Casual game developer GameHouse wants to break into the top 10 social game developers ranked by daily active users on Facebook in the next six months. The company plans to accomplish this goal with its franchise of “Blast” social games, beginning with Collapse Blast and continuing with the upcoming Bayou Blast.
Speaking to ISG, GameHouse CEO Matt Hulett explains that the developer is in the process of shifting its business model from casual game downloads to freemium social and mobile games. Since joining the RealNetworks-owned company a little over a year ago, he’s shuffled about 50% of the staff, broken out mobile and social game development from the download segment and says that this year the company will be profitable thanks to taking out some operating costs. The next goal, he says, is getting into the top 10 developers ranked by DAU in the next six months.
Compared to the existing top 10 social game developers on Facebook by DAU recorded by our AppData traffic tracking service, GameHouse got off to a much slower start on the platform with a mix of casual titles, arcade games and licensed properties like Uno and Uno Boost. It wasn’t until the recent releases of Collapse Blast and Adventure Slots that the developer really started to see a sustained lift in DAU (and monthly active users) for the past three months. GameHouse currently enjoys 4.6 million MAU and 657,847 DAU across all 18 of its apps on Facbeook — making it No. 31 in MAU and No. 33 in DAU among social game developers on the platform.
In other words, GameHouse still has a long way to go to get past even mid-market developers like 6waves Lolapps or 50 Cubes to break into the top 10. The road to there from here is paved with new game releases from the developer across both social and mobile platforms with licensed and original IP. At present, Hulett says that GameHouse has about 20 million users spread across a network of three GameHouse-owned sites off Facebook. Migrating that audience to Facebook while also attracting new users on the platform will set the stage for GameHouse to dial up its mobile development with standalone games that leverage Facebook.
The key to all of this is building good games on Facebook (and later mobile) that loyal GameHouse users recognize. Hulett tells us that the back catalogue of GameHouse owned and developed IP is fairly large — which is where Bayou Blast comes from. It’s a variation on the match-3 genre of game that has players dragging a cursor over connecting clusters of gems, trying to create a line between contiguous gems of the same color.
Once made, the gems are cleared from the board for a score bonus and new gems fall into the puzzle to replace them. Play continues until a timer expires and then the player’s total score is calculated to determine their rank relative to their friends’ scores. At launch, the game will be monetized through the sale of power-ups. In the future, it’d be easy to create more monetization around the number of times per day a user can play and any friend gates the developer would like to add to new levels.
It’s an easy enough mechanic to grasp, even if it does seem like the kind of game better suited to a touch interface on tablets. Hulett says its important to grow an audience on Facebook first before carrying over to the mobile market because mobile is simply more fragmented.
The “Blast” treatment for classic GameHouse titles isn’t too different from what King.com does with its “Saga” series of casual games on Facebook. The difference here is that GameHouse doesn’t offer a portal app on Facebook that allows players to experience essentially the same game in two locations. Hulett’s feeling is that portals would dilute average revenue per user across all its apps.
Bayou Blast launches on Facebook toward the end of October. After that, GameHouse plans to release a game based on Fremantle Media’s Lets Make a Deal game show. Hulett declined to detail the developer’s current release schedule for mobile games, but he did remind us that GameHouse already has experience in the market and licensing deals with games like Doodle Jump for non-iOS devices.
You can follow GameHouse’s progress on its six month quest using AppData, our traffic tracking service for social games and developers.