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


Social Networks in Focus: VZ Networks

By Sebastian Sujka

Facebook currently represents only about a third of worldwide traffic for social networks, according to a recent white paper released by social games and apps platform Viximo and Superdata Research. The non-Facebook category of social gaming will represent the bulk of worldwide revenue generated in the social gaming market, the study states.

Further, the study found that non-Facebook platforms in Western markets will be responsible for nearly one-quarter of worldwide social gaming revenue within the next three years and that the majority of social gaming revenue is made on other platforms, beyond the borders of North America, where Facebook is the clear market leader.

These recent findings as well as strongly increasing user acquisition costs on Facebook are reason enough for us to examine international social networks that might offer opportunities to social game developers. In the first part of our weekly series we present the key facts on the German VZ Networks, which consist of StudiVZ, MeinVZ and SchülerVZ.

  • Country: Germany
  • Founded in: 2005
  • Managing Director: Stefanie Waehlert
  • Specifics: social networking
  • Employees: 300+
  • Office in: Berlin, Germany
  • Membership: Open for StudiVZ and MeinVZ.  SchuelerVZ is limited to secondary school students
  • Languages available: German / English
  • Age restrictions: SchuelerVZ is limited to secondary school students
  • Audience: 16 million registered users
  • Number games live: StudiVZ & MeinVZ:  140  / SchuelerVZ: 99
  • Own virtual currency: No
  • Top5 Games: StudiVZ & MeinVZ: Frohe Ernte, Frohe Ernte 2, Frohe Ernte 3 (all ELEX), Mein Fisch (HappsSNS/Rekoo), Dorfleben (Socialgamenet)  / SchuelerVZ: Frohe Ernte  (ELEX), Pet Party (Plinga), Icy Tower (Plinga), Mein Fisch  (HappsSNS/Rekoo) , Frohe Ernte 2 (ELEX)
  • Open/closed for developers: Open
  • Revenue share for developer: 70%
  • Payment systems: game developer must integrate payment methods
  • Additional notes: StudiVZ and MeinVZ share a user base.  StudiVZ is in German and was the first of the three networks which was originally designed for university students, MeinVZ is also available in English and has been added for non-students.  SchuelerVZ has an entirely separate user base.

Social Games Platform Viximo Launches Backyard Monsters on Yahoo!

By Regina Leuwer

Viximo has launched the resource management strategy game Backyard Monsters, developed by Kixeye, on Yahoo! Games and Yahoo! Messenger. Backyard Monsters lets players design and build towns for their monsters. The game currently has 3 million monthly active users (MAU) on Facebook.

Backyard Monsters joins the town-builder simulation game Township, developed by Playrix, which was also recently launched by Viximo on the Yahoo! Games page and the Yahoo! Messenger client.

Viximo’s platform connects social app and game developers with numerous social networks across the web. The company, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, claims to reach 150 million users worldwide.


New Study: Social Gaming Beyond Facebook to Reach $5.6 Billion in Revenue by 2014

By Sebastian Sujka

The non-Facebook category of social gaming will represent the bulk of worldwide revenue generated in the social gaming market, exploding from $3.2 billion to $5.6 billion in 2014, according to a new white paper released by social games and apps platform Viximo. The study, conducted by SuperData Research, found that while Asia is the largest social games market, non-Facebook platforms in Western markets will be responsible for nearly one-quarter of worldwide social gaming revenue within the next three years.

Despite Facebook’s apparent dominance, especially within the United States, Facebook currently represents only about a third of worldwide traffic for social networks, the study states. The white paper’s findings show that beyond the borders of North America, where Facebook is the clear market leader, the majority of social gaming revenue is made on other platforms, with more focused and locally incumbent social networks dominating new growth. Key markets including Brazil, Germany, Russia and Turkey are currently experiencing a rapid trajectory in increased non-Facebook social gaming traffic and present significant, incremental distribution with strong monetization and lower customer acquisition costs for social game developers.

“The social web beyond Facebook is often overlooked when it comes to games and applications. As it turns out, social networks beyond Facebook represent a non-trivial – in fact, significant – and fertile ground for games and apps,” said Dale Strang, CEO, Viximo.

