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


AppStats this Week: Top Gains and Top Losses Across Social Networks

By Gary Merrett

Guitar Flash
Colheita Recon
Texas a lo grande
Good Game Mafia
GG Studios
Cute Pig
Frohe Ernte 3
Happy Tower
New Lands
Social Quantum
DJ Games
Crazy Charly
Dennis Gid
Sorroty Life
Gone Fishing
W West trains
Mysterious House
Crouching Panda
Brilliant Gifts

Artificial Life Partners with MXit

By Gary Merrett

Artificial Life, provider of mobile technology and applications, has signed a content agreement with MXit Lifestyle to distribute its games on the MXit Platform. The agreement entails Artificial Life to sell their games through the MXit social networking and mobile chat platform in the Republic of South Africa and Africa. MXit users are able to purchase games with MXit’s virtual currency, Moola. “As we are expanding our target marketing in the BRICS region, we are happy to partner with the largest social network in Africa. This opportunity will introduce Artificial Life’s games to a broader audience at a much faster pace,” said Eberhard Schoneburg, CEO of Artificial Life, Inc.

MXit is a free online mobile instant messenger and social network. In South Africa, MXit is significantly bigger than Facebook and Twitter combined. The platform has over 40 million registered user accounts and is available in 250 countries, and attracts between 55 000 and 60 000 new registrations per day. Over 47% of MXit’s users are between the ages of 19 and 26. MXit V6 allows users to search for friends using their name, email or telephone number. It also allows users to find friends by uploading their telephone book contacts. In addition to one-to-one and group chat features, MXit’s suite of services and applications include:

  • Email facilities that allow users to create and use email from their mobile phones
  • Entertainment features such as interactive games, music and mobile phone application downloads, sport, news and weather updates and competitions and questionnaires;
  • A classifieds section, MXit Xchange, which is used by over 18.5 million MXit users;
  • MXit Cares, which offers users free real-time advice and counseling on anything from drug and substance abuse to HIV/Aids, debt counseling, career guidance and more
  • On the educational front, MXit Cares has teamed up a number of professional educators to provide online tutorials, quizzes and information that help national learners navigate subjects such as Maths, Physical Science and Life Sciences.

Digital Chocolate Announces Launch of Five Games for Intel AppUpSM Center

By Gary Merrett

Digital Chocolate, a leader in cross-platform social games and an Intel Capital portfolio company, announced today the launch of five premium games for Intel AppUp center, the applications marketplace for users of millions of Intel Atom  processor-based devices, such as netbooks and tablets. With its broad expertise of cross-platform development, Digital Chocolate now brings its award-winning hit franchises, such as Tower Bloxx and Rollercoaster Rush, to the screens of netbook and laptop users globally.

Among the games that Digital Chocolate will make available on the Intel AppUp center are Rollercoaster Rush: New York, 3D Tower Bloxx Deluxe Crazy Penguin Catapult, Chocolate Shop Frenzy and Pyramid Bloxx. The new releases demonstrate Digital Chocolate’s increasing cross-platform reach. The company’s proprietary in-house technology tools allow the company to efficiently convert and optimize games from platform to platform, making its titles available to new players around the world.


Unity Technologies Gets $12M From Sequoia, WestSummit, iGlobe

By Gary Merrett

Unity Technologies, provider of the Unity development platform for awesome games and interactive 3D on the web, iOS, Android, consoles and beyond, today announced that it secured $12 million in a Series B financing round led by WestSummit Capital in China and iGlobe Partners in Singapore. Raymond Yang, Founding Partner and Managing Director of WestSummit Capital, will join Unity Technologies’ board. Current investor Sequoia Capital also participated in this round. Unity Technologies plans to use the funding to accelerate technology roadmaps, expand into Asia and co ntinue its mission of democratizing game development. “Unity’s cross platform solution has been highly regarded as the best 3D game development platform among China developers and enabled them to develop highly differentiated gaming products,” said Raymond Yang, Founding Partner and Managing Director of WestSummit Capital. “We see China as the largest growing market for Unity Technologies, and we are strategically well positioned to help the company further penetrate the market and realize the full potential of doing business in China.”


