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

19Dec/12 The Social Gaming King With 11 Million Users Gained This Year

By Camilla Noon

The top ten developers of the year

A compilation of the data of the top developers of the year shows that UK developer tops the charts at the end of 2012. A review from comprehensive Facebook analysis tool, AppStats, has shown some young developers raking in users and other well-known developers failing to bring home the bacon. Let’s take a look at the developers in the capacity of the top ten gainers and losers of the year.

Who gained the most?

This year, has seen a huge increase of 11 million users that play their social games every day, daily active users (DAU). This is a huge increase and runs away with the top spot in the table. It is interesting to see the presence of European developers on the social gaming arena. Just behind are two more European developers, Peak Games and Social Point who come second and third respectively. European developers are coming into the limelight and leveling out the previously North American dominated social gaming ecosphere on Facebook.

Top Gainers of 2012 (DAU)

Peak Games has had a great year, gaining huge numbers of users in the Arab countries, they pride themselves on creating games culturally targeted to this market. In Turkey, the increased internet and Facebook usage has pushed Peak Games further up the social gaming competitor spectrum. Their current second place is due to an increased number of 6.2million DAU. Social Point has also been in the headlines of the social gaming news with increased funding for this young Spanish developer and increased popularity in the top ten tables for its games. With 5.2 million more DAU this year, it takes third place.

Who are the biggest losers?

The biggest loser is Electronic Arts. It has lost just short of 2.4million DAU this year, placing it at the top of the loser table. 6waves takes second spot, losing 1.5 million DAU. Tetris Online Inc, follows as third biggest loser with 1.29million DAU lost this year. Tetris Online Inc. is not fairing well in the charts, its social game on Facebook, Tetris Battle, also falls in the top ten biggest losers for social games.

Top Losers of 2012 (DAU)


Who is Who in Europe: Flaregames

By Huel Fuchsberger

Flaregames is a german developer focussing on the iOS  and Android platform. With four launched mobile games, the company covers the significant genres on the mobile platform.  Another objective flaregames is targeting internal, is the keeping of an ashole-free working environment. Here are more details about flaregames:

  • Games published on: iOS, Android
  • Publishing games in with languages: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish
  • Game genre: Match-3, Strategy, Tower Defense, Interactive Adventure, Word Puzzle
  • User demographics (gender) : Differs from game to game
  • User demographics (location) : Europe, North and Latin America
  • Best-selling virtual item : Royal Revolt Gold Package 1,99 $
  • Most expensive virtual item : Royal Revolt Gold Package 89,99 $
  • What do you see as currently most exciting trend in the industry:
    The fast adaption of smartphones all over the planet.

Game of the Week: Stardoll

By Huel Fuchsberger

Stardoll is available on Facebook since 2010 and enjoys a big popularity. Stardoll isn’t a typical “game” as it has no real goal to achieve. It is more a service to experience and experiment with fashion to express oneself through the highly customizable Avatar. These possibilities draw mostly minor and younger females into the experience.  At the moment Stardolls has 1,800,000 MAU and 260,000 DAU according to AppStats.

Developer/Publisher:  Stardoll AB
Genre:  Simulation
Languages:  English
Best-selling Item: Stardollars ($ 4.29)
Platforms:   Facebook, Browser
Active users (Facebook): 1,800,000 MAU and 260,000 DAU

How to play

As the name of the game suggests, Stardoll is the digital equivalent of a classical dress up doll. The game doesn’t have a clear goal; it is up to the player to decide what to do with the given tools. The given Avatar is customizable from top to bottom. make up, hairstyle, weight, shape and even gender can be changed at every given time in the game.

With those Avatars the player can visit stores and purchase new cloths to dress it up. Items can be purchased with the soft cash “Starcoins”. Those can be eared by playing mini-games or participating in small activities, like rating other avatars. Some items can only be purchased with a premium currency.

Fun with dolls

Stardoll is not for those that expect a lot of game from their games. Players in this game are in for the fashion and customization option.  Those open the posibillity expressing the own lifestyle, personality or discovering other interpretations. Making it a different kind of social game experience.


Facebook Farming Games See 20 Million Playing Everyday

By Camilla Noon
Farmville 2

Screenshot from Farmville 2

Caught playing Farmville 2 at work?  You’re not the only one. Surprisingly, the Farm genre is the most played social gaming category on Facebook with almost 20 million daily active users, that is, people logging in to play every single day.  The top ten Facebook genres, as collated by our Facebook analysis tool AppStats, throw up some unexpected entries but also see familiar developers leading in the fields.

