Heart on their shelves. Australia would have been on there too, but they didn’t want to get involved.

Publishing games in which languages: English, with forthcoming translations of Engine Heart into Italian, French, and German.

Game genre/s: Where to start? Engine Heart is post-apocalyptic cuteness where WALL-E teams up with a Roomba and a sexbot to fight that evil fabricator from ‘9’. Joints & Jivers is like half a dozen bad 70s movies smushed into one cheesy fight scene, and Modempunk is a dystopian 1980s where hackers run rampant and skateboards are a legitimate means of transportation.

User demographics: What are you, some kinda perv? We don’t check under the skirt when they download a copy.

User demographics: Christ, throw a dart. You have to redo it if it lands on Antarctica, though.

Best-selling virtual item: >paying for virtual items

Most expensive virtual item : Everything we produce is freely available online! If you can’t find it on our official website, it’s probably here: http://1d4chan.org/wiki/Category:Viral_Games

What do you see as the current most exciting trend in the industry: I’ve heard a lot of good things about Viral Games. They’re pretty cool, and with such a handsome guy at the lead, they’re sure to topple the old structure by Q32014.

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.

17Jul/13

Kobojo Unleashes Mutants: Genetic Gladiators

By Matteo Carli

Beware! Battling custom mutant warriors are here! Kobojo, the French developer creating engaging, multi-platform games with an artistic flair for mid-core players, has officially launched its latest game, Mutants: Genetic Gladiators. The free-to-play, multi-player game is now available on Facebook.

Mutants: Genetic Gladiators is a mid-core role-playing game in which users are provided several species (e.g., zombie, robot and barbarian) they can combine to create more powerful mutant fighters. These combatants have various powers and abilities depending on their combinations. Players from around the world pit their warriors head-to-head in famous fighting arenas located around the globe, all while collecting, breeding and producing their unique mutant species to create the ultimate gladiator.

“Everyone at Kobojo is excited to finally bring Mutants: Genetic Gladiators to the masses through our partners at Facebook. As a mid-core game, we think players from novice to hard-core will enjoy combining species to collect unique and powerful warriors,” said Mario Rizzo, CEO, Kobojo. “We look forward to bringing Mutants to Android and iOS on both mobile and tablet later this year.”

Kobojo already has more than 50M registered users playing games such as Atlantis Fantasy, Goobox, Pyramid Valley and Questionary. The company is passionate about creating accessible, artistic and engaging multi-platform experiences for the gaming audience. Kobojo also has another title in development, which will be announced later this year.