Socialgamesobserver

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

12Aug/13

Who is Who in Europe: Playdemic

By Camilla Noon

Playdemic, a cross-platform social game developer based in Manchester, UK spoke to Social Games Observer this week and we learnt more about who they are. Their newest and biggest game, Village Life, has been praised for its original gameplay. Let’s see what they had to tell us:

Developer Name: Playdemic

Where founded and office/s location/s: Founded and based in Wilmslow, Manchester UK.

Founded by: Paul Gouge & Alex Rigby

Founded in: 2010

Funding: Yes

Acquisitions: Ideas Pad

Number of employees: 65

Number of games published: 6

List of games published: Village Life, Gourmet Ranch, Kingdom Quest, Crossword Buddies, Quiz Buddies, Eye Spy!

Village Life Screenshot

Describe what you do in one sentence: We create high quality, incredibly fun games that really matter to our players.

Where games are published: Facebook, iOS

Publishing games in which languages: Village Life is available in English, French, German, Spanish, Turkish and Portuguese (Brazilian)

Game genre/s: Virtual world, puzzle games

User demographics (gender): Male and female

User demographics (location): Worldwide

Best-selling virtual item: Gems – Village Life

What do you see as the current most exciting trend in the industry: The transition of the mainstream games industry into a free to play service model.

31Jul/13

PapayaMobile’s AppFlood Marks One Year With Significant Growth And iOS Compatibility

By Mo Moubarak

PapayaMobile, the mobile distribution and monetization company, celebrates the one year anniversary of the launch of its AppFlood platform; announcing that the commission-free cross-promotion network for buying, selling and exchanging mobile app traffic has seen a surge of developers joining the network, doubling since April this year.

The AppFlood network has attracted more than 4,500 Android developers to date, accumulating 147 Million users – a 267% increase up from 40 Million in January 2013. AppFlood reached 46 Million Monthly Active Users (MAUs) in June of this year; delivering 1.3 Billion impressions. This growth has been driven entirely on Android and is expected to accelerate with the recent introduction of iOS compatibility.

“We’re positively overwhelmed with the growth we’ve seen in the platform’s first year, which we believe can be attributed to our understanding of developers’ needs,” said Si Shen, CEO of PapayaMobile. “As developers ourselves, we get that developers want more transparency and control over their app marketing efforts; they don’t want yet more middlemen getting in the way and taking all the profits. AppFlood’s transparency and flexibility has resonated with the Android developers that have joined in the first year, and we anticipate that momentum will continue to accelerate our growth through 2013 with the introduction of iOS compatibility.”

Developer Numbers

In addition to iOS, PapayaMobile recently rolled out a number of new features in AppFlood, designed to increase the transparency and functionality of the platform. These features include an Open Direct Deal Network, which combines the visibility of one-to-one deals with the range and reach of an ad network; Multi-Dimensional Analytics that better identify potential opportunities to boost ad revenue and ROI; and Ad Network Mediation, which enables app performance comparisons across AppFlood’s partner networks from a single SDK and dashboard. Partner networks include Appia, Cyberagent, Unicume, Clickky, Altrooz and Motive Interactive.

“The mobile ad network space as a whole is seeing a lot of growth, as illustrated by recent newsworthy acquisitions,” continued Si. “The continued adoption of Android, and Apple’s impressive Q2 results – fuelled largely by the iPhone, indicate that mobile is showing no signs of slowing down. We strive to find new ways to best serve the developer community to better take advantage of that opportunity. Since many of our developers create apps across both Android and iOS, AppFlood’s support of both platforms means far greater reach, far better monetization and more efficient user acquisition.”

The updated AppFlood with iOS compatibility is available now to all new and existing AppFlood customers. There is also an updated SDK available to developers and publishers to unlock this new functionality within their apps. Visit appflood.com for more information.