Newzoo Infographic: Active Gamers in Germany

By Gary Merrett


Diversion Raises Series B Investment, Signs $1 Million Advertising Deal with Sony Pictures

By Thorsten Bleich

Diversion, a Los Angeles-based gaming studio responsible for the social games FameTown and The A-List, has announced that it has closed a Series B strategic funding round and a $1 million advertising deal with Sony Pictures. The A-List, which launched on Facebook on July 6th 2011 is a next-generation social game where users star in virtual movies to gain fame, fortune, and notoriety among other industry professionals. The investment was led by TomorrowVentures, Hearst Corporation, and The Tornante Company LLC (which is backed by Michael Eisner). Marcy Carsey (producer of such hits as The Cosby Show and That 70’s Show) and Art Bilger (Venture capital investor) also joined the round.

Sony Pictures’ $1 million advertising commitment is a follow-up to Sony Pictures’ late 2010 ad buy for Burlesque at the time of FameTown’s launch. Diversion intends to use the additional funding to continue development of entertainment-based social games and to expand the company’s scope. Founded in 2010 by Dayvid Iannaci (CEO), Amir Haleem (CTO), Chris Bruce (Lead Developer), Jason Carlton, (VP, Content) and Shawn Fanning and Michael Eisner (board advisors), Diversion continues to execute on its unique strategy – the fusion of social gaming and entertainment


Mobile Games and Social News: Z2Live Launches Play2Change Campaign

By Thorsten Bleich

“The staff at Z2Live feels very passionately about the mission of bringing clean, safe drinking water to communities around the world, and as a result has pledged to use our games to benefit charity:water, an outstanding organization that accomplishes this goal,” said David Bluhm, CEO of Z2Live. “We will use our games to work with our community to benefit this charity though donations, in game purchases and other promotions in the future. We are hoping that other game and entertainment companies will join the Play2Change movement and help us all make a positive impact on the world through gaming.” Key Facts:

  • Play2Change is a movement where gamers and their gameplay can be harnessed to make significant and positive changes in the world.
  • Z2Live is harnessing gameplay to affect social change with the introduction of in-game wishing wells that can be purchased in its hit mobile game, Trade Nations. All of Z2Live’s proceeds raised from Trade Nations’ wells go towards charity: water, an organization that brings clean water to communities in need around the world.
  • Since quietly launching the wishing wells into the game a few weeks ago, Z2Live has already had more than 2000 wells purchased in game with its virtual currency of Magic Beans, and which will help build 2 real wells that provide fresh water to approximately 800 people.
  • Z2Live’s games attract huge mobile communities. Z2Live wants to translate its social gaming success into social responsibility by paying it forward for the benefit of others. The company’s first two games – Trade Nations and MetalStorm:Online – lead their respective categories in terms of critical acclaim, user ratings, popularity and monetization. Using the freemium model, Z2Live offers compelling games with in-game purchases that enhance and extend gameplay.
  • Trade Nations has built one of the largest game communities on mobile, having logged over 500 million game sessions since its launch.

WildTangent Collaborates With Glu, GameHouse and Halfbrick

By Gary Merrett

WildTangent is announcing today that its upcoming Android games service will include games from top mobile developers Glu, GameHouse and Halfbrick. Consumers have the unique choice to play the premium versions of these developers’ games for free first with advertising, rent them for a fraction of the retail price and purchase the titles they want to own. Every rental applies quickly toward ownership. Games such as Fruit Ninja, Cake Mania and Collapse! are some of the titles to be in the service. Designed to appeal to game players of all types and interests, the games catalogue will launch with a strong variety of popular games and will continually add new, quality games that will be easy to discover and play.

WildTangent represents a wide global audience of passionate gamers. We at Glu are driven to connect with mobile gamers everywhere and we are pleased to offer a few of our most popular premium titles to their Android users,” said Adam Flanders, General Manager North America, Glu. WildTangent will offer its WildCoins virtual currency within the service for rental and in-game item purchase. WildTangent’s BrandBoost advertising platform will also be incorporated, providing consumers with free game rentals and in-game items.


