Socialgamesobserver

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

30Sep/11

Mindbloom Wants to Improve the Quality of Your Life

By Sebastian Sujka

Focused on enhancing real lives, not virtual worlds, Mindbloom has unveiled its game to inspire people to define what’s important, discover what motivates them, and take meaningful daily actions in all areas of their life. Mindbloom takes a deeper approach by focusing on the science behind behavioral change — integrating technology, art, and human psychology to make personal growth more effective. “Mindbloom puts the principles of behavioral science behind social gaming to inspire people and help them achieve their personal health and wellness goals,” said Kyra Bobinet, MD, MPH, medical director at Aetna, which will offer Mindbloom to a select group of members next month. “By combining an easy-to-use, visually and psychologically pleasing interface with game mechanics, Mindbloom is bringing the missing ingredient of personal engagement to the wellness movement.”

The Mindbloom Life Game is “for anyone willing to spare a few minutes a day to grow the life they want by creating and nurturing a Life Tree”. Users spend some initial time upfront personalizing their profile, actions, motivations, photos, music, quotes, and can easily change them to reflect their priorities for any given day. Tommy Laflamme, a research grant manager who has been using the Mindbloom beta, “With Mindbloom, I’ve improved my relationships with family and friends. Now I’m speaking with my mom on a weekly basis and instead of having superficial conversations with friends, I have deeper relationships that not only exist online but have extended into the offline world.”

“Everyone wants to improve something about themselves. Although self-help, wellness, and fitness options proliferate the online and offline markets today – finding the right solution, getting started, and keeping at it long enough to make a difference can feel nearly impossible for most of us,” said Poole, CEO and co-founder at Mindbloom. “With Mindbloom, we’ve built the most emotive and personal interactive health experience that exists today. We believe our life game provides a missing solution to some of our nation’s biggest healthcare challenges by inspiring people to establish healthy behaviors and take small steps online to achieve their personal wellness offline.”

30Sep/11

Zynga and Enrique Iglesias Team up in CityVille

By Sebastian Sujka

Enrique Iglesias and Zynga today announced a partnership to celebrate the artist’s Euphoria Tour, connecting Enrique fans and CityVille players in an entirely new way. Beginning Tuesday, October 4, players in CityVille will be greeted by someone new in the game – Grammy-winning Enrique. Players can interact with Enrique’s avatar, get rewards that showcase Enrique’s lifestyle and hobbies, and build a virtual Euphoria Arena in their city to unlock a preview of Enrique’s upcoming music video, “I Like How it Feels.” This is the first time players can interact with an artist in CityVille as part of their core game-play. “I love finding new and cool ways to connect with my fans,” said Enrique Iglesias. “Bringing my Euphoria Tour to Zynga’s CityVille not only helps me celebrate my tour with a massive global audience, but also gives fans who can’t make it to see me live, a way to be part of the Euphoria experience.”

“We’re committed to continuing to bring players new reasons to play the games they love,” said Scott Koenigsberg, director of business strategy for CityVille, Zynga. “Through this partnership with Enrique, we’re bringing his Euphoria Tour to CityVille and giving fans and players a fun and playful way to connect with the artist by celebrating his lifestyle and hobbies – think Miami, speedboats, and airplanes.” The Enrique game feature in will run from October 4 through October 10 in CityVille. The program features will include collecting items like Enrique’s trademark brown boots, leather bracelet, military cap or even a 2-seater plane that celebrates his love of flying.

In game quests are also planned in which the player has to obtain ten Enrique concert posters from friends and collect earnings from 30 businesses in his city. Build Enrique’s Euphoria Arena and will additionally unlock a preview of Enrique’s newest music video in-game, “I Like How it Feels” (featuring Pitbull and The WAV.s). CityVille is Zynga’s biggest social game with 69 million monthly active players. The game gives players across the world a chance to build their dream city from the ground up by harvesting crops, balancing needs of their citizens and running restaurants and businesses. This is Zynga’s first entertainment partnership in CityVille. Earlier this year, Zynga partnered with Lady Gaga to bring FarmVille players a neighboring farm “GagaVille” where they could unlock exclusive songs off of the mega-artist’s new album “Born this Way.”

