Pocket Gems releases case study about its publishing program, first two published games both saw more than 2M installs in the first 2 weeks

Pocket Gems logoMobile game developer and publisher Pocket Gems today released a case study about its publishing program, where the company explained its publishing philosophy and process. It’s first two published games — Chasing Yello for Android and Amazing Ants for iOS — both saw more than two million installs in the first two weeks of its respective releases.

The purpose of the case study was to review the first two games Pocket Gems published and to share some information on how the games performed as well as more on the publishing process between Pocket Gems and the indie developers. Future developers can get a better sense as to how Pocket Gems works with developers, since many have asked Pocket Gems how its publishing process works.

“We had on our website that this is the general process, but here we can say here’s what we did with the first developers we worked with and get a better sense of what it actually looks like,” says Jameel Khalfan, who oversees publishing efforts for Pocket Gems.

The San Francisco-headquartered game studio, which was founded in 2009, first announced that it was adding a publishing side to its business in December 2012. The development house had revealed three games from indie developers it was publishing so far. The first game published by Pocket Gems was endless swimmer game Chasing Yello for Android in December 2012 from German developer Dreamfab and Danish developer Tactile Entertainment. The second title was Twyngo’s Lemmings-like puzzler Amazing Ants for iOS in January. Pocket Gems’ third announced title that was part of its initial publishing deal was we.R.play’s robot action title RoboQuest for iOS, which has yet to release. Khalfan says the game will launch “soon.”Amazing Ants screenshot

Khalfan reiterated what CEO Ben Liu told Inside Mobile Apps last year, saying Pocket Gems didn’t believe there were any good publishing options for developers, so that’s why the company decided to fill that void.

“We only publish games that we love from a small group developers,” Khalfan says. “Our goal isn’t to go and publish a thousand games. Our goal is to find the best games and focus our time and attention on them rather than going for the shotgun approach.”

Pocket Gems helped Twyngo and Dreamfab through the entire publishing process including the design, engagement, and monetization phase, the testing phase and the launch phase. Khalfan adds that each developer Pocket Gems worked with needed help in one phase more than the other. Pocket Gems helped Twyngo decide whether it should release two versions of Amazing Ants — a light and full version — or a purely freemoim game with in-app purchase. Twyngo ultimately went with the latter. Dreamfab, which had already released Chasing Yello for iOS on its own, came to Pocket Gems for help with porting the title to Android. Due to the severe fragmentation when it comes to Android devices, Pocket Gems aided Dreamfab by telling the indie developer its best practices for which Android devices and operating system versions Dreamfab should support and not support.Amazing Ants screenshot

“For each different game, it’s going to be a different approach from everything from the game design to the QA process to the launch and the ongoing marketing and analytics,” Khalfan says. “That’s the best approach for developers because they all want something a little bit different and they all have different skills sets, and they all have different things they are good at and things they want help on.”

Pocket Gems is now one of many major gaming giants such as DeNA, GREE, Zynga and Kabam which have invested into the publishing of third-party titles.

A fear many indie developers have when working with publishers is if their game doesn’t perform well, publishers will put less support and resources into the their game, while putting more into games that are performing well.

“We want to put in our all for every game that we publish, so that’s why we focus on a smaller set of games,” Khalfan says.

Khalfan says Pocket Gems is currently looking for more games to publish from all genres and primarily free-to-play. Developers interested in learning more about Pocket Gems’ publishing efforts can go here.

MediaSpike goes mobile, hires Manny Anekal as CRO

mediaspike1

In-game product placement advertising company MediaSpike today announced it’s making its services available to mobile developers and that it has hired Manny Anekal as Chief Revenue Officer. Anekal, who formerly led in-game advertising sales at Zynga, EA and Microsoft, will also “initiate” the company’s presence in New York City

MediaSpike is geared towards letting developers and advertisers work together to put product brands into games with a minimal amount of fuss. The way the system works is developers can apply two-dimensional images with product advertisements to parts of their game.

MediaSpike allows advertisers to use lightweight SDKs to target specific user groups while the company’s background servers do the lion’s share of the work. An advertiser selects the target audience’s demographics (which determines which partner game the content will appear in) and the length of the campaign. From there, the SDK lets a user select what type of item would sport a brand image, with arbitrary sizing being automatically supported.

Now iOS and Android game developers can join MediaSpike’s platform lineup alongside offerings for Flash and javascript developers. Mobile game developers can add this new revenue stream by dropping in the appropriate library and declaring which objects can become placements. MediaSpike then works with major brands to place the appropriate ads.