This Week’s SGO Industry Jobs

By Gary Merrett

Senior Product Manager for Web, Community and Social Games – Berlin, Germany

Product Manager for Mobile Games – Berlin, Germany

Senior Sales Director/ Sales Representative – San Francisco Bay Area, CA – USA

Java Software Developer (m/w) – Hamburg, Germany

Senior Sales Manager(m/f) – Berlin, Germany

Publisher Sales Manager (m/f) – Berlin, Germany

Customer Services Executive – Hong Kong

Producer/Product Manager, Game Publishing – San Francisco, US

Sales Executive Italy Online Marketing and E-Commerce (m/w) – Munich, Germany

Advertiser Sales Executive France (m/w) – Munich, Germany

Click here to see more jobs


Quepasa and MyYearbook Announce Merger Agreement

By Sebastian Sujka

Quepasa Corporation, owner of popular Latino social network and cross-platform social game development studio Quepasa Games, announced that it has executed a definitive agreement to merge with Insider Guides, Inc., DBA myYearbook, the best place to meet new people on the web or mobile device, for $100 million, comprised of approximately $82 million in Quepasa common stock and approximately $18 million in cash. For further information on the merger consideration, see the Form 8-K filed by Quepasa with the Securities and Exchange Commission today. “With this merger, we intend to create nothing less than the public market leader in social discovery,” noted Quepasa CEO, John Abbott. “Combination with myYearbook nearly doubles the size of Quepasa’s existing user base while positioning the new company for significantly higher growth in mobile and social games, advertising, and virtual currency. The myYearbook team is product-oriented and hungry to continue building innovative products at the convergence of social and mobile. We expect the scale of this combination to enable a new class of investor in Quepasa. We believe myYearbook’s proven track record in monetization and engagement will fuel significant future growth.”

Over the past 12 months, myYearbook has experienced rapid growth in users and in mobile traffic. With over 1 billion page views on mobile platforms and 1.2 billion page views on the web each month, myYearbook is one of the largest media properties in the US. It is also the #1 web site in the comScore Teens category with more visits, minutes, and page views than any other site in the category. By emphasizing social discovery, focusing on the people users want to know rather than the people they already know, the service has built a large and growing user base, especially in the teen and young adult demographic. In 2010, myYearbook generated $23.7 million in revenue, up 53% year-over-year, and EBITDA of $4.9 million, up 315% year-over-year. “We are thrilled to bring our vision of social discovery to a global audience through combination with Quepasa,” noted Geoff Cook, CEO of myYearbook. “Meeting new people is now — and has always been — one of the Internet’s core activities. This combination creates the scale needed to build the #1 player in social discovery. What excites me most about this opportunity is applying myYearbook’s platform for monetization and engagement to Quepasa’s fast-growing markets while also doubling the size of our development team to execute against an aggressive product pipeline focused on social, mobile, and virtual currency.” Key highlights of the combined business include:

  • Consolidated TTM Revenues and EBITDA of $33.6 million and $5.9 million, respectively, as of the twelve months ended March 31, 2011;
  • 4 billion monthly advertising impressions with 1 billion on mobile and 3 billion on the web as of June, 2011; 3. Total registered web users of 70.9 million, 2.2 million mobile installs (1.4 million on Android and 800 thousand on iPhone), 11.5 million mobile game installs, 2.1 million social game installs and monthly page views of 2.4 billion in June, 2011; 4. Dramatic mobile growth from 2% of daily myYearbook users logging in on a mobile device in January, 2010 to 40% of daily users logging in on a mobile device in June, 2011; 5. Successful mobile platform to be leveraged across Latin America, the United States, and other geographies; 6. Experienced social media team of 200+ people with 100+ engineers/product and 23 in Sales group; 7. Quepasa Games’ social game IP creates vertically integrated, high-margin social gaming revenue stream for myYearbook; 8. Vibrant virtual currency which accounts for one-quarter of myYearbook revenue; 9. Highly complementary mix of cross-platform advertising products, including Quepasa Social Contests and myYearbook Social Theater

Following the completion of the merger, which is expected in the fourth quarter of 2011, subject to certain closing considerations described in the Merger Agreement, Geoff Cook will serve as Chief Operating Officer of Quepasa Corporation and President of its Consumer Internet Division while joining the company’s Board of Directors. Current myYearbook Board members, Rick Lewis, a Partner at myYearbook investor U.S. Venture Partners, and Terry Herndon, angel investor, will also join the Quepasa Board. Together with Geoff Cook, the myYearbook designees to the Quepasa Board represent the three largest shareholders in myYearbook.