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

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

25Jul/13

SwapMob, the Social Trading Network for Free-to-Play Games, Announces Platform, Funding and Initial Availability

By Camilla Noon

SwapMob has unveiled a break-through service for free-to-play gamers that allows players to buy and sell their premium virtual items amongst their friends and other players, regardless of game or operating system. The SwapMob social trading network works across multiple games and gaming platforms, and can be integrated by developers directly into multi-player games. SwapMob is now available for games on Web, social and mobile gaming platforms.

SwapMob removes the borders between your favorite games by creating a free item-trading platform that can be accessed no matter the social game you are playing, said Mark Sendo, chairman and chief executive officer of SwapMob. The freedom of SwapMob will open up a whole new world of options for developers and players, where you can sell an item to someone in one game and have the proceeds sent you in a different game, automatically converted into the correct in-game currency.

The SwapMob social trading platform allows players to list, bid and sell their virtual goods within games and across platforms where players have the choice of selling their items to their friends or the highest bidder. Developers can integrate the SwapMob API directly into their live or in-development games, without disrupting the gameplay experience for users. Now live, SwapMob can be experienced in the following games:

SwapMob comes to market following a $1 million seed funding round lead by games industry pioneer Bernard “Bernie” Stolar, who began his career with Atarirs arcade business and went on to an Executive Vice President position with Sony Computer Entertainment America and then as President and Chief Operation Officer with Sega of America, where he oversaw the release of the revolutionary Dreamcast console, and as President of Mattel Interactive. Stolar is joined by fellow investor Erich Spangenberg.

SwapMob is the future of digital item trading, said Stolar. The platform increases the numbers of players spending money in free-to-play games and the amount of money spent by existing players, and drives new users to new games through item recommendation and currency conversion. Simply put, SwampMob is poised to be the first successful cross-platform social trading service in the world.

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

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.

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.