Socialgamesobserver

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

22Apr/13

BuddyBet Raises $3 Million In Funding

By Camilla Noon

BuddyBet, the world’s most social betting platform, has received $3 million from private investors to fund the next phase of the development of its P2P betting platform.

After the successful launches of the B2C sports betting offering on www.buddybet.com in October 2012 and the integrated monetization of conversations on third party websites in February of this year, BuddyBet now aims to disrupt the status quo in the gaming industry by introducing a user-friendly way of monetizing online and mobile games.

By combining the concepts of P2P betting and online gaming, BuddyBet allows gamers to raise the stakes by placing bets against their opponents. This strategy adds to the user’s gaming experience and, more importantly for games developers, provides a user-friendly solution for monetizing their games while maintaining a more pure, uninterrupted gaming experience than what they produce through other monetization methods.

BuddyBet has already gathered momentum in the sports media industry through a fruitful partnership with DSG, which has seen their platform integrated across more than 180 websites including Footymad.net, and they are now parlaying that success with an extension of their platform across the much larger gaming industry.

Initial traction with gaming sites shows that allowing gamers to participate in skilled betting challenges against opponents makes games stickier, therefore increasing time spent playing the games or on the website and increasing brand loyalty. Using a proprietary automated skills matching engine, BuddyBet matches players of similar ability levels to ensure bets are placed in a fair situation and add to the competitive element of the game.

Research conducted by Digi-Capital in the 2013 games investment review estimates that the online and mobile gaming industry will be worth $83 billion by 2016. However, social gaming investment plummeted last year by $1 billion, making monetization of social gaming a current and contentious issue.

“Games developers, big and small, all face similar challenges when it comes to monetizing their games,” said Jarrod Epps, CEO, BuddyBet. “For huge brands with dedicated communities it’s easier to charge a high retail price. However, online and mobile developers targeting more casual gamers must turn to alternative methods such as banner advertising and freemium models which annoy their audience and often drive users away.”

We believe that skill game betting is an effective way of monetizing games without the negative implications for a pure and user-friendly experience that occur with other popular monetization methods. BuddyBet offers a fun and effective way of allowing gamers to support their favourite developers, and this latest round of funding will be crucial to our effort to fulfil this objective.”

7Jan/13

Game of the Week: Dragon City

By Huel Fuchsberger

With over 16M MAU and more than 4M DAU Dragon City is Social Point’s flagship-game. In the wide variety of games offered by the Spanish developer located in Barcelona, Dragon City is their most popular RPG-Farming-Hybrid. Since the release in May 2012 the user base has grown constantly. It now ranks as the #6 on the AppStats.eu DAU leaderboards.

Developer/Publisher:  Social Point
Genre:  RPG/Adventure
Languages:  English
Best-selling Item: 25 Gems($ 1.94)
Platforms:   Facebook
Active users (Facebook): 16,400,000 MAU 4,200,000 DAU

How to play
In Dragon City the player hatches, grows and trains dragons to fight dragons of other players. New dragons can be bought and need to be hatched in the hatchery. When hatched the dragon has to be places in a fitting habitat that the player builds beforehand. To get the dragons into fighting shape, the dragons need to be feeded to level up. Food can be harvested from farms the player builds. Reaching level four, three dragons can be taken to the battlefield. Winning increases the value of dragons and the rate they produce gold. Also the premium currency gems can be won by fighting other players. With this mechanics the player tries to level up his dragoons, breed new kinds by mixing different kinds of dragons. The collecting and training of the dragons creates a bond to these creatures and enhances the experience significantly. Together with the well balanced economic system it makes a great social game.  

Good Balance

Dragon City succeeds in doing what many other games of this type never quit manage – making the game bearable for those who don’t pay. Playing Dragon City the player doesn’t get the impression all the interesting stuff is a week grind away. It Every day something new can be discovered or build. Only in Battles the difference can be felt significantly, since players that invest or have a big friends base playing the game tend to have the better trained dragons than regular players. Still it is possible to beat those players after a few, by adjusting the own team just for those fight. Those encounters show the good balancing and game design of Dragon City and make clear that social games can be fun without requiring payments.

31Oct/12

Who is Who in Europe: Mandala Games

By Huel Fuchsberger

Mandala Games is a French developer  located in Natntes. Their currently biggets game on Facebook is the slot machine game  La Riviera with 330,000.  Here are more information about the company:

  • Name: Mandala Games
  • Founded: Nantes (France)
  • Founded by: Nadya Jahan
  • Founded in: August 2010
  • Funding: No
  • Acquisitions: No
  • Number of employees: 6
  • Number of Games published: 2
  • List of Games published:
    Divinitiz
    La Riviera

    La Riviera Minigame on Facebook

  • Describe what you do in a sentence:
    Social Casino Games on Facebook and mobile
  • Games published on: Facebook and iOS
  • Working with publisher: Yes