MediaSpike also revealed that a recent campaign for Pepsi which placed virtual vending machines in Gaia Online had players interacting with the machines and even complaining when the campaign was finished and the machines removed.

Director of Digital Brand Marketing at PepsiCo Beverages Andrea Harrison said “We love seeing these kinds of results.”

Director of Sales & Business Development at Gaia Interactive Christopher Castagnetto was also pleased with the service. “For a small, one-time integration effort you get a new, on-going revenue stream that also enhances the user experience,“ he said. “We’re looking forward to many more product placement campaigns.”

Director of Sales & Business Development at Gaia Interactive Christopher Castagnetto was also pleased with the service. “For a small, one-time integration effort you get a new, on-going revenue stream that also enhances the user experience,“ he said. “We’re looking forward to many more product placement campaigns.”

EA CEO John Riccitiello steps down, Larry Probst appointed Executive Chairman

ricco

Game developer and publisher Electronic Arts today announced John Riccitiello will step down as Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors, effective March 30. Larry Probst, who was CEO prior to Riccitiello, was appointed Executive Chairman while the Board searches for a new, permanent CEO.

EA made the announcement today via an official release, also stating that the company is considering both external and internal candidates to replace Riccitiello.

“My decision to leave EA is really all about my accountability for the shortcomings in our financial results this year,” Riccitiello explained in his letter to EA (published by Kotaku). “It currently looks like we will come in at the low end of, or slightly below, the financial guidance we issued to the Street, and we have fallen short of the internal operating plan we set one year ago. And for that, I am 100 percent accountable.”

Riccitiello also took pride in the strides the company has made in the mobile space, telling his employees: “You are number one in the fastest growing segment, mobile, with incredible games like The Simpsons: Tapped Out, Real Racing 3, Bejeweled, SCRABBLE and Plants v. Zombies.”

EA’s release cited Probst’s accomplishments when he was last CEO, also specifying his contributions to online and mobile. “As CEO, Probst successfully grew the Company’s annual revenues from $175 million to approximately$3 billion, led EA into new platforms such as mobile, online and other emerging markets and expanded its international presence to more than 75 countries.”

EA CEO John Riccitiello steps down, Larry Probst appointed Executive Chairman

ricco

Game developer and publisher Electronic Arts today announced John Riccitiello will step down as Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors, effective March 30. Larry Probst, who was CEO prior to Riccitiello, was appointed Executive Chairman while the Board searches for a new, permanent CEO.

EA made the announcement today via an official release, also stating that the company is considering both external and internal candidates to replace Riccitiello.

“My decision to leave EA is really all about my accountability for the shortcomings in our financial results this year,” Riccitiello explained in his letter to EA (published by Kotaku). “It currently looks like we will come in at the low end of, or slightly below, the financial guidance we issued to the Street, and we have fallen short of the internal operating plan we set one year ago. And for that, I am 100 percent accountable.”

Riccitiello also took pride in the strides the company has made in the mobile space, telling his employees: “You are number one in the fastest growing segment, mobile, with incredible games like The Simpsons: Tapped Out, Real Racing 3, Bejeweled, SCRABBLE and Plants v. Zombies.”

EA’s release cited Probst’s accomplishments when he was last CEO, also specifying his contributions to online and mobile. “As CEO, Probst successfully grew the Company’s annual revenues from $175 million to approximately$3 billion, led EA into new platforms such as mobile, online and other emerging markets and expanded its international presence to more than 75 countries.”

CocoaChina’s Fishing Joy generating more than $6M a month worldwide

CocoaChina logoChinese mobile game developer and platform maker CocoaChina today revealed that its flagship franchise Fishing Joy is now generating $6.28 million per month in revenue worldwide, with more than 10 million daily active users (DAU), doubling its monthly revenue in two months.

CocoaChina attributes the game’s success to continued optimization and the rapid growth of the Chinese smartphone user base. The company also increased the game’s reach by reducing the game’s package size, making it more attractive to users with limited bandwidth and data plans.

Last month, the company’s U.S. general manager Lei Zhang told Inside Mobile Apps that Fishing Joy 2 (responsible for the vast majority of the revenue) was generating $4 million in gross revenue as of February.

