Monster World developer Wooga looks back at three years of success on Facebook

monster-world-650-bannerImage via Wooga

Three years after the launch of Monster World on Facebook, Wooga has taken a look back at its wildly successful farming game, releasing some stats and examining how the company has been able to retain such dedicated users three years after release.

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Wooga reveals publishing platform for mobile games, unveils new game Jelly Splash

wooga-jelly-splash-650

Social and casual game developer Wooga has announced its new publishing strategy, which will see the company partner with developers around the world to release free-to-play mobile games.

This news comes along with new details concerning Wooga’s next game, Jelly Splash, which is set to release on iOS next month.

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Pearl’s Peril is Wooga’s fastest-growing game to date

pearl's peril 250

German social and mobile game developer Wooga today revealed that its latest hidden object game Pearl’s Peril is its fastest growing game to date.

Pearl’s Peril reached one million daily active users (DAU) in 24 days. Diamond Dash, a simple arcade-style game reminiscent of the older casual game Collapse and Wooga’s biggest hit, reached one million DAU 47 days after it was released on Match 16, 2011.

Wooga says that Pearl’s Peril continues to grow steadily. This is also evident in our weekly roundup of the fastest-growing Facebook games by MAU, which this week showed that the game added 305,741 MAU and a 6 percent gain for an estimated total of 5.4 million MAU.

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The Top 25 Facebook games of April 2013

top25featureIt’s time to look at the Top 25 Facebook games for April 2013.

Starting this month, Inside Social Games will report on the top 25 Facebook games using AppData’s estimated monthly active users (MAU_E) and estimated daily active users (DAU_E). MAU_E and DAU_E are estimated MAU and DAU values based on current performance data from Facebook and our six-year-old database of historical Facebook application metrics. By analyzing trends in our database of almost 400 million measurements of how MAU and DAU function and move over time, our data scientists have been able to develop algorithms for estimating MAU and DAU values for Facebook applications.

Both of April’s lists saw King, which recently rebranded from King.com, continue to hold the top spots, though Zynga is still close behind and with more titles in the top 25 lists overall.

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Wooga entering mid-core market, aims to change storytelling with newest social games

Wooga-logoSocial mobile developer Wooga is continuing to expand its development efforts, today announcing its next four titles that include a mid-core strategy game. At a media event, Wooga Founder and CEO Jens Begemann revealed that his company was profitable for the year of 2012 (but declined to go into specifics) and also laid out what the first half of 2013 is going to look like for the game developer.

For the first part of 2013 Wooga is launching four games, two on mobile and two more across social and mobile platforms. The first mobile game will be the long-anticipated iOS version of Wooga’s long-lasting farm sim, Monster World; this will launch for iPhone and iPad on March 21. Wooga is also gearing up to launch a new IP built around snackable game experience, Pocket Village, exclusively for iOS on April 11. You can read more about these titles and Wooga’s mobile focus on our sister site, Inside Mobile Apps.

The biggest game announcement of the day, however, was that Wooga is entering the mid-core market with its new game, Kingsbridge. This isn’t entirely surprising, as core gamers are known for monetizing at rates well above the social/mobile industry averages. Begemann says the game will stand out from other titles in the genre because it will be “Wooga’s take on mid-core.” (more…)

The Inside Network Job Board: DoubleDown, Wooga, Fiksu and more

The Inside Network Job Board is dedicated to providing you with the best social media job opportunities across social and mobile application platforms. Here are this week’s highlights from the Inside Network Job Board, including positions at: DoubleDown, Wooga, Fiksu and more.

Aarki Inc.

App Annie

BrightRoll

Chartboost

DoubleDown Interactive

Fiksu

GREE International

King.com

OneMinuteNews

Playdom/Disney

RadiumOne

Relay Network, LLC

Sugar Inc

Three Across, LLC

Triggit

Wooga GmbH

Wooga launching Bubble Island on iOS

Game developer Wooga is launching its popular bubble shooter Bubble Island on iOS today.

Bubble Island on iOS will use Facebook Connect to provide players with cross-platform play. The game’s been in development for a while, on and off, with the first attempt at a mobile version being worked on over a year ago, but Wooga CEO Jens Begemann tells us that build “wasn’t up to our ambition of fun.” Instead, the developer spent time working on Diamond Dash’s mobile version and then came back to Bubble Island with newfound experience.

