Real-money gaming platform Betable today announced the newest partner in its private beta program: casual game developer Frima Studio’s new real-money game division 3OAK.
3OAK is a new development studio formed to create casual and social games built featuring real-money gameplay. Like other developers who have partnered with Betable since the company came out of stealth last summer, 3OAK will be targeting international audiences with the games featuring Betable’s API.
Although real-money gaming has only been seen in social casino games so far, 3OAK isn’t working on these kinds of titles right now. 3OAK director Mikael Lefebvre tells us the studio is working to bring real-money mechanics to genres they haven’t really appeared in so far. As a result, the company has a slate of five game concepts it’s working on, based on the most popular social game types. While he can’t share too many details right now, Lefebvre says the company’s first title will be a humorous/light social RPG which is already in the early testing phase and is expected for an early Q2 launch.
Lefebvre says 3OAK tested out real-money gaming by creating a social game prototype with a cash out mechanic. The prototype showed the retention and engagement were significantly higher than the norm in social games, as well as converting users to paying players. He thinks implementing elements like this will is the way of the future because, “all this makes sense because in the current market the cost of acquiring users is getting higher and higher, so we need higher revenue per user and revenue per paying user.”
While 3OAK’s titles will feature real-money gaming in the territories where such mechanics are legal, Lefebvre tells us they’ll also be available as standard social games in other countries with soft and hard currencies.
Betable CEO Christopher Griffin tells us he’s excited about how 3OAK’s implementing his company’s API; according to Griffin, this is one of the first examples of Betable’s technology in social games outside of the casino genre. He tells us there are other developers working with Betable on non-social casino games, but none of them have been officially unveiled yet.
Griffin believes this is just the start of a larger movement in the social/mobile gaming industries to incorporate real-money elements. “I think this is more than a trend and will be more than a trend,” he says. “This has something that will be very core for how these games monetize and will be essential for them to have some element of real money in them if they want to be competitive.”
Although this is the first time we’ve heard of companies making casual games with real-money mechanics, we’ve known this was a possibility since Betable first came out of stealth. When we initially chatted with Griffin back in July, he provided a mock-up graphic showing how his company’s API would look in mobile titles like Words With Friends and Hero Academy.
Betable’s proven a popular partner in the social/mobile games sector ever since it publicly debuted. Griffin reveals the demand to work with the company has been so great that its team has doubled in size. Before this latest announcement, Betable’s announced partnerships with some major casual gaming companies like Big Fish Games, Digital Chocolate, SGN and Slingo.
3OAK’s first games will be launched for mobile platforms, but the plan is to make them cross-platform sooner rather than later. “Everything has to be cross-platform,” Lefebvre notes.