Inside Mobile Apps also talked to CocoaChina in Nov. 2012 about the company’s strategy for the Chinese market. Zhang attributed Fishing Joy 2’s success to his company’s broad distribution strategy, a stringent anti-piracy policy, and most importantly, access to carrier billing. Back then Fishing Joy 2 was pulling in $1.6 million a month from the Chinese Android market.

Fishing Joy’s 10 million DAU is nothing to sneeze at as well. Monthly active users (MAU) and DAU figures are generally kept close to the vest by mobile game developers. For comparison, Electronic Arts’ hit resource management game The Simpsons: Tapped Out was said to have reached 2.8 million DAU after the title was ranked No. 1 on the iOS top grossing apps charts in October 2012.

Inside Mobile App also recently reported on CocoaChina’s high profile hire of Kai Zhao as its U.S. VP of Engineering and its plans to launch a social gaming platform in 2013.

Bee Cave announces first game, seed funding of $1.4M

beecave

Bee Cave Games today revealed that it has closed an initial seed investment round of over $1.4 million from from employees, select private investors and a strategic investment from Glu Mobile.

The Company’s first title, Blackjack Casino, is now in private beta on Facebook, with mobile and tablet versions in development as well.

Bee Cave Games is a social and mobile games developer founded in late 2012 by former Zynga employees Erik Bethke, Nimai Malle, and Jeremy Strauser, all former employees at Zynga’s Austin office, which was significantly downsized last year. Members of the development team have worked on both social and AAA console and PC titles including Zynga’s Texas Hold’em Poker, EA’s NFL games, and Blizzard’s Diablo series.

Kabam grossed over $180M in 2012

KAB_Icon_Rnd10

2012 was another profitable year for core game developer Kabam. The company today announced the year’s gross revenue exceeded $180 million, up 70 percent year-over-year from 2011.

Although the developer didn’t reveal the exact details of its earnings, it did say that it was profitable for the year. In a statement, Co-Founder and CEO Kevin Chou said the company had initially expected 2012 revenue to grow only by 30 to 40 percent; meanwhile, the company is entering 2013 with an annualized run rate of more than $200 million. The company also revealed that seven of its games were grossing more than $1 million a month in 2012.

Unsurprisingly, mobile proved to be the platform with the most growth for the company, based on the success of titles like Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North and the recent high-profile launch of a tie-in game for Warner Bros. blockbuster Holiday film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Kingdoms of Camelot: Battle for the North, took the No. 1 spot on Apple’s Highest Grossing Apps list for the year of 2012. In 2011, the company’s revenue was coming solely from Facebook, but with the company moving onto open web and mobile platforms, Facebook only accounts for about 30 percent of its present income.

One interesting point to note in this morning’s earnings release was that “Kabam’s average revenue per daily active user (ARPDAU) is eight- to nine-times higher than the industry’s largest company.” Based on what we’ve heard from Zynga much earlier in 2012, that means Kabam is presumably bringing in at least $0.50 in ARPDAU.

As we recently noted, Kabam isn’t slowing down. The company started the year off by acquiring Vancouver-based Exploding Barrel Games, bringing its worldwide headcount to over 500 people.

SponsorPay grows by 126% in 2012

Value-exchange advertising company SponsorPay today announced it more than doubled revenues in 2012 thanks to a 479 percent growth in transactions on its platform.

SponsorPay credited this growth to its BrandEngage platform, its mobile ad network and user acquisition campaigns for Fortune 500 brands and app developers.

“Mobile became the dominant growth engine for SponsorPay last year,” CRO and co-founder of SponsorPay Janis Zech said. “It’s still early – mobile ad spend will grow exponentially over the next few years, and our aim is to continue to outgrow the market significantly.”

SponsorPay also touted conversion rates on social engagement were as high as 76 percent, and click-through to online retail pages were often greater than 30 percent. The company cited its Domino’s campaign specifically, which integrated video ads into social games, resulting in 36 percent clicking through to the Domino’s online ordering page.

You can read our full interview with Zech about SponsorPay’s plans for mobile in 2013 here.

PopCap, Hasbro announce Bejeweled ‘face-to-face’ games

Toy and board game company Hasbro today announced it has obtained the license to develop and distribute a wide range of physical games based on game developer EA PopCap’s properties.

Hasbro says it will introduce two new games in the spring of 2013 based on Bejeweled, which has sold more than 50 million digital units worldwide, and has 2.7 million daily active users on Facebook with Bejeweled Blitz.

Not surprisingly, In Hasbro’s new Bejeweled physical game players will also swap gems to match 3 or more to win. Hasbro’s Bejeweled Frenzy will be a fast-paced card game that challenges players to match gems to build stacks of cards as fast as possible.

