Socialgamesobserver

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

30Jun/11

TeePee Games Partners with Hitpoint

By Gary Merrett

TeePee Games, the rapidly growing games discovery platform for social, smartphone and online flash games, confirmed it has partnered with game developer HitPoint Inc. The collaboration will see HitPoint Inc.’s popular Facebook games Gun Bros, Build-A-Lot-Metropolis and Organized Crime be made available on the TeePee Games discovery portal. HitPoint Inc. is a developer of PC/Mac, mobile, social and online Flash games. In its four years of operation the company has produced more than 30 titles, working closely with various ad agencies, game publishers and independent producers to develop games for a range of well known brands. Gun Bros is a fast paced top down action shooter.  Taking control of the brothers Percy and Francis Gun from the Freakishly Rugged Advanced Genetics Galactic Enforcement Division (F.R.A.G.G.E.D), players must blast their way through each level to protect the cosmos from the Tyrannical Oppressors of Life (T.O.O.L).

Build-A-Lot-Metropolis is the latest addition to the highly addictive strategy based ‘Build-A-Lot’ game franchise.  The city building simulation game will see players work their way up the real estate ladder as they build a house, community  and profit in order to ‘build-a-lot’ and achieve the ultimate goal of creating a Metropolis. Organized Crime is a multiplayer text role-playing game in which the aim is to become the most powerful crime boss in New York.  Players will need to work their way up the ladder – earn money, power and respect by completing risky jobs and getting involved in dangerous fights.

30Jun/11

ChinaJoy B2B Area Announces First Exhibitors

By Gary Merrett

Howell International recently announced the first batch of exhibitors for the  ChinaJoy B To B Area to take place at Hall W5 of Shanghai New International Expo Center on July 28, 2011. As a major part of ChinaJoy 2011, ChinaJoy B To B Area will provide domestic and international game enterprise, especially the large group of medium and small-sized game developers, with copyright transaction, technology transfer and outsourcing services.

The Organizing Committee has revealed the following exhibitors:

  • Guangzhou Xunmu Information Technology Co., Ltd. The Legend of San Tree (Webgame)
  • INFINITEWORLD CORPORATION. Infinite World (3D MMORPG)
  • Guang Zhou GameOcean Network Tech. Co., Ltd. Fan Ren Xiu Xian, Chinese Paladin 5, Kingdom Tales, Xin Shou Xue Fei Teng Online
  • G-bits Network Technology (Xiamen) Co., Ltd. Immortal War (3D MMORPG)
  • IGG.inc Moonlight Online, Age of Titans, Dreamland Online, 100 Years’ War
  • Moli Group Limited. King of Pirates, Tales of Ocean Fantasy, Super Hero Online
  • XPEC SAGA of Cathay, Chaosland, Maze Myth (3D MMORPG)
  • Beijing Wushen Century Network Technology Co. Ltd., King of Dynast (3D), All men are brothers (2.5D)
  • XiaMen Super Game Network Technology Co., Ltd. The war of Shang and Zhou dynasties (3D MMORPG)
  • Shanghai OUTPOP Digital Technology Co., Ltd., Welkin 4591 (3D)

The ChinaJoy B To B Area will be held at Hall W5 of Shanghai New International Expo Center on July 28-30, with an expected total exhibition area of 8,000 square meters. The venue neighbors Kerry Hotel Pudong, Shanghai, where CGBC, CGDC and CGOC will take place. The conference has officially launched its business matching system, and multiple enterprise and product information is being updated.

30Jun/11

HR: Kai Boyd Joins Deal United

By Sebastian Sujka

Deal united, provider of the international payment method PAY.BY.SHOPPING, announces the hiring of Kai Boyd as Head of Marketing and Product Management. Boyd’s extensive experience in the field features six years with Telefonica O2. In his latest position as Head of Online Sales and Marketing, Boyd optimized and supervised the company’s online portals, directed digital communications and was responsible for the online sales of the multi-billion euro corporation. Company co-founder and CEO Jarg Temme greets Boyd’s arrival warmly. “With Kai we have the support of a first-rate marketer with years of experience. He will no doubt further advance the positioning of deal united as one of the major international providers of value-added payment products,” Temme said.

