GameHouse Aims Blast at Facebook’s Top 10 Social Game Developers by DAU

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.

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7 Responses to “GameHouse Aims Blast at Facebook’s Top 10 Social Game Developers by DAU”

  1. Bubble Atlantis, Dirty Dancing Lead This Week’s List of Emerging Facebook Games says:

    [...] mass of users from a mix of web and Facebook games. This is similar to what RealNetwork’s GameHouse is attempting with its series of casual and arcade titles on the platform. The idea is that because [...]

  2. Judy Simon says:

    Being in the top 10 for social gaming is all well and good for GameHouse but meanwhile, we the clients that have stayed with them through tough economic times are being like collateral damage. Members pay $20 a month for the use of unlimited games, you don’t own them just play them. It started out very straightforward but about 6 months ago the rules started changing and without notification. It is bordering on unethical, we ask the questions but just get chin music enough to continue to collect our money. After articles like the one above I now see why, Mr. Hulett plans to pave the way to his rise to the top 10 through the stupidity of his current clients. Me being one.

  3. Inside Social Games · Watch Sessions from Facebook’s First Ever Games Hack says:

    [...] — already established on Facebook with the Uno franchise and a deep bench of casual game classics — built a bubble shooter with a competitive multiplayer mode that publishes results via Open [...]

  4. Inside Social Games · Digital Chocolate’s Galaxy Life Debuts on This Week’s List of Fastest-Growing Facebook Games by DAU says:

    [...] Bayou Blast [...]

  5. Ruth says:

    I work at GameHouse and wanted to address some of Judy’s concerns. I believe what she’s referring to is that GameHouse recently added a new tier of games called Platinum Edition games, which are not included in our $20/month FunPass subscription product. GameHouse added these games as a way of bringing in some game titles that our users have been specifically requesting; in order to offer the content at all, we had to make them separate from FunPass as part of our agreements with the developers. Please know that we have no plans to discontinue adding regular and Premium Edition games, all of which are available through FunPass, or to stop offering a game free for download every day. Our efforts to expand into the realm of social gaming are having no impact on our download business – in fact they’re entirely different divisions of the company – and we definitely won’t be slowing down the growth of our catalog of games playable through FunPass. The only reason we’ve launched Platinum Edition games is it was the only way to bring users the content they were asking for. I hope that clears things up!

  6. GameHouse focused on social, but isn’t betting on real-money Facebook gambling yet says:

    [...] Seattle-based casual game developer GameHouse is still working to make the transition from a downloadable gaming company to a freemium social game leader. In September, the company’s CEO Matt Hulett told Inside Social Games his goal was to break into the top 10 social game developers by daily active users on Facebook. [...]

  7. GameHouse working to recover from traffic stumble with new GM, new games and move to mobile says:

    [...] made it into the top ten developers like CEO Matt Hulett announced it would when we talked to him in September, but the company has a number of new projects in the works that will (hopefully) turn things around [...]

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