We got to spend some time with the game on both the iPad and the iPhone 5, which provide totally different play experiences. The iPad version of the game is presented in landscape perspective, while the iPhone version works in the portrait layout. Begemann tells us the game has different levels for iPhone and iPad, and the iPhone 5’s larger screen size will also allow users to see even more of the game board than on the iPad.

While it might be tempting to compare Bubble Island’s mobile version with that of King.com’s Bubble Witch Saga, the play mechanics are actually pretty different. Bubble Witch Saga has manual aiming and requires two hands to play, (one to aim, one to fire), Bubble Island’s controls let players tap on the screen and fire a bubble at the area they tapped. (more…)

The Inside Network Job Board: Amazon Game Studios, High 5 Games, Wooga, and more.

The Inside Network Job Board is dedicated to providing you with the best social media job opportunities across social and mobile application platforms. Here are this week’s highlights from the Inside Network Job Board, including positions at: Amazon Game Studios, High 5 Games, Wooga and more.

Amazon Game Studios

Applifier

Big Viking Games

Changyou.com

Churchill Downs Technology Initiatives Company

GameDuell

Games Cafe Inc.

Hangtime

High 5 Games

JBA International – IT talent management

King.com

Kiwi Inc

Machine Zone, Inc.

Mintflow Games GmbH

Ooyala

Open Source Robotics Foundation

SponsorPay

Toca Boca

TrialPay

WildTangent, Inc.

Wooga GmbH

Players are in the kitchen with ChefVille on this week’s fastest-growing Facebook games by DAU

Zynga’s ChefVille’s kitchen was on fire in the No. 1 slot with a 6.98 million gain and 3,173 percent more daily active users leaving the DAU at 7.2 million.

In the No. 2 spot was King.com’s Candy Crush Saga with a 15 percent gain, leaving its DAU at 4.5 million. Zynga appeared again on the list in the No. 3 slot with Texas HoldEm Poker with a 600,000 DAU gain and a 10 percent increase. EA’s SimCity gained 55 percent and 530,000 players, leaving it in the No. 4 slot. Wooga’s Diamond Dash appeared on the list at No. 5 with 15 percent gain and a 500,000 gain of players.

Besides ChefVille, all of the games on this week’s list did not make over 60 percent gain in their DAU.

Name DAU Gain Gain,%
1.  ChefVille 7,200,000 +6,980,000 + 3,173%
2.  Candy Crush Saga 4,500,000 +600,000 + 15%
3.  Texas HoldEm Poker 6,900,000 +600,000 + 10%
4.  SimCity Social 1,500,000 +530,000 + 55%
5.  Diamond Dash 3,900,000 +500,000 + 15%
6.  Bubble Witch Saga 4,200,000 +400,000 + 11%
7.  Angry Birds Friends 1,900,000 +300,000 + 19%
8.  Top Eleven be a Football Manager 1,800,000 +300,000 + 20%
9.  Lost Bubble 1,600,000 +200,000 + 14%
10.  SongPop 4,200,000 +200,000 + 5%
11.  Pyramid Solitaire Saga 1,500,000 +200,000 + 15%
12.  المزرعة السعيدة 2,000,000 +200,000 + 11%
13.  開心水族箱 1,400,000 +200,000 + 17%
14.  Monster World 1,900,000 +200,000 + 12%
15.  Bubble Island 1,300,000 +200,000 + 18%
16.  FarmVille 3,200,000 +200,000 + 7%
17.  Bejeweled Blitz 2,500,000 +200,000 + 9%
18.  Buggle 1,100,000 +110,000 + 11%
19.  Bubble Blitz 1,200,000 +100,000 + 9%
20.  Slotomania 2,100,000 +100,000 + 5%

All data in this post comes from our traffic tracking service, AppDataStay tuned for our look at the top emerging apps on Friday.

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Jens Begemann opens up about Wooga’s culture, expansion plans and its recipe for success

Game developer wooga is already a success on Facebook, with three titles on our lastest Top 25 games list, and it’s now starting to expand onto other platforms. At last week’s Casual Connect in Seattle, Founder and CEO Jens Begemann sat down to talk with us about the company’s culture, how and why it’s expanding into mobile games, what led to its recent departure from Google+ and offers some advice on how game developers can find success with mobile and social titles.