29Jun/11

Japanese Mobile Gaming Giant Gree Targets 1 Billion Users

By Sebastian Sujka

Reuters: By Isabel Reynolds and Reiji Murai

Japanese mobile social gaming firm Gree will aim for 500 million to a billion users worldwide, rivaling Facebook, the company’s founder and chief executive said on Wednesday. Gree this year paid $104 million to buy fast-growing U.S.-based mobile social gaming platform OpenFeint, which has 90 million users worldwide and is adding 2.8 more per second. “We are aiming for 500 million to a billion users, though we don’t have a timeframe, or particular countries,” Yoshikazu Tanaka said. Facebook is said to have 700 million, and we are also aiming for that level,” he added. Gree competes with DeNA in the mobile social gaming market, which grew rapidly with the spread of sophisticated feature phones in Japan, and the two are jostling to export their highly profitable business model, based on in-game microtransactions.

But some analysts say they may face a difficult transition to the smartphone era, with Apple restricting integration of social and gaming applications on the iPhone and the spread of free applications on phones based on Google’s Android operating system. Google this week announced its own social networking challenge to Facebook. Some in the industry expressed surprise at the high price Gree paid for OpenFeint, which made a net loss of $6.6 million on sales of $282,000 in fiscal 2010, according to a Gree statement. Tanaka said he was confident he could turn the business profitable, though he did not specify the timing, saying it would depend on how much Gree chose to invest. Gree itself made 19.6 billion yen ($242 million) in operating profit in the financial year to June last year on sales of 35.2 billion yen, and expects to hike operating profit to 27-30 billion yen in the financial year ending on Thursday.

Tanaka also said he expects more growth in the Japanese market, where Gree boasted more than 25 million users as of March 2011. “The population is about 120 to 130 million, so I think there is still room for growth,” he said. Concerns about the economy in the United States, where consumers are gloomy with unemployment stuck over 9 percent, (ID:nLDE7520PE) are unlikely to affect the company’s expansion, he said. “I don’t think there’s a connection. We have grown very rapidly in Japan in the past few years, even though the economy has not been good,” he said. “It’s a cheap way of enjoying games, because you don’t have to buy a console,” he added. DeNA said in October last year it would pay up to $403 million to buy out U.S. rival ngmoco as it bids to build up its own global network.

(Reporting by Isabel Reynolds; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

29Jun/11

eGames Acquires Heyday Games

By Thorsten Bleich

eGames, a publisher of casual games at retail and online for over ten years announced today that it has completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Heyday Games, Inc., a producer of cross-platform social game content, effectively making eGames one of the only publicly-traded social game companies in the market today. As part of the transaction, Gene Mauro, Heyday’s former CEO, has joined eGames as its new President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Mauro will be in charge of all aspects of future game products.

28Jun/11

Adknowledge Launches Social2Web to Enable Social Game Developers to Build User Communities off of Facebook

By Gary Merrett

Social game developers now have a solution that enables them to expand game distribution and monetization beyond Facebook and into the Web.  Today Adknowledge launched Social2Web, the first viral game monetization solution that enables game developers to extend their reach by creating standalone versions of their Facebook games on their own URL. From reductions in virality to required payment methods, game developers are finding it increasingly challenging to acquire and monetize users on Facebook. Adknowledge has released an integrated solution that enables developers to expand game distribution by accessing a proven source of gamers across the Web. Social2Web allows developers to harness existing features of their current Facebook games, and adds powerful new ones, such as incentivized invites, social display monetization, direct payment options, and access to Adknowledge’s wide range of monetization solutions.  In addition, Social2Web features a critical component — the ability for developers to add viral elements, such as incentivized game invites and links on Facebook and Twitter, to grow their games.  A live example of a Social2Web site can be seen here: http://playttr.fanflex.com/.