8Jul/13

App Store Gives Away Popular iOS Games and Apps

By Camilla Noon

Here’s a little treat on a Monday morning. A number of premium iOS apps and games have been discounted to nothing over at the App Store, including the charming and mildly addictive Tiny Wings (and Tiny Wings HD for iPad), Traktor DJ (normally $20), Superbrothers: Sword and Sorcery EP, as well as Infinity Blade II (usually $7). There’s no official promotion to explain or list all the discounts, so we’re left to guess that this could be a prelude to July 10th, when Apple will mark the fifth anniversary of the App Store. Cupertino has already started sending out promotional material to mark the occasion, listing the usual big statistics to show how far the App Store has come since 2008, so these freebies could well be a part of that. We’ve linked up a few of them after the break, but the list isn’t exhaustive so please add more in the Comments section if you spot any others that merit the storage space. Happy hunting!

Traktor DJ for iPad and for iPhone – “The world’s #1 pro DJ software brings high-impact DJing to iPad”

Infinity Blade II - “Can you unlock all the mysteries and successfully wield the power of the Infinity Blade in this timeless swordplay adventure?”

Superbrothers: Sword & Sorcery EP – “an exploratory action adventure with an emphasis on audiovisual style”

Tiny Wings and Tiny Wings HD (for iPad) – “You have always dream of flying — but your wings are tiny.”

Badland – “Award-winning atmospheric action adventure platformer”

Where’s My Water – “Each level is a challenging physics-based puzzle with amazing life-life mechanics.”

via: Engadget

3Jul/13

metricsmonk Releases iOS Analytics and User Distribution

By Gary Merrett

The product’s new innovative “User Distribution” function increases granularity

Today metricsmonk releases the complete iOS analytics feature to complement their current data suite. Joining the already well-established Facebook game and app analytics, the iOS feature contains refined tools to scan how an application or game is performing within different markets.

Up until now, metricsmonk has provided an analytics suite spanning Facebook applications and games. The addition of the iOS feature to this suite ensures customers have access to a broader range of analytics across both the Facebook and Mobile platforms. User distribution is the key tool in this analytics offering. It provides a huge amount of granularity and lets customers scan how users of their app or game are also acting within the iOS market. This helps customers identify who they are competing against for users, thus helping them to adjust user acquisition costs and communication accordingly.

User Distribution Screenshot

The iOS analytics features include:

  • User distribution: the ability to see the distribution of users of a specific application or game over other applications or games
  • Rankings: to show overview of app/game performance within different appstores and categories
  • Item detail: for each app/game, customers can view its ranking across all appstores, the number of reviews it has and the average rating given by its users

“We’re really excited to be introducing iOS to metricsmonk,” CEO Sebastian Sujka enthuses, “I am confident that our clients will find the update a valuable addition to the service. The user distribution is a revolutionary new feature that we’ve been working on for a while and clients are reacting extremely positively to this update. There’s nothing else like this on the market.”

1Jul/13

Supercell and GungHo’s Cross-Promotion Mutually Boosts Presence in Japan and U.S.

By Camilla Noon

Successful developers Supercell and GungHo Online Entertainment launched a cross-promotion this week where Clash of Clans characters and a special dungeon appears in Puzzle & Dragons, their respective mobile games. But both companies are doing extremely well on the app stores — they don’t need help selling their games. What they can offer each other, however, is a chance to penetrate new markets and become relevant there.

Clash of Clans is Finland-based Supercell’s multiplayer strategy game, which recently launched in Japan and quickly climbed the iOS charts in the country. Its other game is Hay Day, where players tend a farm with crops and animals. (It’s currently not available in Japan.) Both are a huge source of monthly revenue. Given the huge success of GungHo’s match-three game, Puzzle & Dragons, especially in Japan, this crossover should help Supercell attract an even bigger audience.

“Ultimately, we hope the collaboration with GungHo will introduce more Japanese players to Clash of Clans and help Supercell get established in Japan,” Greg Harper, the general manager of Supercell in North America, told GamesBeat. “We are only just getting started and plan to bring our other games to market there as well.”