    La Riviera on Facebook

  • Acting as a Publisher: No
  • Publishing games in with languages: English, French
  • Game genre/s: Social Casino Games
  • User demographics (gender) : Mostly Female
  • User demographics: location : Mainly in the US
  • Best-selling virtual item (also indicate price and game):
    Extra Bonus Power-up – $4.90 (La Riviera)
  • Most expensive virtual item (also indicate price and game):
    1.2M Coins Pack – $200 (La Riviera)
  • What do you see as currently most exciting trend in the industry:
    Social Gaming & Gambling Convergence
22Oct/12

Game of the Week: Bubble Paradise

By Huel Fuchsberger

Bubble Paradise is a bubble shooter from the in Barcelona located developer Social Point.
It’s an older game that managed to rise up to last week’s #6 top gainer in MAU on AppStats.eu.  At the currently it is Social Point’s 4th biggest game after the popular Dragon City, Social Empires and Social Wars.

Developer/Publisher:  Social Point
Genre:  Puzzle
Languages:  English
Platforms:   Facebook
Active users (Facebook): 610,000 MAU 40,000 DAU

How to play

Bubble Paradise is a straight forward bubble shooter. The player proceeds from level to level by solving the bubble puzzles. By matching three bubbles of the same color they disappear. In fixed time intervals the bubble field moves towards the player, resulting in a game over if the bubbles reach him.

The game is fairly simple when it comes to its mechanics. No special bubbles, items or power ups. By inviting friends it’s possible to increase the amount of tries for a level. Also a tournament mode is available, which doesn’t play any different than the regular mode. To make up for the lack in game play depth, a story element has been added. But it falls short and is no incentive to play this game for a longer time period.

Nothing Special

Social Point’s bubble shooter doesn’t add anything to the proved bubble shooter mechanics. Even the things that are there such as the tournament modes, awards and story don’t feel fleshed out. Also the aggressive social implementation with several pop–up screens in a row do not help  the experience. In sum, it leaves this social game in mini-game-prototype state, which won’t hold its current user number for long

16May/12

Mobile Game of the Week: Diamond Dash on iOS

By Huel Fuchsberger

Social is going mobile. Now that facebook is mostly dominated by a chosen few companies, new users have to be targeted. Wooga was setting foot in the mobile market with  “Diamond Dash” brand. Diamond Dash was originally released at March 2011 on Facebook and has now 19 million monthly users and marks #20 of the top Apps on Facebook. In the App Store the games is generating solid numbers as well.

According to Wooga Diamond Dash has been downloaded over 11 million times since the release in December 2011. So what makes it so appealing that millions play it on a regular basis?

At its core Diamond Dash is a ‘Match-3’ arcade puzzle game.  Your goal is to achieve points by clearing gems in an 8×7 field. Gems can only be cleared when at least 3 gems of the same type are next to each other (not diagonal).  If the player taps on such a set of gems, they vanish and new gems fill up the field from the top changing the field and leading to a new set of gems in the field.

Every game is limited by 60 second, in which a new high score has to be set. The key to do so is to chain combos.  If you swiftly clear several gems in a row you enter an overdrive mode, where not only the matching gems are cleared but also the surrounding ones, leading to more point for you. If you keep your run up, you stay longer in this boosted mode.

Another way to earn more points is clearing gems rapidly without tapping on wrong combinations.  This will fill a meter, that when fully charged, lets a burning diamond appear in the field.  Triggering it lets a meteor crush down on the field and clearing every gem in the row of the triggered diamond.  Also playing the game for a longer period will get you advantages.

You get ‘experience stars’ with every game you play. Higher scores result in a higher amount of experience. Every level increases your score bonus. With level 12 you get access to magic spells that make it easier to get higher scores.But the true reason why this game is so addicting is the social part.

To play the game you need lives. They replenish every 7 min and stack up to a maximum of 5. You can increases your number of hearts by buying them with gold you gets for every level up. Gold can also be purchased via In-App purchase.  The less costly way to be able keeping playing is to ask friends to send you lives. To do that you can connect with your Facebook account.

Diamond Dash was one of the first games that came with Facebook Connect. This allows users to log in with their Facebook accounts. This not only makes it able share their scores and achievements on Facebook, but also to play with the same profile as in the flash version on Facebook.  This is important because you get a better chance to win weekly tournament.

Both versions are synchronized and scores are loaded into the same leader board in which you can compare your scores with those of your friends. Every week it is resented and the best player of the week gets a medal as a reward and the bragging right of being the best. This Facebook integration brings a whole new dynamic into the mobile game, because you are no longer competing with strangers in the game center but with your friends.  You know who you have beaten and also who has surpassed you in the high score.

Diamond Dash is in many ways a success. It shows how cross-gaming is done right. Not only does it manages to translate a Facebook game on to the mobile platform but also adds to the whole experience of social games.  You play on the same data base and every game matters.  Even if you are not connected with your mobile device, scores are stored and the added to the database when you are connected again.
This game really shines if you connect it with your Facebook Account, a good example how social gaming is translated onto a mobile device. If more games of this kind enter the freemium mobile market, many have to reconsider their stand to social platforms.