“The elegance and power of Social2Web is that it allows game developers to acquire and monetize new users outside Facebook and still maintain their presence on Facebook ,” said Bobby McFarland, Adknowledge’s director of Social2Web. “Social2Web empowers social game developers to seize opportunities by accessing diverse customer sources beyond Facebook and using viral features that were integral in catapulting the initial growth of social games, but have largely been removed from Facebook. Social2Web also lowers developers’ business risk by not becoming dependent on any single platform for growth and monetization.” Social2Web empowers social game developers with greater control and flexibility over their game and their addressable market by reducing dependence on any single platform. It delivers several valuable benefits, including the opportunity to:

  • Increase virality – expand game distribution and drive customer growth through a wide array of customer sources outside Facebook (e.g., game portals, standalone sites, etc.) and incentivized game invites (e.g., Twitter, email, etc.).
  • Reduce Credit Card Processing Charges – developers are able to process credit cards and other transactions at a much lower rate than the 30% charged by Facebook Credits
  • Offer more flexibility – gamers can choose from multiple payment methods
  • Drive incremental revenue – developers earn money for display ads shown next to their games
  • Create a better game experience – developers can do more with a bigger game canvas (e.g., friend and activity feeds).
  • Increase brand loyalty – developers can forge a deeper, direct connection with gamers
  • Save development resources – developers save time and money by being able to focus exclusively on making great games, allowing Adknowledge to handle game distribution, customer acquisition and monetization
28Jun/11

6waves Partners with Akamai To Enhance Social Game Experience

By Sebastian Sujka

Akamai Technologies Hong Kong Limited, provider of cloud optimization services, today announced that 6waves Inc., a leading international publisher and developer of gaming applications, is leveraging Akamai’s Dynamic Site Delivery solutions. These will enable 6waves to enhance the delivery of its social media games and applications to social networking platforms, including Facebook and Yabage in Japan. Akamai supports 6waves in the delivery of some of the most popular social games including Ravenwood Fair, Mystery Manor, Mall World, and Resort World, which attract 15.9 million monthly active users alone.With this partnership 6waves aims to improve the user experience by reducing the game load time and ensuring a high level of performance, regardless of where the user is located.

In addition, Akamai’s platform gives 6waves the ability to scale quickly and enter new markets, without the need to deploy any new hardware or software. “Through partnerships with top developers, 6waves aims to publish the next generation of social games to cover every genre, language, and platform to reach a global audience,” said Rex Ng, Chief Executive Officer, 6waves. “With the rapid growth of game developers and many popular game titles, the social gaming industry is becoming increasingly competitive. Akamai’s support enables us to work with game developers to provide a fast, reliable and high quality social gaming experience to players around the world.” 6waves’ business model provides distribution and monetization solutions for developers by delivering high quality social games to its global network of 50 million monthly active players. Currently 35 per cent of 6waves users are in Asia, 30 per cent in the United States, 25 per cent in Europe and the remaining 10 per cent spread across the rest of the World.

“The success of 6waves’ business is dependent on the quality and speed at which it delivers its social games to the end-user. The consumer’s experience is critical – if it takes too long to download a game, users won’t come back,” said Betty Lin, Regional Manager, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Akamai Technologies Hong Kong Limited. “As 6waves continues to grow globally, Akamai will help the company overcome the challenges and limits of the public Internet to deliver all of its content across its global platform. This will allow the team at 6waves to focus on its expansion strategy and new initiatives, without having to worry about the performance of the IT infrastructure.”

28Jun/11

MocoSpace Registers 20 Million Members and Launches Four HTML5 Games

By Thorsten Bleich

Mobile entertainment platform MocoSpace today announces to have surpassed 20 million members. The company is also launching four new games on the MocoSpace Games Platform: Cage Fighter from New Game Town, In the Club from Upgraded Studios and Goosy Avatar and Goosy Pets from CelanderUS. All four games involve a social aspect as players can connect with their friends, and also make new friends via the gaming experience. All games are free to play and can be accessed on any phone with access to the Internet – no app required. New Game Town (NGT) has worked with MocoSpace to create a game called Cage Fighter. In Cage Fighter, players may create a fighter, hire a trainer, and compete with friends. Cage Fighter is New Game Town’s second HTML5 game – the company has already launched Happy Farm on MocoSpace, and is currently working on its third title. Upgraded Studios’ In the Club invites players to build a nightclub from the ground up.  Upgraded Studios was established earlier this year with a goal of developing cross platform technology and games software

