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


New Study: Gamification for Business, Brands and Loyalty

By Gary Merrett

By some key measures, Americans are ready to accept games into some of the most important areas of their lives.  In a new study by Saatchi & Saatchi S entitled “Engagement Unleashed: Gamification for Business, Brands and Loyalty,” 55% of Americans said they were interested in working for a company that uses gamification to increase productivity.  The study, conducted on behalf of Saatchi S by Ipsos OTX MediaCT, seeks to identify perspectives, attitudes and key drivers to use games as a vehicle for engagement within the employee context and more broadly across the consumer landscape.

According to study data, about half of online Americans are already playing social games during a typical day.  Of those employed, 28% of respondents are playing games more than 30 minutes a day while at work.  When asked how they would like to hear about a new product, 44% of respondents preferred email communications and 37% would choose some kind of online game experience.  Only 3% wanted to be told about new products by TV or radio advertising.  Seventy-five percent of smartphone owners are interested in playing a clues-based challenge, and 85% would be interested in playing for at least 30 minutes for the chance of winning a $100 cash prize. Other findings include:

  • 27% of those interested in social challenges said they would be very likely to opt in to a social challenge sponsored by a large corporate brand; 64% very likely if it were initiated by friends or family.
  • Heavy social gamers are more likely to be interested in clues-based challenges and are more aware of recent in-game ad campaigns from specific brands.
  • 58% said it is important for brands to be fun and playful.

Click here to view a more detailed summary of key findings from the study.


Ohanarama Connects Families Internally

By Thorsten Bleich

Ohanarama has launched its platform where families can connect, learn and play together. The community (Ohana means “family” in Hawaiian) engages extended family members of all ages by tapping into their natural social and competitive spirit through quizzes, contests and fun family games. Through or the Ohanarama Facebook app, parents register, set up their kids’ accounts, and invite family members to join in family computer time by linking into the secure, private family network.

Ohanarama is referring to a recent study by the Pew Research Center which claims that 58 percent of adults ages 65-73, and 76 percent of adults ages 56-64 go online; and 34 percent of adults ages 65-73, and 43 percent of adults ages 56-64 use a social network site. “Research indicates that 45 percent of grandparents live more than 200 miles away from their grandchildren, and that more than one-third of people ages 50 and older who use social networking sites are linked to their grandchildren (AARP),” said Amy Goyer, former National Coordinator of the AARP Grandparent Information Center.  “The extended family is the original social network and an integral part of a child’s growth and development, but with families living farther apart than ever before, opportunities for kids to play and interact in person with extended family members are becoming more and more rare,” comments Jane Hoffer, Ohanarama’s CEO and Co-Founder.


Tagged Launches New Blackberry App

By Thorsten Bleich

Social network Tagged today unveils its new and free BlackBerry app that enables users to stay connected on-the-go using their BlackBerry mobile devices. The new Tagged BlackBerry app is a native app which runs on Tagged’s mobile website. This app combines the two worlds of native device and HTML: Every time Tagged updates its Mobile Web, the BlackBerry app is automatically updated as well. “Increasing mobile connectivity options and offerings for our users continues to be a major priority in 2011,” said Tagged’s CEO Greg Tseng. “The new Tagged BlackBerry app further compliments an entire suite of mobile Tagged products and services for consumers to meet new people on the Internet.” Several months ago Tagged introduced its new iPhone app, which was recently followed by the launch of its Android app. Earlier this year, Tagged also created its Mobile Web, an optimized version of Tagged, that’s built to be accessible on all mobile devices with an HTML browser.


Credit Cards to Lose $614 Million in Total Online Gaming Transactions by 2015

By Thorsten Bleich

After its Payment Mix Report 2011, SuperData Research released of an updated version of their report. Building on empirical data collected from over 2 million unique transactions, the second edition of the report includes a forecast and projection of payment preferences for 2015E. SuperData Research estimates that credit cards will account for 30% of virtual good sales in the US in 2015E, down from 37% today. Year-over-year this amounts to a cumulative total loss of approximately $614 million, according to the report. “A key driver behind the increased share of cash-based payment methods is their adoption by especially teenage audiences,” says lead analyst Janelle Benjamin. “Moreover, with the 2009 CARD Act having raised the minimum age requirements for credit cards, alternatives like prepaid game cards and mobile payment methods will continue to gain significant market share in the coming period.”


Quepasa Launches Wonderful City – Rio on Facebook

By Sebastian Sujka

Quepasa, owner of the Latino online social network and social game development studio Quepasa Games, and Mentez, the largest social gaming publisher in Latin America, have announced that Wonderful City – Rio is now available on Facebook. Wonderful City – Rio invites users to build their own virtual Rio de Janeiro, adapting the popular city-building game concept for Latin American audiences. Quepasa has previously launched the game on Quepasa and on Orkut in partnership with Mentez. Before starting the games the user is given the possibility to import his Orkut friends to join the game on Facebook. The feature reflects Orkut’s recent strong downward trend in Brazil where the network is heavily loosing users to Facebook.

Wonderful City – Rio has fast become a popular social game reaching over 1.3 million installs in May across the Orkut and platforms. In addition, Mentez reports that Wonderful City – Rio has an average of 600,000 daily active users (DAU) and these users are very active issuing over 900,000 posts/updates on a daily basis. “Wonderful City – Rio is a great example that social gamers want games that are localized for their region,” said Quepasa CEO Abbott. ” Building on the current success of the popular city-building game, Wonderful City – Rio, Quepasa Games plans to release Mexican and Colombian versions of the game to increase exposure among broader Latin American audiences. Soon, social gamers in these countries will build their own virtual cities such as Mexico City and Cartagena and feature virtual items specifically localized for these countries.