Hasbro says the new physical games will add value to their digital counterparts, though so far all it revealed is that Hasbro’s Bejeweled will include a downloadable version of Bejeweled 3 for the computer, and Bejeweled Frenzy will include a code for Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook which can be redeemed for four Rare Gems.

The deal between Hasbro and PopCap comes on the heels of a similar deal Hasbro made with Zynga in September 2012 to distribute board games based on Zynga’s social games, some of which we were able to play in October.

Social games news roundup: Bossa Studion launch Merlin, Playdom celebrates Halloween, Peter Moore on the state of social games and more

DisneyUTV releases Cricket Fever Challenge – On Wednesday DisneyUTV released its multi-platform multiplayer cricket game Cricket Fever Challenge. The game allows players to challenge their friends to matches across iOS and Android devices as well as through Facebook. The game also keeps track of players’ performance with leader boards and Player Profile Cards in the style of Xbox Live’s Gamertags.

Bossa Studios’ Merlin: The Game launches open beta — Fans of the hit BBC television show can now play Merlin: The Game. Developed by Bossa Studios, makers of the BAFTA winning social game Monstermind, Merlin: The Game aims to introduce casual players to a deeper, real-time cooperative role-playing game. We published a very favorable review of the game which you can find here.

Disney Playdom launches spooky Halloween content for top games — Disney is adding Halloween-themed content to many of its game as the holiday approaches. Ghosts of Mistwood now features four new ghastly locations and the Pretty Little Liars 5 Days of Gifting promotion in which players investigate the Ghost Train from the Pretty Little Liars Halloween special. In the Time Crystal chapter of Gardens of Time players explore buildings like Haunted Mansion. Even Marvel: Avengers will celebrate Halloween with new missions featuring Ghost Rider, and in Disney Animal Kingdom Explorers players can build Haunted Tents and rescue Black Cats and Scarecrows.

Lima Sky partners with Ravenburger — Doodle Jump developer Lima Sky announced that it partnered with German board game manufacturer Ravensburger to create the first Doodle Jump board game. The announcement comes on the heels of the latest major Doodle Jump content update (also Halloween-themed) that is slated to release at the end of October.

Warner Bros. signs Spooky Cool Labs to develop Wizard of Oz Facebook game – Spooky Cool Labs announced it acquired the license from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment to develop and publish an online social game based on the classic movie The Wizard of Oz. The license grants access to the film’s beloved characters, music and likenesses, including the likeness of Judy Garland’s (Dorothy), Margret Hamilton (the Wicked Witch of the West) and others. Closed Beta testing of the game is already underway. Interested players can Like the game’s new App Page to participate as testers.

EA’s Peter Moore responds to Zynga layoffs, state of social games – “We always feel bad when people lose their jobs,” Electronic Arts’ COO Peter Moore told Eurogamer in an interview. “Our hope is certainly… those folks can get re-employed pretty quickly.” Kind words considering EA’s and Zynga’s ongoing legal dispute and public name calling. Moore also countered a lot of the doomsaying which followed the recent layoffs and departures at the social gaming giant. “I think [social gaming] just got a little overhyped. And now the demise is being overhyped the opposite way. I still think there’s a strong place for social gaming. I think a lot of social gaming is moving [to] mobile. We feel well positioned to take advantage of that. And people shouldn’t read too much into whatever is going on with Zynga.” Read the full Eurogamer interview here.

Get the latest news in your inbox
interested in advertising with inside social games?

Social Media Jobs
of the Day

Social Media Specialist

California Academy of Sciences
San Francisco, CA

Community Manager

Advanstar Communications
Iselin, NJ

Social Media Journalist, Travel Website

McMurry/TMG
Washington, DC

Social Media Manager

The National Review
New York, NY

Featured Company

Join leading companies like this one and recruit from the nation's top media job seekers on the Mediabistro Job Board. Every job post comes with our satisfaction guarantee. Learn More
 

Our Sponsors

Also from Inside Network:   AppData - Facebook & iOS Application Stats   PageData - Engagement Data on Facebook Pages   Facebook Marketing Bible   Inside Network Research
 
home | site map | advertising/sponsorships | about | careers | contact us | help courses | browse jobs | freelancers | events | forums | content | member benefits | reprints & permissions terms of use | privacy policy Copyright © 2014 Mediabistro Inc. call (212) 389-2000 or email us