Arkadium Partners with Mob Science on Mahjongg Dimensions for Facebook

The web’s many Flash game developers and those that specialize in Facebook gaming tend to be a world apart, despite being close cousins in terms of their skillsets. But in the future more Flash developers will be moving successfully onto Facebook, if Arkadium is any indication.

Arkadium is old, in internet terms: the company has almost a decade and some 300 games under its belt. And it’s not particularly small, either, with 80 employees split between offices in New York and Ukraine. But until now the company has stayed clear of social networks.

Majhongg Dimensions is its first foray — a game that until now has lived on websites frequented by those nearing their golden years, like AARP.com and Publisher’s Clearing House.

It’s stale news, of course, that Facebook’s youth has been fading as people of all ages use it, but seeing a game like Dimensions launched on Facebook brings the age of its user base into sharp relief. The game has proven fairly popular so far, bringing in about 230,000 users since its mid-January launch. About 32 percent come back on a daily basis, according to our AppData stats.

To ensure Dimensons’ success, Arkadium partnered with Mob Science, a developer that we’ve pointed out for its forays into social gaming, including Sea Garden and Gardenhood (reviews here and here).

The catch for Mob Science is that it has thus far been most successful with one-off holiday apps with aggressive viral components, like St. Patrick’s Day, which made our list of emerging apps today alongside Dimensions. Its games haven’t grown particularly large. However, the company’s marketing efforts for Arkadium seem to be successful so far.

Arkadium’s CEO, Kenny Rosenblatt, says the choices of both Mahjongg Dimensions and Mob Science for the company’s first Facebook game were careful choices.

“I think Mob Science has proved historically that they can grow traffic virally on Facebook,” he says. “We knew there were some strengths on both sides that would complement each other. The games they’ve grown haven’t been very good, so they had a lot of traffic, but monetizing the traffic hasn’t been easy.”

This is not the first partnership between a traditional game developer and a Facebook application company. 6 Waves, which itself has developed many apps and games, also publishes a wide variety of games from others. Others, like Zynga and SGN, have experimented with the model over the years.

The next step for Dimensions, then, is to add features that can be monetized. The game already has leader boards and gifting options; in March, Arkadium will start offering a deluxe, downloadable version for $9.95, and for players who stay on Facebook, virtual items and bonuses like extra time to complete a stage.

The game, by the way, is worth a try. Mahjongg, for those who aren’t familiar with it, involves finding matching tiles within a mixed-up stack. Most games online present the tiles from a single 2 or 2.5 dimension angle; the “Dimensions” in the Arkadium version refers to its 3D stack that has to be spun around while playing to find the right matches. The games are short and sweet, lasting a minute each.

As for Arkadium, Rosenblatt says that its next step, besides working more on Dimensions, is to release one of its existing games each month — they’ve already picked 50 that seem suitable. Games specifically designed for Facebook (and, potentially, a younger audience) are also in the works. “We have a big library, and we know which games and mechanics work,” says Rosenblatt.

If it’s successful in its goal of reaching a million players for each game — something Rosenblatt projects happening next month for Dimensions, based on current growth rates –expect other web game developers to take the cue.