By Andrew Wee, a Singapore-based Internet marketer and business consultant.
Is 2013 the year that the industry shifts from the social web to the mobile web as a gaming platform?
It might seem so, going by the number of sessions focused on mobile game development at Casual Connect Asia 2013, which took place from May 21-23 in Singapore.
While many major gaming networks and startups at the conference zoomed in on Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android, a number of stalwarts continued championing the likes of Facebook and Chrome’s webstore. Read more
The company behind Candy Crush has revealed that the game is played by around 1.3 million people a day in Hong Kong, which is almost 20 percent of the city’s population. Candy Crush is a puzzle game where players earn points by matching candies — sort of like Bejeweled.
This nugget of information was revealed on TechCrunch by Riccardo Zacconi, the CEO of King, the mobile and web gaming company behind the smash hit. Read more
Nonstop Games, a Singapore and Finland-based developer of mobile games, has announced today that it has raised USD 2.9M in early stage funding from Creandum, the Nordic investor in Spotify, and Lifeline Ventures, a Finland-based early stage investor that has funded successful Finnish games company Supercell.
The startup (formerly GamesMadeMe) also unveiled its first mobile game, Heroes of Honor, and revealed that it will be setting up an office in Silicon Valley. It currently has 11 employees in Singapore. Read more
Touchten, one of Indonesia’s top mobile game developers, has been very busy in China lately. In January, it launched Sky Beauty — a localized spin-off of its popular Infinate Sky game — and apparently has been doing rather well.
The company announced today that within one week, Sky Beauty, a first-person aircraft shooter, has achieved 100,000 downloads and about 10,000 daily active users on China’s iOS App Store. Sky Beauty was localized in partnership with Yodo1, an apps publishing platform that provides a set of tools to help apps succeed in the country.
China is an interesting market for Touchten. It claims to have a ‘secure foothold’ in the United States, with the country making up the largest segment of its user base. So it makes sense for the company to target China’s rapidly growing Middle Class population, which accounts for the most number of iOS and Android activations in the world (even larger than the US). Read more
Kakao is a South Korea based company founded in late 2006 that is recognized for KakaoTalk, one of the most popular mobile chat apps in Asia. It has built an ecosystem of apps around KakaoTalk, giving users the ability to access a variety of services with one Kakao account. The company’s other products include:
- KakaoStory, an Instagram-like photo sharing social network,
- KakaoLink, an API that lets phone users sent links to friends on KakaoTalk, and
- Kakao Game, a platform for game developers to publish their games on KakaoTalk, and Kakao members to play games with one another.
- Kakao Page, a content and media publishing platform that pays content creators.
As of May 2012, the company is valuated at about USD 454M. In December the same year, it reached a staff strength of 280, up from 14 exactly 3 years ago.
Kakao has more products in the pipeline for 2013. That includes Story Plus, a marketing platform based on Kakao Story, Chatting Plus, which enhances KakaoTalk with third-party apps like maps and music players, and KakaoPage, a micropublishing platform that enables authors to monetize their content. A PC version of KakaoTalk has also been planned. Read more
My dad loves Fruit Ninja. Yes, my 50-year-old career-soldier father who’s also especially fond of playing slot machine games on Facebook. In fact, he likes slicing bananas so much that he would beg for my brother’s phone just so he could achieve that 5-hit combo.
That’s when you know a game has gone really mainstream.
Although not much of a fan myself (I’ve spent more time on Angry Birds), I was intrigued to hear from the founders of Australian games company Halfbrick Studios, the people behind Fruit Ninja, when they visited Singapore to talk to game developers. The event, aptly called Developer Dojo, was organized by Microsoft Singapore and tech blog e27.
After all, very few game studios have amassed 300 million downloads on one game and then followed that up with another mobile hit, Jetpack Joyride, which is a success in its own right with 14 million downloads.
I had to hear for myself how they did it. Here’s what I’ve distilled from the one-day session on 15th September. Read more
Hong Kong-based mobile games startup Frenzoo has announced last week that it has partnered with major magazine publisher Condé Nast to cross-promote each other’s games.
Involved in the tie-up are Frenzoo’s fashion RPG title Style Me Girl, and Condé Nast’s Fashion Hazard, a USD 0.99 Temple Run-like, ‘endless runner’ game. Although Condé Nast is certainly better known for publishing magazines like Wired, GQ, and Vogue, the company has an Interactive Product Group that develops experimental, interactive products not affiliated to its existing brands. Read more
While jargon like CPM and impressions have been a staple of mobile advertising, the space is ripe for more groundbreaking innovation.
After all, banner ads are just miniature-sized billboards — a remnant from the pre-digital era — taking up precious screen real estate.
Startups like Gimmie hope to shake things up. Instead of annoying gamers with flashy ads that they’ll skip through anyway, the company enables developers to offer real rewards to players in exchange for in-game achievements, using either an API or SDK. Developers can pick the white label option as well. Read more
Frenzoo, a Hong Kong-based startup that has developed a series of 3D lifestyle and fashion games targeted at girls, has raised US$1M in seed funding from investors in Asia, Europe, and the United States.
Investors include: Efficient Corporate, the investment vehicle of Hong Kong-based angel investor Tytus Michalski; Siemer Ventures, an early-stage, cross-border venture firm with offices in Los Angeles and Asia; K5 Ventures, a pan Europe and Asia-based group focused on media and commerce; and Metaverse Services, a China-based leader in game content creation.
Existing investor Ambient Sound Investments, an early stage venture firm backed by the founding engineers of Skype, has also participated in this round. Read more
Depending on who you ask, HTML5 is the future of mobile apps. Juha Paananen, founder and CEO of GamesMadeMe (update: it’s now called NonStop Games), a Finland and Singapore-based games studio, certainly believes it.
Having received some seed funding from Lifeline Ventures, they are now betting big on the technology with the launch of their first HTML5 game, Dollar Isle.
It is a CityVille-like game that puts you in charge of creating your own city from the ground up. As you complete more goals, you unlock more buildings and plots of land where you can expand your city. You can even decide if you want to pursue the evil industrialist path or the earth-loving, eco-city one.
You will even get a custom URL for your own city (mine’s here, although it’s not exactly a metropolis). Read more