With 65 million registered users Belgium-based Netlog is one of the major European social networks. Between one third and half of Netlog’s users are active, most of them are between 13 and 24. In Collaboration with Spil Games Netlog launched casual games end of last year. Since the beginning of this year social games where slowly rolled out and tested. Today the social network claims to have about two million unique gaming sessions per day. We talked with Netlog about their positioning, their views on Facebook and about the importance of social games.
Social Games Observer: How important is the games section for Netlog?
Netlog: The games show how we identify ourselves as a network. It is about meeting new people. Playing social games online is a great way to meet people and a great opportunity for people to exchange and connect. Games lower the threshold to communicate. If I challenge somebody in a game or steal your crops it is the first step to start communication. We see games as a way to increase user engagement and, of course, to monetize our users. Also it is a way to support our strategy to position Netlog as a network where you meet new people instead of staying in touch with people you know like you do on Facebook.
SGO: What kinds of games are currently popular on Netlog and why do count gaming activity in terms of unique game play sessions?
Netlog: The traditional games are popular: farming, mafia games and football games. But I think it is too early to draw conclusions, we are constantly adding games that we hope will match and will monetize well. We try to find games that are the perfect match with our audience.
Mobster Legends has been played over 30 million times in 3 months which we consider quite a lot. Happy harvest has an own virtual currency and about 200 thousand unique players and it is one of our best performing social games. We indicate activity in game play sessions because most of our games currently are casual games for which unique game play sessions are the most interesting measurement.
SGO: In a nutshell, why is it interesting for developers to launch their games on netlog?
Netlog: There are lots of opportunities. Everybody looks at Facebook now and everybody can develop games for Facebook. The results of that are hundreds of thousands of Facebook games in which you need to invest heavily into advertising to get users for your game. What Netlog tries to do is build a partnership with each game developer. We try to provide traffic and we monetize the user together. We develop a media plan and we share revenue.
Additionally we cherry pick games. You will not see games live that do not match our core audience. We review all games that go live. We do not want 20 poker games and 20 farm games. If you have 20 farming games it is likely that only one will work and we cannibalize our revenue. We prefer to have a living community around one game rather than ten communities around ten games. You need to reach a critical mass before you can start to monetize.
SGO: How many games are on your network right now?