“If you look at the Japanese market and want to work with the best developer, there really is only one option, which is GungHo,” said Harper. “We met the team at GungHo on our very first visit to Japan back in February, and we instantly connected with them. From a culture point of view, our two companies are remarkably similar in terms of how we think about games and game development in general. So the relationship has really evolved in a very natural way that is mutually beneficial. We also have a lot of fun together, so we plan to keep looking for more and more reasons to work and spend time with them.”

The Tokyo-based GungHo echoed those sentiments. ”We had our first meeting with Supercell at the beginning of this year. We discovered that our philosophy and approach to game development were quite similar, so we immediately thought it would be great if we could collaborate,” Puzzle & Dragons producer Daisuke Yamamoto told GamesBeat. “That discussion eventually led to our current event.”

This isn’t the first time that GungHo has done a cross-promotion with another developer. In Japan, Puzzle & Dragons — where players enter dungeons with colorful monsters and battle them in match-3 puzzles based on their elements — has crossed over with Square Enix’s tower-defense game Crystal Defenders, and Necky the Fox, Japanese magazine Famitsu‘s mascot, has even appeared in the game.

“This promotion with Supercell is similar to our Japanese collaboration events in terms of style, structure, and execution,” said Yamamoto. “In terms of strategy, the biggest difference with this particular collaboration is that both parties really focused on providing marketing and promotional support for each other’s titles.”

Rather than simply competing — Puzzle & Dragons dominates Google Play in terms of revenue but often sits neck-and-neck with Clash of Clans on the iOS charts — they opted to help each other out.

Harper said he couldn’t discuss specific details about the cross-promotion, but Supercell is happy with the partnership. “They can obviously help us tremendously in Japan, and we hope to be able to return the favor in the Western markets where we are strong,” he said. “The nature of the relationship ranges from doing in-game cross-promotion in each other’s games to working together in other areas where either of us can be helpful.

“Both companies know their own game very well, and we simply tried to do what we thought would be the most effective collaboration to cross-promote each other’s game. I think everyone is very pleased with how it has worked out.”

“We plan to promote Puzzle & Dragons [in the West] through ad campaigns and more exciting collaboration events,” said Yamamoto. “We hope everyone is looking forward to them!”

Via: VentureBeat

24Jun/13

Line’s Games Platform Hits 150 Million Downloads and Jumps 50% in 3 Months

By Camilla Noon

Line has announced that there have now been more than 150 cumulative downloads of games on its social gaming platform. The impressive milestone comes just three months after Line Game celebrated 100 million app downloads.

The Line service is available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and more, and boasts more than 150 million registered users worldwide. It was one of the first to monetize mobile messaging — both through its games platform and virtual content, such as emoticon-like stickers — and it recorded an impressive $58 million in revenue for Q1 2013.

Launched in July 2012, Line Game allows iOS and Android users to play games with their friends via the Line app. Once both parties have downloaded a specific title (Line users can prompt friends to download particular games) they both load the game and are ready to go.

Currently there are 33 games available — that’s up from 17 titles three months ago.

The company highlights the progress of two games — Line Pop and Line Wind — which have passed 30 million and 10 million downloads, respectively. In celebration Line is running competitions to give away free stickers and virtual coins through the two apps.

Line makes money from its games by offering a range of in-app purchases, and tying the titles in to its mobile messaging service.

Japan-based Line was the first messenger to introduce games, but others have followed suit. Korea’s Kakao Talk launched a games platform last year — which is now see revenues of $30 million per month. US-based video chat service Tango became the first outside of Asia to add games when it launched with an initial two titles this month.

Line continues to experiment with new business models. It’s most recent being an in-app app store. Businesses and developers can pay to list their apps in the store, while users are incentivized to download apps to get free virtual coins.

