AppPrizes Adds Tournaments to Lightweight Social and Casual Games

Sims, farming games, RPGs and other standard social game genres all offer strong monetization and engagement opportunities to developers. But what about Facebook’s many lightweight and casual games? For these, it can be difficult to keep users around, much less paying.

AppPrizes, a Seattle-based startup, is working on a way to plug in a major new mechanic to lightweight games: tournaments.

Unlike companies like BringIt or GSN, which offer skill-based tournaments that are closely integrated into the game design and make complex calculations, AppPrizes’ tournaments are basic and fast to add in, simply adding up scores from gameplay in the examples the company showed us.

Also unlike other tournaments, AppPrizes actually offers real prizes, instead of virtual goods or currency (although the latter may be required to join). This is where its business model comes in. The company initially asks users to choose potential prizes, which helps it to run targeted ads. The develop gets a portion of this ad revenue.

Some users may also choose to buy a prize if they don’t manage to win it, adding a bit more to the revenue. The real point of the tournaments, though, is to increase retention and help differentiate simple games, according to AppPrizes