CelanderUS is creating the other two new games for MocoSpace; Goosy Avatar will launch first, followed by Goosy Pets. CelanderUS is based in Denmark and the United States, and was established in 1996. The company has been in the mobile and Internet business for ten years, spending the last five years focused primarily on distribution and development of mobile content, multiplayer platforms and mobile communities. “The game industry is still focused on apps, but we’ve proven over the past year that millions of Americans are already playing and buying virtual goods in HTML5 mobile social games. Thanks to new innovations of our platform, we’ve made HTML5 game graphics and play as good as the app and playable for anyone with a smartphone, regardless of whether they’re using iOS or Android,” states MocoSpace CTO and co-founder Jamie Hall.

24Jun/11

SponsorPay Launches New Products Outside Offer-Walls

By Sebastian Sujka

Berlin based offer-based payments platform SponsorPay has introduced their Monetization Suite for publishers. This new portfolio of products includes advanced integration techniques away from offer walls. “We’ve been excited about integrating offers more strategically into our partners’ games and apps to boost revenues as well improve the user experience. Our latest products have been extremely successful on both counts,” said Janis Zech, Chief Revenue Officer and co-founder at SponsorPay.  SponsorPay’s offer-based Monetization Suite includes the following offer banners, offer bars and offer widgets. The Banners dynamically display the offers for users and are designed to be fully integrated into the game.  SponsorPay’s design team develops optimized ad creatives based on branding objectives and individual game or app interfaces. The company’s ranking and targeting algorithm automatically selects the most appropriate campaigns.

click to enlarge

The Offer Bar is a notification mechanism that is shown dynamically at the top of the screen and presents targeted campaigns to users. The presentation, features and behavior can be adapted to individual needs. Another product, the Offer Widget can be integrated by publishers without making any changes to their existing service. This in-game overlay brings a single, focused offer directly to users’ attention within any application. The publisher exerts complete control over the position, styling and frequency of appearance.

click to enlarge

Additionally SponsorPay evamped their existing offer wall, but clearly puts importance on their business outside facebook and the soon the be standartized offerwall on Facebook.  “As a company, our focus is on delivering the highest quality to our partners. To achieve this, we consistently analyze and solicit feedback on our performance. Our Monetization Suite has been built around our clients’ input and we are proud to give publishers the most flexible and powerful monetization solution available in the market,” explained Markus Knoke, Chief Technology Officer at SponsorPay.

23Jun/11

Social Point Secures €2.4 Million To Stay Europe’s Second Biggest Social Game Developer

By Sebastian Sujka

According to a report on TechCrunch Spanish social game developer Social Point has raised €2.4 million from Nauta Capital. It is the company’s first investment round. With 12.1 million monthly active users (MAU) and just over one million daily active users (DAU)Social Point is Europe’s second biggest social game developer after wooga. Social Point is not the only European social game developer who raised capital lately. In fact, all top 5 European social game developers received substantial funding in the last couple of weeks: end of May wooga raised €16.7 million and Peak Games raised €3.5 million, end of April Kobojo raised €5.3 Million and end of March MegaZebra raised and undisclosed “multi million” amount (see overview below).

Social Point’s most successful games so far are Social Empires and Pool Master 1+2 which all have over one million MAU. Untypically, Social Point has a very wide portfolio with over 20 games, six of which have about a million MAU. According to TC the Barcelona based company states that the funding will be used to launch 2-3 new games a year.

Europe’s Top Social Game developers (Facebook):

DeveloperCountryMAUDAUDateFunding in €
1.woogaGermany31.7 Million5.2 Million31.05.201116.7 Million
2.Social PointSpain12.1 Million1 Million23.06.20112.4 Million
3.Peak GamesTurkey5.4 Million0.8 Million25.05.20113.5 Million
4.MegaZebraGermany4.9 Million0.6 Million31.03.2011undisclosed
5.KobojoFrance4.6 Million0.8 Million27.04.20115.3 Million
*EA/PlayfishUS/UK32.1 Million4.9 Million--