GameHouse, a casual gaming unit of Real Networks, has today released its classic puzzle title, Collapse, for a wide range of platforms: PC, Mac, BlackBerry, iPhone, Android and Facebook. You’ve probably already played the game at some point in your life — you start with a Tetris-like window, various colored squares rise to the surface, and you keep trying to find at least three matching squares, touching squares before time runs out. The fewer squares you end with, the more points you get.
On November 10, it had 143,000 monthly active users. Today it has 414,000. Not Zynga-like, but also not too bad for a casual game that’s been ported on to Facebook. Ported isn’t quite the right word, as GameHouse has customized each version of the game for the platform it’s running on — the computer versions, for example, come with mini games. The Facebook version features daily and weekly tournaments, although we’re not sure if that feature was just added or has been around for awhile already. More, from the press release:
Players compete in weekly tournaments with their Facebook friends, each day introducing a different challenge and twist to keep even the most dedicated fan on their toes. As they compete with friends around the globe and earn coins to purchase valuable power ups, players will also find codes for use in the Mobile and PC/Mac versions.
We’ve seen another casual game creator, Popcap Games, get some good results around the tournament concept for its classic-turned-Facebook game, Bejeweled Blitz.
Meanwhile, social games appear to be getting the strongest results with asynchronous game play, in that you can play with friends without being online at the same time, as well as with appointment gaming, where each player needs to come back at a set time to complete an objective. The iconic example is FarmVille, where you can do things like earn points for weeding your friends farm patches, but also need to log in yourself to sow, weed and harvest your own virtual crops.
Daily or weekly tournaments are a mechanism to bring players back on a regular basis, instead of just randomly playing the game whenever they feel like it. Regularly scheduled tournaments, like what Bejeweled has done and what Collapse is doing now, are a way for casual games to have their own sort asynchronous, appointment mechanic. We expect to the idea continue to play out as more casual game developers experiment with Facebook.