Already established in Japan and boasting a growing presence in Southeast Asia, it is looking to other regions to continue to grow its user base. Line is targeting Europe, the US, China and Latin America, where it is already seeing traction. Earlier this month, it added support for German, Italian and Portuguese to its iOS app, hinting at a broader push in Europe.

via: The Next Web

18Jun/13

Plarium Launches Total Domination: Reborn For iOS Devices Worldwide

By Camilla Noon

Plarium, one of the world’s fastest growing developers of social and mobile games, announced a new iteration of its hard core massively multiplayer online strategy game –Total Domination: Reborn – is now available for free to iOS users worldwide. This is the first time the popular franchise has been extended to the mobile format, now for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Following its 2011 launch on major social networks, including Facebook, Total Domination has already garnered more than 30 million online users worldwide, placing Plarium among the top two hardcore game developers for Facebook.Total Domination: Reborn leverages the trademark theme of war-as-world-order to provide players an open storyline from which to strategically forge alliances, develop colonies and build empires. The new mobile version of the game is standalone, completely independent from the online version, is developed specifically for iOS and can be downloaded in the iTunes App store here.

Founded only three years ago, Plarium has seen revenues double year over year. With a staff of more than 300 and more than 84 million users online, including 3 million daily active users, the company is expanding globally to new platforms.  Total Domination: Reborn features the key engaging gameplay people have come to expect of the franchise, but designed specifically for mobile with a user interface (UI) optimized for a smaller touch screen and game balance ideal for the format.   Plarium has also invested a level of community management, never before seen in mobile gaming, with an entire staff dedicated to working with those who play Total Domination: Reborn.  Moreover, Plarium is committed to evolving and growing the game the same way it has done with the online version of the franchise.

“We have created something special at Plarium – the ability to take everything people love about our games on Facebook and social media and optimize it for mobile,” said Avi Shalel, Plarium’s Chief Executive Officer. “Plarium is committed to bringing rich and engaging original content, as seen with Total Domination, and now hardcore gamers can get a deep, robust mobile experience like never before.”

Total Domination: Reborn for mobile provides gamers a real-time strategic interface, allowing them to construct empires from the ashes of fallen civilizations. By discovering lost knowledge and researching new technologies, players can lead armies, protect their people, and wage war for control of the world’s resources. Key game features include:

  • Building Forces – Study technologies, stockpile weapons, and unlock powerful colonies, while building forces from over 30 Infantry, Armor Corps, Artillery, and Air Force units.  Strengthen your troops and protect your sectors from invasions.
  • Developing Strategy and Teamwork – A flexible and strategy-based format allows users to play according to their style – gamers can go it alone, or form alliances and clans with other sectors. Extra resources are earned by raiding other communities or by trading with other players.
  • Immersive Storylines – A classic interface is familiar to long-time gamers, plus global in-game storyline developments introduce non-player opponents and new ways to work with or betray fellow commanders.
  • Continually Enhanced Experience – Frequent updates ensure the game stays fresh by offering new units, buildings, technologies, and defensive improvements for players.

Total Domination: Reborn is available now worldwide and translated into English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Russian and Turkish, and can be downloaded for free from the iTunes App store here.

18Jun/13

King’s Top Facebook Game “Pet Rescue Saga” Available on Mobile

By Camilla Noon

King, the world’s leading cross-platform, bite-sized games company, today announces that its popular, top 10 Facebook game, Pet Rescue Saga, is now available on Mobile. The game, which has over 5 million daily players, is available on iOS (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) and on Google Play for Android devices.

“Pet Rescue Saga is one of King’s most-played games. It has strong puzzle challenge and a great story where players work to save cuddly dogs, cats and birds from dangerous scenarios,” said Riccardo Zacconi, CEO and co-founder of King. “Just like with our popular cross-platform game Candy Crush Saga, players will now be able to play Pet Rescue Saga anywhere, anytime and ensure their leaderboards, scores and progress is synchronized, regardless of device.”

Pet Rescue Saga Screenshot

Pet Rescue Saga launches on mobile with over 72 levels featuring more than 10 cute, animated pets in dire need of help from all kinds of threats across a fantastic Saga land that includes both fairytale and urban landscapes. Boosters allow gamers to clear columns or individual blocks in various ways to save enough pets and advance through each episode, which includes 5-10 different types of puzzle levels.

