Virtual World Smeet Introduces Branded Games, Launches Cooperation with Spanish TV Broadcaster Telecinco
Virtual world Smeet is tapping into the branded gaming space. Recently, Smeet announced a cooperation with Spanish broadcaster Telecinco group that enables Smeet users to gather around a screen with their avatars and watch shows like Big Brother (“Gran Hermano”) or the dating format “Mujeres y Hombres y viceversa” together. Live streamings are complemented with brand-themed virtual goods.
Other brand integrations will follow soon, Smeet’s CEO and co-founder Sebastian Funke tells us: “It’s easy to create a brand game, because we have developed a modular feature set, which simplifies that process. Together with the respective company, we develop the story and the gameplay. Usually we request some pictures or mood boards for the graphics of the game. However, after receiving that input we take care about the rest and develop the game for our partner.”
These branded mini games are not only incorporated into Smeet’s platform but can also be integrated into the partner’s website, Facebook page or wherever the client wants it to be published. Smeet doesn’t charge for the service but plans to generate income through branded virtual goods. Brands and content partners are offered a revenue share model.
Deep Facebook integration to spread brand messages
“The big advantage for the brand is the fact that users can enter trough the website of our partner and still send out branded posts and requests to Facebook, which then starts to spread virally. So the branded game does not only offer the interaction with the brand, but it is also a nice viral tool,” Funke explains. Users access Smeet through three different channels: the platform itself, partners’ websites and Smeet’s Facebook application, which currently has 760,000 monthly active users.
A tight Facebook integration is a main pillar of Smeet’s new strategy. The Berlin-based company started off as a virtual world in 2006, meanwhile Smeet describes itself as 3D social chat game and introduced a lot of connections to tie user activity on Smeet to notification channels on Facebook – friends can be asked for help in the game, to send each other gifts or to challenge their high scores.
Games hook users, social interaction enhances stickiness
“The problem all social games have in common is that in most cases they are not able to attract the critical mass,” says Funke. “Gaming keeps people busy on the platform. This hook makes them come back and the social contacts and interactions on the platform advance the long-term site stickiness of the users. At first people come for gaming, later on they come for the people.” Funke indicates that Smeet sees significant increase in virality and retention from using Facebook’s Social Graph. However, a lot of analytics and hard work are required to achieve these viral effects.
If Facebook is a planet, Smeet wants to be a spaceship in its orbit
The love for the Social Graph also stems from the understanding that Smeet needs to be a complement to Facebook instead of competing with the social network behemoth. Funke compares Facebook to a planet where people live in their villages (their group of friends) but hardly ever connect with strangers.
He sees Smeet’s role as a spaceship in the planet’s orbit: “The Smeet mothership cruises around the planet and gives the inhabitants a place to meet and to get to know each other. Their communication channels ‘posts’ and ‘requests’ enable users on the Smeet spaceship to communicate with their friends on the planet.”