OMGPOP’s Cupcake Corner Is Part Of A Larger Facebook Strategy: An Exclusive Interview with CRO Wilson Kriegel

CupcakeCornerLogo I recently had the chance to chat with Wilson Kriegel — Chief Revenue Officer for casual multiplayer games portal OMGPOP — about the release of Cupcake Corner, their first Facebook game. The game is a restaurant management type game that doesn’t veer too far from the genre standard in aesthetics, but has some unique features and OMGPOP style graphical flourishes that set it apart from other titles in the genre. What’s interesting here is that the game is part of OMGPOP’s bigger strategy to make inroads into the Facebook gaming market. I talk with Wilson about market research, the Facebook gaming market and the crossover between OMGPOP and Facebook below.

Wilson first explained that Cupcake Corner was the result of a lot of market research, starting approximately 6 months ago. OMGPOP devoted a small team to creating a Facebook game that would stand alone and act as its own product, and would not be solely a vehicle to drive people to OMGPOP. “We went with a baking themed game based on research we did within our site and test campaigns on Facebook. We did surveys and asked our community what they wanted to play and after analyzing the data there was opportunity with this [cupcake] theme.”

Wilson stressed that they came up with their theme before competitors like Baking Life hit the market, and that those games took a little wind out of Cupcake Corner’s sails. That doesn’t phase him or the team, though, as they have a long term strategy to attack the Facebook Games way in the same way they did with OMGPOP, which is to steadily develop quality games and build loyal gamers, rather than overly concern themselves with market competition and timing.

CupcakeCornerScreenshot

In terms of development, the team wanted to first develop a Facebook game platform, upon which they could create their games and accelerate the development of future games. “Our CTO built a platform first, and that will allow us to release the game faster. This took a bit of time up front and as we got into the market, we fell behind a few competitors.”

I asked Wilson about the goals of Cupcake Corner, and their goals on Facebook. Wilson stated “The goal with Cupcake Corner is to create a quality product. It has 100,000 installations and that’s been fully organic, without any advertising. It’s monetizing very well at this point, and we plan for it to be a standalone product.”

Wilson continued “Strategically, we view an opportunity to leverage it as a marketing opportunity but also a way to enter the burgeoning Facebook games market. It’s not primarily to drive people back to OMGPOP … we view OMGPOP as a standalone site.”

Wilson also stated that OMGPOP has marketing opportunities that Facebook doesn’t, as they have control over their own site, and for this reason they are keeping the projects and games pretty much completely separate. The OMGPOP is currently doing some digging to see how many crossover players are playing on both sites to help inform their advertising strategies across the two different products.

Finally, Wilson let us know about their future plans. “IP based content is very important, as Playfish got into that with EA and Playdom had ESPN. We’re in talks with some large sports and music companies about some branded games. We’re also developing unique IP, as usual. Hopefully, we want to see something by Christmas 2010.”

Read an earlier interview with Wilson here.