Inside Social Games has the story today of TYLER Projects, a Singaporean developer of social games on Facebook that is showing strong revenue numbers on virtual goods transactions with a relatively “small” audience by traditional Facebook application advertising standards.
In what is becoming a growing theme these days, the majority of TYLER’s business comes from international audiences on the Facebook Platform. According to co-founder Leonard Lin, over 51% of players in Battle Stations, the company’s main game, are in Asia / Pacific. That breaks down to 17.5% in Hong Kong, 12% in Singapore, 7% in Malaysia, 6% in Indonesia, and 3% in Austrailia. Only 21% of players are in the US, and another 7% are in Canada.
And unlike many Facebook applications, Battle Stations is monetizing well. According to Lin, the company is doing about USD $40,000 per month in virtual goods transactions in the game.
How has TYLER done it?
“Many Facebook ‘games’ might give some short term satisfaction but they don’t really involve any strategy, which is critical to creating an engaging experience,” says Lin. “They also have limited content which means players will get bored quickly once they feel they’ve seen all there is to see in the game – which is bad obviously if you want them to spend money on the game.”
Lin says the company’s strategy has focused on developing the core game mechanic and security, instead of focusing on virality.
We decided not to go the route other developers went: focusing on growing their user base, adding more apps, making them more viral, etc. Instead we kept working on Battle Stations trying to improve it: more content, better security, better gameplay and balance.
The reason we chose that strategy? We wanted to monetize with a virtual goods model; and for that to happen our game would have to be:
- Relatively secure – Customers probably wouldn’t like it very much if a hacker or scripter could obtain the same virtual goods for free.
- Long term engaging – The game has to have enough content and provide a deep enough experience if we want repeat purchases of our virtual goods.
TYLER Projects is one example of an emerging class of companies building new businesses on the Facebook Platform through virtual goods transactions and focusing on a valuable target demographic. We expect to see more of these companies sprouting up as 2009 progresses.