A few big social game developers, like Zynga and Playfish, might seem to be the big winners on the Facebook Platform so far. But there is both a range of successful smaller gaming companies and a healthy group of non-gaming applications doing well alongside the biggest players. In fact, even as the largest incumbents have lost users or stayed flat over the past year, many others have grown.
Fueled by Facebook’s ongoing expansion around the world, improving social game and app product quality, and increasingly sophisticated techniques of making money through virtual goods, the ecosystem is continuing to offer opportunities to smaller players and newer entrants. Here’s a quick look at some of the lesser known companies that have been building successful social app and game businesses on Facebook this past year.
But how will small and medium developers grow in 2011, given the rising cost of user acquisition and changes to Facebook’s viral channels in 2010? We’ll be examining what these and other developers have done to make their applications succeed despite a changing platform environment at Inside Social Apps InFocus 2011, our January conference looking at opportunities and uncertainties affecting social apps and games.
Using its own simple quizzing and gifting apps as starting points for cross promotion, the developer has morphed into a publisher of games from other developers around the world. While its own apps bring in 2.56 million daily active users and 30.8 million monthly active users, the other ones it publishes add up to 6.9 million DAU and 35 million MAU.
Having started life making television and sports applications, it transitioned into social gaming late last year, and has found big revenue streams in more traditional-style games like Kingdom of Camelot, even though it’s relatively small in terms of traffic, at 938,000 DAU and 10.3 million MAU. Kabam has grown from just over 20 to nearly 200 employees in 2010 alone.
The company is one of a few to have hits on both mobile and social. MyTown’s self-reported 3.3 million players make it one of the larger location-based games on the iOS platform. Nightclub City has a solid 930,000 DAU and 6.41 million MAU on Facebook and has distinguished itself in the industry as a high-quality game.
Founded by industry veteran Trip Hawkins in 2003, the company focused on casual and mobile gaming for much of its history. But it spent the first part of the year launching titles on Facebook, and hit paydirt with city simulation game Millionaire City. It is now the tenth-largest developer on Facebook, with 17.9 million MAU and around 3 million DAU, and it is busy rolling out newly-themed versions of its hit, with titles like Hollywood City and Vegas City.
The German company only launched at the beginning of this year, but it has put together a quick string of successes, with its three games – Bubble Island, Monster World, and Brain Buddies – reaching 11.7 million MAU and 1.94 million DAU. Wooga remains the largest social game developer (by MAU) based in Europe.
There are a long list of other developers that have made notable breakthroughs this year, ranging from established app developers who have transitioned to focus on social gaming, to others who have carved out user bases for other types of niches – Metrogames, GSN, Boyaa, Happy Elements, iWin/Backstage, LOLapps, MindJolt, Popcap, 50 Cubes, ZipZapPlay, and more.
The Inside Social Apps agenda will cover the most salient issues facing developers of all sizes, including monetization on Facebook in a world shaped by Credits, emerging trends in mobile gaming, and the promise and opportunity of other social platforms.
Join us at ISA on January 25, 2011 to learn and connect alongside today’s leading entrepreneurs working in social apps and games.
We’re honored to present the following confirmed speakers at Inside Social Apps InFocus 2011:
- Atul Bagga, VP Equity Research, Games, ThinkEquity
- Bill Gossman, CEO, hi5
- Bret Taylor, CTO, Facebook
- Deborah Liu, Commerce Product Marketing, Facebook
- Eric Chu, Group Manager, Android Platform, Google
- Jason Oberfest, VP Social Apps, ngmoco:) (now part of DeNA)
- Kevin Chou, Co-founder and CEO, Kabam
- Manu Rekhi, GM Games, Content, and Platform, MySpace
- Peter Relan, Executive Chairman, CrowdStar
- Raph Koster, Former President, Metaplace; VP Creative Design, Playdom (now part of Disney)
- Rex Ng, Co-founder and CEO, 6waves
- Rick Thompson, Co-founder, Playdom (now part of Disney), and Investor
- Sean Ryan, EVP and GM Games, News Corporation
- Sebastien de Halleux, Co-founder and COO, Playfish (now part of Electronic Arts)
- Vish Makhijani, SVP Business Operations, Zynga
- Eric Eldon, Editor, Inside Network
- Justin Smith, Founder, Inside Network
Inside Social Apps takes place on January 25, 2011, and a full agenda will be announced shortly. Keep an eye on InsideSocialApps.com for more information.