The Bingo genre takes tenth place, with Zynga Slingo taking top game within the genre accruing 1.900,000 daily active users (DAU).  Number nine sees a revival of the Restaurant genre with yet another Zynga game, Chefville, claiming pole position with 4.2 million DAU.  At number eight, the Quiz genre, headed by SongPop developed by Freshplanet with 3.9 million daily active users.

With a total of 7.572.831 DAU, Strategy and Combat games come in at seventh place.  This genre sees fairly high monetization rates and the top game, Social Empires, sees Spanish developer Social Point get a look-in.  The Poker genre holds sixth place with Zynga’s Texas HoldEm game claiming in excess of 6 million daily active users (DAU), almost 5 million more than its second placed rival.

At fifth place is the Word game genre.  Word games can be played on or offline, without the need for sound and can be played during a short break at work.  All of these factors have contributed to the increased popularity of such games illustrated by number one word game Words with Friends boasting 6 million daily active users.

RankSocial Gaming GenreDaily Active Users (DAU)
1.Farming Games19,770,963
2.Bubble Shooter Games17,058,800
3.Match-3 Games13,863,000
4.Slot Machine Games11,550,000
5.Word Games11,114,000
6.Poker Games10,238,623
7.Strategy and Combat Games7,572,831
9.Restaurant Games5,179,500
10.Bingo Games4,949,000

The Slot Machine genre takes fourth spot with a total of just over 11.5 million DAU.  This genre is an interesting one to watch.  Such games are not regulated on Facebook and users do not play with real money.  There is, however, high incentive for the company to start monetization of these games.  In fact, the folks from Menlo Park have collaborated with UK developer Gamesys and launched a pilot project that sees a gambling game played with real money.

The Match-3 genre takes third place with 4.7 million DAU for top game Candy Crush Saga.  This genre is fairly equally represented with various game developers compiling the top ten Match-3 games.  The hugely popular Bubble Shooter games, unsurprisingly, take second place.  They have proved a real hit and a number of developers showcase their games in this genre’s top ten.  Zynga’s Bubble Safari shows DAU totaling an enormous 4.9 million.

Farming games are the surprise number one, with the genre attracting just under 20 million DAU.  Zynga’s newly released Farmville 2 alone boasts 8.700,000 daily active users.


Who is Who in Asia: Playbucks Games

By Huel Fuchsberger

With Gemmings Rush the newly hatched company Playbucks Games debuts on Facebook. Their game is a Word-Building-Puzzle Game that unifies different genres. The Company is based in Seoul and consists of 12 employees. Here are more details about Playbucks Games:

  • Name: Playbucks Games

    Gemmings Rush Ingame Screenshot

  • Founded: Seoul, Korea
  • Founded by: Joonwon Choi
  • Founded in: 2012
  • Funding: No
  • Acquisitions: No

    Gemmings Rush Ingame Screenshot

  • Number of employees: 12
  • Number of Games published: 1
  • List of Games published on Facebook:Gemmings Rush
  • Describe what you do in a sentence:
    Playbucks Games truly loves and desires to develop the good games for everyone to have more fun in their lives.
  • Games published on: Facebook
  • Acting as a Publisher: No
  • Working with publisher: No

    Gemmings Rush Ingame Screenshot

  • Publishing games in with languages: English
  • Game genre: Word-building
  • User demographics : Worldwide English speakers of all ages
  • Best-selling virtual item : All Items are free at this point.
  • What do you see as currently most exciting trend in the industry: Serious Games

Who is Who in Europe: Playotope

By Huel Fuchsberger

Playotope has developed in cooperation with Greenpeace an online game that should teach players about the endanger rainforest.  Forest of Eden is a positive impact game that wants to incentive players to engage in environment protection. The game is right now in closed beta and will be available for the public early next year.  Here are more details about Playotope:

  • Name: Playotope GmbH

    Forest of Eden Ingame Screenshot

  • Founded and Based: Berlin, Germany
  • Founded by: Sebastian Bacher and Anjin Anhut
  • Founded in: 2009
  • Funding: No external funding
  • Acquisitions: No
  • Number of employees: 5

    Forest of Eden Ingame Screenshot

  • Number of Games published: 1
  • List of Games published on Facebook:
    Forest of Eden (Closed Beta)
  • Describe what you do in a sentence:
    Playotope develops Positive Impact Games that combine fun of playing with real engagement for ecological and social causes.
  • Games published on:
    The Web
  • Acting as a Publisher: No
  • Publishing games in with languages: English, German, Spanish, French, Italian

    Forest of Eden Ingame Screenshot

  • Game genre: Adventure and Simulation
  • User demographics (gender): Targeting all genders and all ages
  • User demographics (location) : Worldwide
  • What do you see as currently most exciting trend in the industry:
    Positive Impact Games
    the return of adventure games

HitFox Group Accelerates Global Expansion and adds Seasoned Executives

By Sebastian Sujka

HitFox Group, the world’s first game distribution company builder, continues its international expansion and announces rapid growth in revenue and market reach. Only weeks after entering Asia Pacific with an office in Seoul/Korea, the Berlin headquartered group is extending its local presence to San Francisco and Paris.