Stay in one area and encourage a “learning culture”

Although wooga is the No. 4 game developer by daily active users on Facebook, the company only has one office in Berlin with 200 employees. When asked if the studio had any plans to establish a permanent presence on the West Coast (as most social game developers do), Begemann tells us, “When it comes to game production and creation, we believe there are lots of advantages to having everybody under roof. The exchange of learning is so fast because we can just speak to each other.”

Begemann explains that learning is a big part of wooga’s culture. Every employee gets $2,000 and two extra days a year to use however they want, though these resources are mainly used for education. As a result, conferences like Casual Connect in Seattle and the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco are well-attended by members of the wooga family. Likewise, the game team has weekly meetings where members have ten minutes to describe what they’ve learned in the past week.

Leaving Google+

Wooga recently made headlines when the company publicly pulled away from Google+, which many outlets blamed on a lack of users. Begemann says wooga moved away from Google’s social network so it could focus on mobile platforms, as the developer wants to be on platforms with hundreds of millions of users. As a result, Begemann tells us half of wooga’s workforce is now focused on mobile development.

“We’re a small developer,” he explains. “Therefore, we have to make choices for the different opportunities out there. Many of the opportunities are really really good, but we have to make choices on where we think the biggest gross is. Even if a platform is good and profitable, we have to choose where our focus should be. Google+ is a good platform, but we’re focused on mobile now.”

Moving forward with mobile

Begemann tells us he believes critical mass is easier to attain with cross-platform titles and synchronized gameplay. Mobile is already proving a successful move for the developer: Diamond Dash came out for iOS in December 2011 and has been downloaded over 20 million times (a figure Begemann says was achieved without spending anything on marketing). At Casual Connect, the developer announced it would bring another popular Facebook franchise — Monster World — to iOS sometime this Autumn, with updated graphics and new in-game items. Begemann also says there’s a pipeline in place through 2013 for wooga to launch as many games as it has over the last 2 years, including mobile versions of established games and new IP.

Although wooga’s already successfully broken into iOS, the company announced it was going to start bringing its games over to Android (starting with Diamond Dash). Android is much more challenging to develop for because of the sheer variety of devices present on the market, and developers are encouraged to make sure their games are compatible with as many devices as possible if they want to be featured on Google Play. According to Begemann, the biggest obstacle with Android fragmentation is the varying screen sizes of all the different devices, then hardware performance and then different OS versions. Like Monster World, Diamond Dash is due on Android sometime this Autumn.

While mobile platforms are popular with game developers, there’s been a lot of recent attention on the Ouya console, which has made headlines for its success on Kickstarter. The system will be powered by Android and already has some big names and services from the games industry (like Robert Bowling — famous for his work at Infinity Ward — and OnLive) attached, though Begemann says wooga doesn’t have any plans to get onto the console but is very interested to see how it performs. Although wooga’s expanding onto the Android platform, Begemann tells us it has no plans to jump on the Ouya bandwagon because, “building a game for the game controller or touch or for mouse is very different. When you do the game design, you have to take that into account.”

“We just focus on making better games.”

Moving further into the mobile market means facing rising user acquisition costs, but Begemann isn’t worried about it. Instead, he says wooga relies on word-of-mouth recommendations and Facebook’s inherent virality to help its games succeed. “I think there are two different ways of looking at the industry,” he explains. “You can look at the user for money and optimize for the highest amount of money; that’s what a lot of developers do, but not what we do. We believe if you create something highly polished and social, you can succeed without relying on user acquisition.

“If your game is different, then you have to rely on acquiring users for lots of money, but we see that as a supplemental method. Spending money on marketing can reach new target groups, but the core of distribution shouldn’t rely on that. We just focus on making better games.”

While making a game great at the start is important in order to achieve initial success, Begemann also notes this isn’t the end of cycle. Instead, the post-launch support is arguably more important. Begemann says game developers need to listen to their player communities because, “the quality of the game and the attention you give your fans post-launch is much more important than it used to be.”

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