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


AppStats Germany: VZ Networks

By Sebastian Sujka

Games on the VZ Networks keep growing at a constant pace. It is interesting to see that in fact the volume of games is shrinking temporarily. On StudiVZ and SchülerVZ we counted 89 games each last week and count just 87 games this week. The total volume of installs on all three networks increased by 1.77% to just over 22 million installs. The Top 5 remain unchanged as does Elex’s wooga’s and Plinga’s supremacy on the VZ Networks. However, other types of games like Goodgame Studios’ café simulation “Goodgame Café” and other city building or hospital simulations are catching up and are pushing into the Top 20.

App Name Developer StudiVZ MeinVZ SchülerVZ VZ Total Gain(%)
1.icon Frohe ErnteElex559.4751.162.6071.069.9052.791.987+0.28%
2.icon Brain Buddieswooga565.645766.733867.7602.200.138-0.46%
3.icon Bubble Islandwooga221.350516.562434.7631.172.675+0.59%
4.icon Frohe Ernte 2Elex135.946397.740337.890871.576+0.10%
5.icon MonsterWorldwooga122.542345.951341.258809.751+1.67%
6.icon Frohe Ernte 3Elex108.194332.504210.477651.175+1.60%
7.icon G.G. FarmerGoodgameStudios82.659250.851314.936648.446-0.33%
8.icon Mein FischHappySNS80.380254.804292.510627.694+2.55%
9.icon Icy TowerPlinga81.329146.126393.083620.538+2.69%
10.icon Wobbix QuizQuiz-Fabrik GmbH164.343231.964223.566619.873-0.88%
11.icon Turtle SquadPlinga96.757146.393334.691577.841-0.45%
12.icon Pet PartyPlinga60.868175.235329.849565.952+2.67%
13.icon Crazy CharlyPlinga62.895143.876334.863541.634-0.45%
14.icon Cute PigElex61.378206.108217.735485.221-0.72%
15.icon TraumstadtElex62.555188.017234.208484.780+0.25%
16.icon Cool FishElex49.525144.165226.325420.015-0.67%
17.icon Glücklich SyltElex44.086155.221190.286389.593-0.19%
18.icon G.G. MafiaGoodgameStudios46.167104.119217.078367.364+2.70%
19.icon Quiz RennenQuiz-Fabrik70.594140.386153.991364.971-0.85%
20.icon G.G. PokerGoodgameStudios60.60596.661156.990314.256+0.09%

Playdom Partners with i-Jet to Publish Games and Fight Piracy

By Sebastian Sujka

Social game developer Playdom and i-Jet Media, a major games publisher and distributor in Russia and Eastern Europe, signed an agreement on a strategic cooperation. From now on i-Jet will publish Playdom games in social networks across Russia, the CIS countries and Europe. The deal will make Playdom the first American developer operating on the Russian social games market. i-Jet will publish the first four Playdom games in fall 2010. Which games will be published first has not been specified yet.

i-Jet’s CEO Alexey Kostarev has no doubt that Playdom games will grow strong in Russia: “Playdom’s entry in Russia is this year’s key event for the domestic social games market. First and foremost, it means that leading developers are seeking after new markets and that is why they consider Russia to be interesting for them. I am sure that Playdom will be followed by others like Zynga, Playfish etc. We are ready to assist them.” Alexey forecasts that the Russian social market will change significantly in the near future: “The time for restructuring has come. The larger local players have become determined to start competing with foreign competitors. Additionally, the qualification standard for all Russian developers is being raised. Therefore, the market entry barrier will grow and developers that are generating trash and are not capable to provide their users with the necessary level of quality and service will disappear automatically.”

Besides publishing, the two companies expressed their mutual desire to tackle piracy on the social games market. Playdom will take over monitoring for clones and i-Jet assures not to publish any pirated copies. The new formed “anti piracy alliance” has already showed the first results: the two companies revealed one piracy case of a Chinese developer. The game has immediately been removed from a Russian social network after Playdom reported the evidence like theft of code, graphics and unique soundtracks.


New: AppStats Hi5

By Thorsten Bleich

In March 2010 Hi5 announced to push social games on their platform. The promises Hi5 made included a developer friendly platform and viral promotion channels which were shut down by facebook weeks before. End of July this year the new Hi5 developer portal was finally launched. Today we find about 150 games on Hi5, most of which are casual games. As expected, Hi5 attracts smaller developers that cannot compete with the industry giants on facebook in terms of advertising and cross selling. We still see Playdom games like Poker Palace. On top of the charts we find the usual suspects: farming and mafia games that are this time represented by The Broth’s “Barn Buddy” and “Organized Crime” by Social Moray. Only Barn Buddy has over a million registered installs and place five onwards games all have less than 100.000 installs resulting in quite a low volume for a social network with over 50 million registered users.