The HitFox Group is focused on building and acquiring synergetic businesses in the fields of game distribution and user acquisition, and its portfolio companies include ad2games, AppLift and Game Finder. ad2games, the group’s online game marketing subsidiary, tripled its monthly revenue since acquisition from Gameforge 10 months ago. HitFox’s mobile game marketing business AppLift which launched in August 2012, is already driving up to 10.000 non-incentivized installs per game, country and day in 30 different markets. Additionally, HitFox’s mobile game discovery company and app Game Finder, successfully launched in Germany, has beta-launched localized versions in the US and France, with mainstream TV appearances to follow shortly.

The HitFox Group is currently partnering with 160 game publishers such as Electronic Arts, and Perfect World.’s Shane Horneij, responsible for Mobile Marketing states: “AppLift is a great partner providing quality users at scale. We look forward to further growing our partnership.”

HitFox CEO Jan Beckers comments: “Mobile and online gaming are increasingly becoming global industries and we are already generating 80% of our revenues from international customers. The US is the most important market, followed by Germany, France and the other big European markets. We are committed to growing our core markets with local teams, with Nicole DeMeo and Jean-Philippe Decka taking the lead in San Francisco and Paris.”

Nicole DeMeo, who was both an early consulting team member at Scoreloop (successful exit to RIM) and Peak Games (3rd largest worldwide in social gaming), and has a long career in technology marketing, is joining HitFox in San Francisco as VP Marketing and Strategic Relations. She notes: “HitFox has a phenomenal team, the right offerings and a huge market opportunity ahead. “It’s clearly a perfect match for my passion of building businesses and I’m impressed by the fast growth HitFox has already demonstrated.”

In 2012, the HitFox Group’s staff went from 25 to 75 professionals. Within the next year the company plans to double the workforce of the existing portfolio companies while their revenues are expected to increase five-fold in the same time. Following its mission as a company builder, HitFox plans to acquire or co-found at least 1-2 additional businesses in 2013.


Game of the Week – Stormfall: Age of War

By Huel Fuchsberger

As one of the few social games using voice output Stormfall: Age of War differentiates itself early from other castle building games. The Israeli developers manage to distinguish their game from others on the market and create an interesting world to play in.  With  1,300,000  MAU and 200,000 DAU on AppStats it leaves question, if the positive  initial impression is carried into the higher levels of the game.

Developer/Publisher:  Plarium
Genre:  Strategy
Languages:  English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Turkish
Best-selling Item: 3000 Sapphires ($14.47)
Platforms:   Facebook
Active users (Facebook): 1,300,000 MAU 200,000 DAU

How to play
Stormfall is a castle builder like many others. The main resources are gold, iron and food. With those the player has to construct buildings, recruit troops, buy upgrades or research new versions of the mentioned things. To defend and expand his castle, the player has to form alliances with other player or wage war against them. Also trading is possible. Interesting here is that is implemented as an open market. Players offer a good and name its price. It is up to other players to buy or ignore the entire on the market. Prices therefore are determined by demand and supply.

Another way to interact with friends, next to the trading and alliances, is the possibilities to summon ghost troops to reinforce the own troops. Together with the option of sending troop and resources to allies and the possibility of mailing each other, Stormfall manages to create an opportunity for real bond between players.

If played with the right persons the player in Stormfall experiences the game as if he was a real lord in this world. In these occasions Stormfall shines and engages the player the most. Players don’t play alongside anymore, occasionally interact with each other, but they start to play together by planning wars and calling for aid. In these cases the game works the best. For those players planning on the long term the premium currency gets interesting.

Pay to save

At first it seemed odd that Stormfall asks the player for real money to build something essential to a fortress like walls. But on second thought, it makes sense. Since walls are only needed in a case of defense they only result as an advantage when attacked. This means different than combat troops and other objects that are needed to expand, walls more or less saves the players progress. A strong defense makes sure that the spoils of war or the profit from trades won’t be lost that easily to others players. This advantage is only needed for players that plan playing on a longer time frame. It is possible to play without a strong defense, it is just riskier to do so.

Also the management of the player’s session is handled naturally. Stormfall doesn’t rely on an additional energy system. Only resources and traveling time of troops limit the player’s progress. This means that even if the player is not actively playing, the game moves on.  Since other players may move as well while the player is offline, it creates the tension of the classical browser game. In which the player always wonders, what is happening in the world of Stormfall.