The white paper also finds that the social gaming market (including Facebook and non-Facebook social networks) is projected to continue to grow, reaching $8.6 billion in worldwide revenue by the end of 2014. Asia remains the largest market for social games and has an estimated $2 billion in total revenue for 2011. Other research findings show that Russia and Brazil are the two Western countries with the largest social gaming audiences, with 35 million and 32.6 million respectively and that Germany is the Western country currently generating the most social gaming revenue with more than $173 million; this is predicted to reach $250 million in 2014.

The findings are presented at a surprising time. At the last f8 conference end of September Facebook further strengthened its market position and announced significant growth outside the US. Despite the strong growth of Asia’s fragmented social network market, current trends indicate that Facebook is gaining a lot of ground in Europe and emerging markets like Brazil and India. The white paper is also very bullish on the Google Plus games section. This prediction is also hard to confirm as Google Plus is going through a decisive phase. Right now Google Plus is only actively used by a crowd of early adopters and does not seriously threaten Facebook’s revenues from the games channel.


Quepasa Publishes Title Wonderful City on Multiple New Social Networks

By Gary Merrett

Social Network and game developer  Quepasa today announced it had signed a global publishing agreement with long-time partner, Viximo. The agreement enables Viximo to manage the localization, publishing and marketing of Quepasa Games’ hit title, Wonderful City – Rio across the Viximo network of social networking properties that encompass, over 15 additional social networking platforms and reaches over 150 million monthly unique visitors.

According to Quepasa Wonderful City’s “initial success has invited substantial interest in publishing and marketing the title to alternative Facebook geographies as well as alternative social networking platforms across the globe”. As of August 31st, the game had generated over 4.4 million installs on, Facebook and Orkut, including over 850,000 DAUs (daily active users) and nearly 4 million MAUs (monthly active users).

The Viximo network of social networking properties includes popular European social networks Tuenti (Spain), Lokalisten (Germany), Gaia Online (US), VZNet (Poland), Odnoklassniki (Russia) and Nasza Klasa (Poland).

Quepasa will provide additional updates on the performance of Wonderful City across the social platforms to which it has been published in its forthcoming quarterly report. Quepasa will discuss key metrics and results in its forthcoming Q3 Financial Results press release in November.


Viximo Launches Snap Me Up on Facebook

By Gary Merrett

Viximo has just launched its social game Snap Me Up on Facebook. Developed by Viximo, the global game has been played by more than four million people on top social sites around the world since its launch in 2010, including IMVU and Quepasa, the leading social network site in Latin America. In Snap Me Up, players find fame and fortune by buying and selling photos of their favorite people. Each player chooses their own path to riches and must decide to buy low, sell high or simply be the hottest person on the market. Viximo’s platform distributes l social games to an international network of partners, matching games to the social networks. Social networking sites in Viximo’s global network include Tuenti, VZnet, IMVU, Gaia Online, MyYearbook, Quepasa, and Orkut, Brazil’s largest social network. Viximo’s fast-growing social games portfolio features nearly 20 high titles including Backyard Monsters, Ravenwood Fair, Farmandia and Resort World.


Viximo Brings Games to German Sites Lokalisten and Spielwiese

By Gary Merrett

Cross-network social games and apps platform Viximo has signed a partnership with Lokalisten Media, the owner of German social network Lokalisten and its new open web gaming platform Spielwiese. Lokalisten, used to have about 3.6 million members at its peak in mid 2010. Afterwards, the network lost a substantial part of its audience to Facebook, which gained traction in Germany very late. Founded in 2005 the German social network Lokalisten is largely owned by ProSiebenSat1, a European Media Company.

To compete in the segment of games Lokalisten launched the their new gaming community Spielwiese in May of 2011, signing many high quality games of developers like Elex and Goodgame Studios, same as several games published by Plinga. The signing of Lokalisten and Spielwiese comes closely after Viximo’s announcement that Orkut joined Viximo’s global platform. Viximo will bring its social games portfolio, which features more than 15 titles including Farmandia, Resort World, Backyard Monsters and Ravenwood Fair, to its new social network partners.