30Sep/11

Dobango Enhances Social Media Rewards Space

By Gary Merrett

Dobango, a game developer for the social media deal space, has released a Facebook version of its play2Win game. Dobango’s Facebook application expands the arena for the play2Win game suite by taking advantage of power of social media. Facebook members can play tournaments, challenge their friends, share and post comments. Every game is linked to a prize or discount at local retailers. “In this tough economic environment, social gaming offers compelling benefits for merchants,” said John Flood, vice president of business development at Dobango. “Our Dobango platform lowers the cost for businesses to participate in the deal space. We don’t take huge cuts like Groupon. Merchants decide when to run an offer. They’re in control. We charge a flat-rate monthly fee.” Dobango launched its 30-second play2Win on its web site in July. Since then, more than 1,600 monthly active users have signed up. The company has added more than 200 retail establishments and restaurants.

29Sep/11

Vostu Brings Real Time Multi Player Football Game to Orkut and Facebook

By Sebastian Sujka

Vostu unveiled the first of its new games for this fall – GolMania, a real time multi-player soccer game on Orkut and Facebook. In GolMania, players face off in real-time soccer matches powered by Vostu’s multi-player engine. The game takes the player on a tour of the world’s most famous stadiums, each of which unlocks new environments, game play and soccer tricks. It features fast, arcade-style and action-packed football, aimed at both men and women and football beginners and experts. GolMania launches today on Orkut and Facebook in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Like Vostu’s other games, GolMania features opportunities for brands. Pepsi will be a launch sponsor of the Portuguese version. Some of Vostu’s games have brand integration including one of Brazil’s most popular soft drinks, Guarana.

Players of Vostu’s city-building simulation Megacity currently have to cooperate to rescue Ivete Sangalo, Brazil’s biggest pop superstar, from having been kidnapped by an over-eager fan. Like all of Vostu’s games, GolMania uses the company’s distinctive Vostu Game Network technology, which allows players to play Vostu games across several social networks – for example, users play directly inside of Facebook with their Windows Messenger friends and can send gifts and cooperate on their games across the boundaries of the social networks. Vostu recently acquired MP Game Studio, the game developer behind over 25 games for media and entertainment companies. GolMania is the first Vostu game that the MP team worked on and combines their experience with casual games with Vostu’s experience with social games.

29Sep/11

Atommica Launches Cross Promotion Bar Jampp for Latin America

By Sebastian Sujka

Atommica is announcing the launch of Jampp, a cross promotion network for social games and applications on Facebook and Orkut. Jampp is the first network of its sort with a strong Latin American and Brazilian focus. Jampp’s mission is to help social games and applications in Spanish and Portuguese grow by providing an array of applications to cross-promote with. With Jampp, users of a social application on Orkut and Facebook can find other applications to try by clicking on an ad at Jampp’s ad bar. The bar displays ads based on the kind of application the user is currently using and other preferences.

Diego Meller, co-founder of Atommica said “The social gaming ecosystem in Latin America is very poorly developed, even if you develop a quality game for the region, it’s difficult to get it out there without spending loads of money or giving away a huge chunk of your revenues. We want to make it easier to publish games on Facebook, Orkut and other social networks that are strong in the region.” Jampp.com is now in beta, developers wishing to apply to start promoting their apps can go to http://www.jampp and sign up. Most accounts will be setup within a few hours and developers who sign up for beta will receive free extra credits on the network. Atommica also develops and publishes social games and has offices in Buenos Aires and London

29Sep/11

Titan Gaming Offers Gamers Real-World Rewards

By Gary Merrett

Titan Gaming today announced the beta launch of its game network, Games And Prizes, on Facebook. Games And Prizes provides brand-sponsored prizes for game achievements on the world’s largest social network. Brands such as Alienware, ShoeDazzle, Beach Body, ClarityOne Audio  and Antica Farmacista have partnered with Games And Prizes to amplify engagement and tap into the powerful gamification movement. Brands can target players based on age, gender and location to earn real-world rewards, such as prizes, discounts and virtual items.