Bigpoint Surpasses 200 Million Gamers Worldwide

By Gary Merrett

Bigpoint yesterday announced that it has surpassed 200 million registered users worldwide, doubling from 100 million users in less than 18 months. The rapid growth rate sets a new record for the company, which ranks among the top gaming networks in the world.“This is another major milestone that our company has achieved in a short period of time,” explains Heiko Hubertz, founder and Co-CEO of

Bigpoint has built and a global distribution network that includes over 1000 media partners who promote the company’s games. To account for such widespread distribution, which requires its titles to be localized into 25 languages, Bigpoint has integrated over 180 payment solutions. The company processes over one billion transactions every day.Bigpoint’s browser-based game portfolio includes titles for every segment in the market, including hardcore, core, and casual games. Popular titles like Seafight, Farmerama, and Battlestar Galactica Online alone garnered more than two million registrations in the last three months.


Russian Developers Explore Daring Concept in Social Gaming

By Sebastian Sujka

A unique and thought-provoking game has joined the social gaming community through Russian-based VKontakte network. According to the developers politics reflects the reality of Russia’s political arena with its conflict, intrigue and all of the key players. Whether you are announcing your presidential bid or gossiping within high-profile societal circles, Politics is meant to educate, challenge, entertain and shock. Designed by a team of Moscow-based developer Questa, the game was launched today on Russia’s leading social network, Vkontakte, a social network with over 100 million registered users, reaching 73% of all internet users in Russia. Funded by a group of private investors, the game is not affiliated with any political group, but rather is a progressive attempt to raise interest to politics among the Russian youth.

“This is the election year for Russia and people’s interest to politics, already blended with pop culture, will grow,” said Max Masin, game developer and producer at Questa. “The idea behind the game combines the interactivity of social gaming with relevant, newsworthy content.” Social media has demonstrated its power to inspire people to make a difference in the Middle East as well as other parts of the world. Politics pokes fun at the elected officials and pushes the envelope with its humorous approach, but also empowers the users to create their parties, amend the constitution and make up new laws.

“The concept of the game is transferable to other legislative systems and countries, given the appropriate characters,” said Masin. “We want people to play for the fun of the game, but we hope to educate and interest them in the process.”  Each participant in the game of Politics starts out as an average citizen with an opportunity to make waves in the political arena and, potentially, run for President. The current version of the game outlines every aspect of Russian legislation, taking jabs at such stereotypes as corruption, bribery and kickbacks.


TeePee Games Launches Facebook App with Discovery Engine

By Gary Merrett

TeePee Games, a discovery platform for social, smartphone and online Flash games announced the launch of its official Facebook application this week.  The new app allows Facebook users to access TeePee Games from directly within the social network, bringing games discovery to more people than ever before.  Just like web their portal, TeePee Games’ Facebook app utilizes the discovery engine Geronimo to provide each user with personalized content recommendations, allowing them to find and play the games most pertinent to their interests.  TeePee Games currently has more than 350 titles in its catalogue of Facebook games and already has agreements in place with some of the largest social game developers in the sector, including Playdom, Wooga, Digital Chocolate and Hit Point Studios.

The TeePee Games Facebook app allows players to see what games their friends have been, and are currently, playing.  Powered by the discovery engine Geronimo, the platform allows consumers to find, filter and store games from a multitude of sources such as Facebook, Flash game portals and Android handsets.  It’s been designed with a number of social features to encourage consumers to use the discovery platform as part of their daily online activities – a community element aids social interaction, while rewards and loyalty points have been implemented to incentivize game play. Tony Pearce, CEO at TeePee Games comments, “With so many games available on the Facebook platform a lot of users are discontentedly spending hours wading through titles they’re not interested in playing or going back to the same select few games.  Facebook is in need of something that will shake things up – an app that can index games and promote each one to its target audience and this is where TeePee Games comes in to play.”


Bigpoint and Mail.Ru Group Collaborate Internationally

By Thorsten Bleich

Online game providers Bigpoint and Mail.Ru Group have agreed to a long-term partnership. Bigpoint and Mail.Ru Group will soon offer selected partner games on their portals. Russian-speaking players who log in via Mail.Ru will be able to find Bigpoint games including Farmerama, DarkOrbit, Seafight or Battlestar Galactica Online. On the other hand, Bigpoint users will also be able to access MMORPGs such as Legend Legacy of the Dragons, Juggernaut, Empire Craft, GodsWar Online via Bigpoint games will also be integrated into the Mail.Ru Group’s social networks, Odnoklassniki and My World, which are popular in Russian-speaking countries. Both platforms hope to gain access to new target groups.


New Event: Making Games – Play Social Conference

By Sebastian Sujka

The Making Games: Play Social Conference is a one day conference organized by Making Games/IDG Entertainment Media in Munich/Germany. The Event took place for the first time last year under the name “Making Games: Social Media Summit”. The conference is the first event in Germany where the social aspects of games are emphasized. After three keynotes the visitors can chose one of five round tables with the topics: Social Game Design, Business, HR & Career Management, Monetization or Marketing. Because of the mainly German conference attendees the focus is not solely on social games on Facebook but also on open web browser games. If you want to subscribe last minute, save over one third of the price with the registration code on our Event Site.