Viximo Adds Ravenwood Fair, Backyard Monsters and Resort World to its Portfolio

By Sebastian Sujka

Social games and apps platform Viximo has expanded its games catalog by recently adding popular games like Ravenwood Fair (LOLapps) as well as Backyard Monsters (Casual Collective) and Resort World (Game Insight). Viximo’s platform distributes social games to an international and catalog of partners, matching games to the social networks beyond Facebook. Launched on Facebook in October 2009, Ravenwood Fair attracted nearly one million users during its first week on the social network site. The title is LOLapps’ most played title to date, with nearly five million monthly active users. Deceptively in-depth, the simulation game challenges players to keep back an encroaching forest by chopping down trees, delivering a near-constant supply of resource-based quests to complete.

Wildly successful resource management strategy game Backyard Monsters (more than 3.2 million active users on Facebook) and simulation game Resort World (nearly three million active users) will also be signed to Viximo and supported with technology platforms enabling them to live on a number of social networks. The signing of the three games will increase Viximo’s catalog of total games and apps to nearly 20. The company recently announced partnerships with CafeMom and MyYearbook, expanding its global reach to more than 100 million consumers around the world.

The fact that Viximo will bring established Facebook games to other social networks shows that even highly successful social game developers believe in the potential of alternative social networks. The current trend appears to be that major social game developers follow a diversification strategy in bringing their games to multiple social networks or websites to avoid total dependence on Facebook. The trend is partly due to Facebook’s unpredictable changes of policies but also shows that there is money to be made on other social networks.


SponsorPay Goes Beyond Europe with Gamania, Mail.Ru And Viximo

By Sebastian Sujka

SponsorPay has announced new partnerships with global online games publishers Gamania and Mail.Ru as well as social games distribution company Viximo.  Viximo’s platform helps developers distribute and monetize social games across multiple social networks, such as BlackPlanet, Quepasa, Bebo, IMVU and others, reaching more than 60 million users worldwide.

SponsorPay’s new cooperation with Gamania and Mail.Ru Games also highlights the company’s international focus, in contrast to their past focus on Europe only. “We are happy to win Gamania, Mail.Ru Games and Viximo as partners who think just as globally as we do. This will further accelerate SponsorPay’s growth”, said Janis Zech, co-founder and Managing Director at SponsorPay.

Pan-Asian gaming giant Gamania entered the Western market last year. “As Gamania expands beyond the well established markets in Asia, including Taiwan Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and China, working with SponsorPay for local advertising offers is the next logical step. We are looking forward to further international growth with them”, said David Wong, COO at Gamania (US).


IMVU Enters Social Entertainment Arena

By Sebastian Sujka

IMVU, an online community where members use 3D avatars to meet new people, chat, create and play games with their friends, today announced that the company is expanding into social entertainment by offering casual and social games on its popular social platform. IMVU is expanding its entertainment features by bringing games to its growing community of more than 50 million registered users by partnering with leading games developers Viximo, Heyzap and OMGPOP. Through these partnerships IMVU is making its first foray into the lucrative casual and social gaming markets, and taking its popular social platform beyond its core 3D chat, play and dress-up to provide a broader social entertainment experience.

“IMVU offers great entertainment value by adding games to our 3D social experience,” said Cary Rosenzweig, CEO of IMVU. “From a business perspective, games combined with our social networking and virtual goods economy is the natural direction to take IMVU to the next level of growth.” IMVU community members can now log in to the IMVU 3D Chat or website to select from a wide variety of social and casual games. Here, members can find a diverse selection of more than 75 casual and social games that offer fun ways to meet new people and to engage with friends on IMVU like never before, including the ability to:

  • Purchase in-game virtual goods with IMVU credits while playing games like Top Modelz, an IMVU-branded version of Viximos Photo Market game
  • Easily customize a variety of OMGPOP games with IMVU-specific virtual goods
  • Integrate IMVU avatar profiles and add friends from within OMGPOPs games

“We are excited to be partnering with IMVU to introduce social games that allow IMVU community members to engage with one another like never before,” said Dale Strang, CEO of Viximo. “Many of our games, like IMVU-branded Top Modelz, integrate seamlessly with IMVUs virtual goods. This makes it possible for the millions of IMVU community members to personalize their fun in our games.”