Cross-platform game distributor Viximo got off to a late start in its business of publishing social games to platforms other than Facebook, only starting in fall last year. But the company seems to be doing fairly well anyway, with an announcement that it has signed on three more Facebook games with a total of almost 11 million monthly active users: Ravenwood Fair, Backyard Monsters and Resort World.
The idea is to re-use assets that have already been published on Facebook to capture new users and revenue on other networks. Viximo, and competitors like Heyzap, do this by creating tools to make it easier for developers to easily plug into the APIs of competing social networks like MySpace and Quepasa.
But there’s more to it than plugging in, according to Viximo CEO Dale Strang. “As tempting as it is to do a quick and easy shortcut onto these networks, the reality is unless you’re really lucky with your game, integration and network, you probably won’t get a big lift. There are too many factors that work against it,” he says.
The best candidates for cross-platform publishing are similar to the company’s three new partner games: titles that have proven themselves able to attract crowds on Facebook already. Developers also need to have the bandwidth to maintain their games across all the platforms they might want to publish on, keeping in mind that the features and viral channels of those networks can vary widely.
For the trouble, though, there’s a significant reward. “We’ve got partners who are certainly generating hundreds of thousands of DAU by launching games on our network, and many are finding that it’s a really nice incremental revenue stream, he says.”
For now, Viximo has about a dozen platforms that it taps into. In 2011, that number could grow, and Strang thinks the overall network will be a good source of growth for social gaming. “Our prediction for 2011 is that the beyond Facebook market will grow much more quickly than the Facebook market in 2011,” he says. Much of that growth will come from overseas, where networks like VZ and Tuenti are still strong.
Strang, of course, is biased to think that his own market is growing. But the total number of players on Facebook is only growing as fast as Facebook itself, so his prediction could well turn out to be correct.
One more trend Strang pointed out, that we’ve also heard others predict, is a growth of social games into sites that don’t look like typical social networks. “We’re talking with entertainment sites, network sites owned by TV and movie networks,” says Strang, adding that sites with high traffic and visit frequency and some sort of social graph could fit the bill, even if they’re not considered real networks.