App Name Developer Hi5 Gain in %
1.icon Barn BuddyThe Broth2.426.089new
2.icon Organized CrimeSocial Moray367.665new
3.icon Fantasy KingdomsSneaky Games285.992new
4.icon Cube CrashOcean Breeze Games158.864new
5.icon MahjongBen 10 Games82.250new
6.icon JumperGamesworld72.140new
7.icon Poker PalacePlaydom70.762new
8.icon The Legend of SpireholdSocial Moray66.564new
9.icon Mahjong: Toy ChestArkadium58.491new
10.icon Build-A-Lot MetropolisImmortal58.125new

AppStats Poland: Bigpoint Goes Live on Nasza Klasa

By Sebastian Sujka

The situation on Nasza Klasa is fairly similar to last week. All games continue to grow and only Pet Party and Swiat Danio register two digit growth. In the case of Pet Party the growth is due to heavy promotion: Pet Party and Happy Harvest are the only games advertised with significantly larger icons on the games section. This week we can additionally report new entries. German browser game giant Bigpoint integrated their top browser games Dark Orbit and Seafight.  Both have not made it into the Top 10 yet but count about 80.000 installs each after just a few days.  We wait in vain for game adaptations or social features of any kind. Same as the Bigpoint games on MySpace, Dark Orbit and Seafight can just be accessed over Nasza Klasa while the game does not differ in any kind from the browser game version.

App Name Developer Nasza Klasa Gain in %
1.icon Icy TowerPlinga2.021.082+3.62%
2.icon Happy HarvestElex1.363.301+7.31%
3.icon Pet PartyPlinga1.208.483+14.01%
4.icon Maffia Newi-Jet1.139.616+5.53%
5.icon Moja Szkolai-Jet729.826+3.09%
6.icon Crazy CharliePlinga713.107+4.52%
7.icon General Hospitali-Jet656.961+5.28%
8.icon FuntrisPlinga636.376+4.65%
9.icon Turtle SquadPlinga554.308+4.61%
10.icon Swiat DanioDanio401.685+13.06%

Games Expand to Social Networks: Interview with Plazz CEO Jürgen Mayer

By Sebastian Sujka

Games on the VZ Networks are slowly growing and in the imprint of the new games we continue finding the usual suspects. An exception to this rule is Plazz Entertainment AG who launched their game “Atlantis” on the German social networks. We talked to Plazz CEO Jürgen Mayer about the motives to “go social”:

SocialGamesObserver: Plazz has quite a long history in gaming. When did you decide to bring a game on social networks and why did you choose Atlantis?

Jürgen Mayer: This move is the result of a consistent process to adapt our business to market needs. When we realized that casual games are becoming big business in social networks we decided to expand our games to social networks and Atlantis provided the perfect framework:  the setting of a virtual world, social interactivity and casual gaming. That is what we claim to be social gaming in Atlantis.

SGO: Can you sketch the game concept of Atlantis in a few sentences?

Jürgen Mayer, CEO Plazz Entertainment AG

Jürgen Mayer: Atlantis is a social hangout with a character based community and personalized avatars. The platform offers to a variety of casual games with collective goals which trigger community interaction. The game follows a free to play principle. Additionally we add community functions, events and narrative elements.

SGO: Who is Atlantis’ user base?

Jürgen Mayer: As we are available in all three networks of the VZ-Group we are addressing users from teens to students to nearly everyone who enjoys playing casual games and virtual hangouts. In SchülerVZ our main target group is about 12 to 16 years old.

SGO: In which form did Atlantis exist before and what has been adapted for the social network version?

Jürgen Mayer: We changed our game from a monthly subscription service towards a free to play game with the focus on item selling. The free game entry makes it possible to discover the unknown world before users have to invest something. It is free without restriction to play games, use the chat functions and interact with other players and the Atlantis team. For the launch on social networks we developed some new specials to entertain the new users like an award and level system. Users now have the option to earn soft currency or to buy hard currency.  We also added booster items. In general we also really stressed safety for kids and teens and improved our service to permanent moderation of the (more…)


Deal United Presents the GamesClubCard

By Thorsten Bleich

The GamesClubCard is a bonus points card for online gamers and gives gamers the possibility to collect points at more than 150 participating online merchants including, Neckermann,,, OTTO, and Players of massively multiplayer online games (MMOG) as well as browser and social network games can now collect points when shopping for their favorite games online. Bonus shopping platform deal united is offering a virtual bonus card for online gamers and has presented the card at the GamesCom 2010 in Cologne. Online gamers who register for the GamesClubCard are awarded points for their online purchases.

