Mochi Media, a company that distributes developers’ Flash games across the web, is now introducing a few ways to make its service more social. It has developed a standardized leaderboard that lets you log in using Facebook Connect and see how many points or awards you’ve earned in a game, versus how well your Facebook friends have done. You can also share your scores and other activity back from the game to Facebook, MySpace or Twitter.
In other words, these social features could help friends share more information about these games with each other, and bring Mochi and the third-party Flash developers it works with more users. Mochi founder Jameson Hsu tells us earlier versions of its leaderboards and awards have already increased plays per user by 20% to 30%. “It’s like Xbox Live but for Flash games,” as he explains the cross-game feature.
This social move pits Mochi more directly against social gaming companies on Facebook and MySpace. Right now, many of these games are spreading via Facebook’s news feed, for example, where a user sees an item about a friend’s activity in a game, clicks, and joins the game. Mochi intends to get these users trying out Flash games via the same mechanism — it is competing for users time.
Mochi has already been introducing some other significant cross-game features, including the Mochi Coins virtual currency earlier this summer. The company’s original business was an ad network that displays things like video pre-roll ads on the games. The new features may drive more revenue. More game-plays means more opportunities to show ads. But, also, the Connect integration lets a Facebook user immediately go in and buy coins without having to first set up a Mochi account.
Developers can customize the leaderboards, profiles and much more in order to fit the new features into their existing games (more here and here). On a somewhat related note, Mochi is also rolling out ways for developers to split revenue from games between multiple people — useful for the small, independent teams who create many of the games on the service.
The social release is another step towards Mochi’s goal of being the Flash-game platform on the web. More than 118 million people access the 17,000 games that Mochi distributes every month, according to comScore. More than 40 games have integrated Coins since the feature fully launched at the end of July. “Ads are still a large portion of revenue,” Hsu tells us, “but we’re seeing so much growth of virtual currency so quickly that it’s the primary focus right now.”
To dig deeper into the virtual goods market, check out our new report: Inside Virtual Goods: The US Virtual Goods Market 2009 – 2010.