How Miniclip went from web portal to 100M mobile downloads

Few may know it, but the 11-year old online games portal Miniclip is also a mobile powerhouse. The company has racked up over 100 million downloads across iOS and Android, and currently has 15 million mobile monthly active users across its most popular titles.

The week the Swiss company furthered its commitment to mobile, redesiging its website to make it into a mobile-friendly site that allows users to play Miniclip’s mobile games online before they download the apps to their phones.

The move is an expanded take on Miniclip’s existing cross-platform promotion system, according to Miniclip’s EVP and commercial director Chris Bergstresser. He explains the company pairs the launch of every mobile title with a flash-based mini-version of the game on its website, allowing Miniclip to leverage the 70 million visitors its website receives every month to drive adoption of the new game.

Not only does the approach mean Miniclip doesn’t have to spend much on mobile user acquisition or advertising to drive its games up the charts, it’s also proven to be extremely lucrative for the company.

“We won’t divulge any revenue figures right now, but we can say that mobile has become the second biggest revenue channel for Miniclip – just a bit behind ads,” says Bergstresser. Considering the company was already earning between 20 and 30 million euro in yearly revenue in 2010, its unsurprising Miniclip is pushing even more aggressively into the mobile space. Miniclip is entirely bootstrapped and had never taken on external funding.

While the company still sees more profits and higher average revenue per user (ARPU) on iOS, the next step for Miniclip on mobile is to establish itself on Android. The company currently has 28 iOS games and 15 Android titles, but it plans to release a further 20 Android games within the next year.

In order to support the expansion Minclip has developed its own cross-platform porting technology to allow it take iOS games and bring them to Android quickly.  “The software reduces the time we would have normally spent building an Android version of a game from 1 month to around 1 week,” says Bergstresser.

The end goal, explains Bergstresser is for Miniclip to do for mobile what it has done for the web — to become an alternative discovery engine.  “We see many similarities between the emerging mobile space and how we viewed the web games space when the company started 11 years ago,” he says.

According to Begstrasser, the biggest problem facing developers right now is discoverability, and making sure their title is noticed among the half million other apps currently available in Apple’s, Google’s and Amazon’s stores.

“This is where Miniclip becomes a real differentiator, through our ability to market mobile games on the web to a massive user-base of casual gamers,” he says.