“People play games because they like the challenge and they want to win, and we provide the extra sense of accomplishment by rewarding players with great prizes like designer shoes, computers, headphones and DVDs from leading brands,” said John Maffei, Titan Gaming’s CEO. Games And Prizes brand partners promote their product as prizes and offer discounts with over 20 different casual games, including classics, popular word games, puzzles and racing games. Games And Prizes players are exposed to a branded gaming experience and receive additional credits for introducing brands to their friends. According to Titan Gaming one in five players refers and recommends Games And Prizes brand partners to their friends and family.

28Sep/11

Top 5 Insights About Social Gamers: RockYou Reveals Findings

By Sebastian Sujka

RockYou has announced the results of its Social Gamer Thought Leadership study, conducted by Interpret LLC, a top entertainment and media market research firm. Key findings, now available, provide valuable insights for advertisers and marketers, game developers, and industry thought leaders looking to understand the rapidly-evolving social game space. The study explores attitudes, behaviors, motivations, psychographics, and purchase intent among the current US social gaming population. It also categorizes social gamers-based on their gaming behaviors and attitudes-into four consumer segments. The results both confirm existing assumptions and provide unexpected, surprising information about players.“RockYou is investing in the development of the social gaming landscape and its growth as a powerful advertising medium,” Julie Shumaker, SVP and GM of Media at RockYou said. “This study enables us to better understand social gamers and their motivations and provide advertisers, agencies, and social game developers with actionable information they can leverage in a rapidly evolving social economy.” The study surveyed a range of over 2,000 social gamers in the US aged 18 and older, 60% female and 40% male, who play at least one hour a week. Summary of Top Takeaways – Social gamers:

  • are even more socially active online than expected: they spend 13 hours per week on social networks and an average of 9.5 hours per week on social games; have 218 social connections, 16.5 real-life friends who play the same social game as them, and have made 20 new friends through social gaming
  • are increasingly sophisticated gamers: 50% of the current social gamer population owns at least one console; 25% prefer games with missions or quests; 22% say the fact that their online friends can see their score drives them to play more and harder
  • are highly receptive to in-game ads, especially when offered real-world rewards or virtual currency in exchange: 42% of social gamers say they would be more motivated to play a social game that offered real world rewards (eg: a coupon or gift card); 55% of players would rather earn virtual currency than purchase it with real money; 24% of players report they have clicked on an ad in a social game and made an online purchase
  • are avid consumers and valuable customers in the real world, making frequent purchases in entertainment, CPG, and many other major categories
  • can be categorized into four distinct segments: affluent players who spend on in-game currency to get ahead; competitive players who play to win and broadcast their achievements; newbie players who are less tech-savvy and prefer free content; and devotees who are power users but also prefer free play (further information, including detailed demographic breakdown, available on request)
27Sep/11

Peak Games Climbs the Charts and Raises $11.5 Million

By Sebastian Sujka

Peak Games the fastest-growing emerging markets social gaming company, today announced new acquisitions, new partnerships, new social games, new funding and massive, continued growth in some of the largest emerging markets including: Turkey, MENA (Middle East North Africa), South America and Mexico. Peak Games has been executing on aggressive growth plans by acquiring two hardcore strategy games studios Umaykut and Erlikhan , new partnerships with companies including RockYou , new games including Umaykut and Happy Farm , and updating and improving developed games including TrendKiz and Okey . The company also raised an additional 11.5M USD in new funding from Earlybird Venture Capital, Hummingbird Ventures and a strategic investor (bringing the total raised to 19M USD) which will be used f or market expansion, additional game studio acquisitions, hiring, and user acquisition . Peak’s games now reach over 16M monthly active users (MAU source: AppData ).  Core to the company’s strategy, Peak Games reaches underserved markets with localized and culturally-specific games that employ strong engagement and monetization strategies. Peak Games is now among the top six social gaming companies in the world.