Pet Rescue Saga’s mobile features include:

  • Synced with Facebook: Players can continue their progress, unlock new levels and access leaderboards in both the Facebook and mobile versions
  • Ability to unlock helpful charms and boosters to benefit players’ journey through the Saga
  • 72 exciting levels and several modes for players to test their pet-saving skills against time limits, a limited number of moves and any threats
  • Sharp, vivid retina display and 3-D visuals
  • Built-in online connectivity to see friends who are also playing

Pet Rescue Saga for iOS and Google Play is free and available now. To play, please click here for iOS or for Android go here.

28May/13

Who is Who in Europe: Miniclip

By Camilla Noon

This week we profile Miniclip, a game developer with over 100 million game plays per month. The company develops online, mobile and social games and you can play them across many platforms. Social Games Observer contacted them to learn a little more about them:

Developer NameMiniclip

Where founded and office/s location/s: Founded in London, headquartered in Switzerland. Offices in London, Switzerland, Portugal, Italy and the US.

Founded by: Robert Small and Tihan Presbie

Funding: Self-funded

Number of employees: 146 (as of April 29th)

Number of games published: Over 1000

Describe what you do in one sentence: Provide great games for anyone, anytime, anywhere

Where games are published: Miniclip.com, Mobile, Facebook

Game genre/s: Action/Sports/Social/MMO/Multiplayer/Arcade/Puzzle/Racing

8 Ball Pool

User demographics: Male and Female

User demographics: Worldwide, with big presence in US, Canada, UK, Australia, Brazil, India, Indonesia

Best-selling virtual item: Pool Coins in 8 Ball Pool by Miniclip

Most expensive virtual item: Platinum Cue in 8 Ball Pool by Miniclip

What do you see as the current most exciting trend in the industry: cross platform game experiences

24May/13

DeNA Developing Dungeons & Dragons: Arena of War for Mobile

By Camilla Noon

DeNA is working with Wizards of the Coast to bring a new role-playing game based on Dungeons & Dragons to iOS and Android.

Dungeons & Dragons: Arena of War is a battle RPG that has players picking their legendary characters to take on quests solo or online with other gamers. It uses the Forgotten Realms setting as a backdrop, and it should look familiar to D&D fans. Developer DeNA Santiago is combining the classic Dungeons & Dragons rule set with modern mechanics like massive in-game events and multiplayer competitions.

Fans can sign up now to pre-register for the games Android and iOS release at DNDArenaofwar.com, which will get players access to a rare power in the free-to-play title. DeNA expects to release the game this summer.

“Arena of War is a free-to-play, turn-based battle RPG,” DeNA Santiago head developer Tiburcio De la Carcova told GamesBeat. “It has a very strong social component. You can play and interact with your friends.”

De la Carcova explained that the team is making every effort to optimize the playing experience for mobile devices. This is a fully 3D adventure game, so DeNA wants it to appeal to real gamers. At the same time, it doesn’t want to frustrate players with difficult or unfriendly controls.

“We didn’t try to replicate the PC experience,” said De la Carcova. “We made it a unique experience for mobile devices, and we think we came up with a real novel way to play.”

That means a lot of taping, swiping, and other finger gestures to control the on-screen action.

Despite the new controls, De la Carcova wants to bring the classic feeling of D&D to mobile. He is designing the game to lower the barrier of entry to the beloved series.

“I don’t think there is a D&D game in the mobile arena that captures the classic elements,” he said. “And this one isn’t just about the classic D&D rules — it is also about adapting those elements for mobile.”

This is a free-to-play game, but that doesn’t necessarily mean players will start with under-powered characters. Gamers can choose from 16 classes, but DeNA plans to expand that in the future.

After that, it’s all about doing quests with a party of other characters. The A.I. can control those roles, or players can team up with their friends online.

via: GamesBeat