GamesClubCard is an internet platform on which gamers can collect points when they shop online. Gamers can create a profile on the website and manage the points they collect with each purchase; they can also log onto the platform via Facebook. Users can redeem their points in two ways: they can either exchange their points for virtual currency to buy add-on features for games, such as Wurzelimperium or My Free Farm, or they can purchase time cards to play World of Warcraft, NC Soft, or Lord of the Rings online.

“The GamesClubCard is a virtual bonus card especially for online gamers – the concept is unique on the German market”, says Jarg Temme, CEO of deal united. “We are bringing the concept of bonus cards, such as Payback and Happy Digits, to the world of online games for the very first time – gamers collect points when shopping online and have full control of their points at all times.”


PlaySpan Announces $18 Million in Series C Funding

By Sebastian Sujka

PlaySpan has announced $18 million in Series C investment led by Vodafone Ventures and Softbank Bodhi Fund, with participation from existing investors Menlo Ventures, Novel TMT Ventures, STIC, and other undisclosed investors.  The company is specialized in digital goods, micro-transaction and global payment.  This new capital increases the company’s total funding to approximately $42 million. The new funding will be used to expand into Europe and Asia and to grow PlaySpan’s global publisher and user-base.


Scoreloop Launches Social Gaming on Mobile Operator

By Gary Merrett

Leading social gaming infrastructure provider Scoreloop today announces its partnership with Spring House Entertainment Inc. The partnership underlines the increasing importance of social gaming in user retention and growth across the mobile ecosystem. Spring House Entertainment will partner with Scoreloop in Taiwan, and offer game developers an infrastructure to drive social discovery, engage end-users and power virtual goods. Scoreloop showed tremendous growth in the past and has over 100,0000 new users per day.

The addition of a social infrastructure is part of Spring House Entertainment’s commitment to bringing next-generation mobile games to Taiwan’s leading telecom operator deck and their subscribers. As part of the agreement, Spring House will provide a customized version of the Scoreloop SDK to all developers for their platform. With features such as cross promotions and friend recommendations, Spring House will leverage the successful Facebook social gaming model and bring it to mobile with Scoreloop. Among the first group of games entering the Taiwan App Market with these features are those from Dreamsky Technology, Boolba Labs and Goodteam Studio.


Zynga Launches First Internationally Localized Game, Zynga Texas Poker

By Gary Merrett

Zynga today announced the beta launch of its first internationally localized game, Zynga Texas Poker, in traditional Chinese. Zynga Poker, the company’s first game, launched in July 2007 and the third most popular game on Facebook globally with more than 28 million people playing monthly, is now available on Facebook in Hong Kong and Taiwan as Zynga Texas Poker.

“We are excited to bring poker to Hong Kong and Taiwan and connect local players to the nearly 30 million people around the world who are already active on Zynga Poker,” said Mark Pincus, founder and CEO, Zynga. “Zynga Texas Poker allows people to play with friends in traditional Chinese and make new friends while competing within the largest poker game globally.”

Zynga Poker, the world’s largest poker game, allows players to test their skill for free against other players around the world in traditional Chinese or in English. Players enter the casino lobby and have the option to play at any table, meet new people from around the world, or join friends for a game. Players choose from casual Hold ‘Em tables, tournament play or VIP tables. A leader board shows players how they compare in chip ranking to other players and allows players to send or receive gifts. Also available to players is the ability to personalize their seat at the table by visiting the gift shop.

The beta launch of Zynga Texas Poker, introduces the largest prize in company history. All Zynga Texas Poker players in Taiwan and Hong Kong are welcomed into the new game with a full stack of 8,888 Vegas-style Poker chips. Additionally, this month the grand prize for the “ShootOut” tournament allows local players to compete for a grand prize of $880,000 Taiwanese dollars.

Zynga Texas Poker game features include: (more…)


Zynga Acquires Conduit Labs

By Gary Merrett

Zynga today announced it has acquired Boston-based social games company Conduit Labs. Effective immediately, the Conduit Labs office will become Zynga Boston, a new game studio focused on new product development.  Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

“Boston is an epicenter for technology and has a strong talent market, making it an ideal location for us to expand operations,” said Mike Verdu, senior vice president of games at Zynga. “As one of the most prominent social game companies in Boston, the Conduit team shares a similar culture and drive with Zynga, and together we anticipate great successes from our new studio.”

Today’s acquisition, along with the recently announced joint venture with SoftBank for the launch of Zynga Japan, continues to extend the company’s footprint worldwide, creating more opportunities for Zynga to connect the world through games.