“At Peak Games, understanding emerging markets like Turkey, MENA and Latin America is in our DNA! We’re at a point where we know what kind of games they enjoy, how to acquire new users in specific regions, what triggers virality, and, ultimately, how to monetize,” said Sidar Sahin , chief executive officer and founder of Peak Games. While much of Peak Games’ rapid rise was originally due to games based on traditional Turkish and Arabic card and board games such as top performing game Okey , the company has expanded offerings to include a wider range from rather hardcore games such as Umaykut , and to games specifically for women and girls such as TrendKiz .   All games provide localized content showing a strong understanding of the local audience. In addition to developing its own IP (intellectual property), Peak has partnered with several of the leading global social gaming developers – including RockYou , which created Zoo World 2 ; The Broth , which created Barn Buddy ; and MagnetJoy , which created Pet Party – to create and publish localized versions of those games. Fostering even further growth, Peak Games has launched games such as Happy Farm in modern Arabic in the MENA region, and is supporting this game while developing others through a strategic acquisition of Umaykut and Erlikhan game studios.

Turkey is already the fourth largest Facebook market, with over 30 million users and growing, representing over 87 percent of the online population (source: Socialbakers.com). Taken as a whole, the MENA region is one of the fastest growth areas for Facebook and social networking, with the number of users growing by 30 percent over the last six months to 35 million users and forecasted to reach 250 million users by 2015. People across MENA are increasingly active on the Facebook platform and starting to use it in a more sophisticated way as they interact more with each other via games. Latin America is currently at 130 million Facebook users with the entire region growing at 37 percent over the last six months.   More specifically, Brazil has 26 million Facebook users representing a whopping 98 percent growth in the last six months and in Mexico Facebook has 29 million users representing 21 percent growth over the last six months (source: Social Bakers ). “Similar to most emerging markets, the patterns we see in MENA gaming are exceptionally exciting,” said Rina Onur, chief strategy officer for Peak Games. “Given our current portfolio of games and those in the pipeline that incorporate local languages , we believe we will be able to connect with users in MENA and Latin America by offering games that speak to their needs and passions .”

27Sep/11

The Bench Launches Social Games for Barcelona and Chelsea

By Gary Merrett

FC Barcelona has presented the ‘FC Barcelona Fantasy Manager 2012’ social game, a multiplatform, multilanguage title available for Facebook and iPhone , with which football fans are able to manage the club in first person. Users can interact with other users, play with their friends, compete against other teams and test their skills as potential managers of FC Barcelona. The game involves creating a team, training session and keeping players fit for matches. Users can also build their own training facilities, extend them, control club finances, compete in exclusive tournaments against users all around the world and win prizes. Players can use the FC Barcelona youth system, form their own team or leave it to Coach Guardiola himself to create the team.

The results reflect what is happening in the football world and add to the realism of the experience. According to Dídac Lee, the director responsible for New Technologies, the launch of Fantasy Manager means FC Barcelona “is opening a new line of income that also helps make our club more international. Anybody who has ever wished they could be Guardiola has an easy way of doing that thanks to this game.” The game was created by  The Bench, a Spanish company specualized on sports games. This title is the latest in their rapidly expanding Fantasy Manager Franchise. Just days ago Real Madrid launched its own social game

Another European Top Club to annouce its social game is Chealsea, being the first English club to introduce fans to a football-themed social game. Functions of the game are similar, as it has also been developed by the Bench. This project takes Chelsea a step further into the e-business sector, as part of a strategy clearly focused on developing projects and services for fans in the digital world. ‘Facebook is one of the fastest growing social platforms and we want to capitalise on that communication channel as a way of interacting with our fans through social gaming,’ said Casimir Knight, managing director of Chelsea Digital Media.

27Sep/11

King.com Appoints Ex-Microsoft Executive as Chief Marketing Officer

By Thorsten Bleich

King.com today announced that it is adding ex-Microsoft and Virgin Group marketing executive, Alex Dale, to its senior team. In his new role as King.com’s chief marketing officer (CMO), Dale will help drive the company’s global marketing and expansion initiatives surrounding its cross-platform games. Dale joins King.com from Microsoft where he was general manager of their consumer and online services group in Central and Eastern Europe. At Microsoft, he also led the consumer marketing efforts for Bing, Internet Explorer, Windows Phone, Windows PC, MSN and Hotmail in Western Europe. Prior to Microsoft, Dale was the founder and managing director of broadband ISP and portal, virgin.net. Part of the Virgin Group of companies, the virgin.net service was sold to NTL Cable in 2004.