Posts Tagged ‘adsense’

Playfish – landing funding, defending microtransactions, and winning awards

Friday, November 7th, 2008

It’s been a rather good month for London based, social games (quickly becoming) giant Playfish.  From late last month’s delivery of an extra $17M in the bank, to winning a 7th place slot in the Library House’s MediaTech 100, to CEO Kristian Segerstrale’s excellent reasoning as to why microtransactions are (relatively) recession proof at late last month’s Casual Games Forum.

In case you missed it, here’s our coverage of Playfish’s recent influx of $17M in VC via Accel Ventures and Index Ventures.  In a quick summary, Playfish has rapidly become the one stop shop for top casual games on the well-known facebook social networking platform.  4 out of 5 of Playfish’s offerings are consistently ranked in the top 10 facebook games.  Combine this with Playfish’s interest and inclusion as first testers of the upcoming Google AdSense for games, and it looks like Playfish is truly one to watch.

Fast forward only a few days, and we’ve got Playfish CEO Kristian Segerstrale speaking at the Casual Games Forum to the topic of microtransactions and how and why they’re (relatively) recession proof:

“One of the nice things about the microtransaction model is that you don’t have a big charge up front, you only buy the things you want – which will appeal to those tightening their belts.”

“It will be harder to be a startup for sure, and it will probably be harder to secure advertising dollars. But is it really going to be tough times for the market as a whole? I find that difficult to believe, but I don’t think it’s time to get into the bomb shelter yet.”

Really nothing to add to this.  Segerstrale hits the nail on the head by describing what everyone with a wallet wants to hear: I’ve got to rethink how and what I want to spend my money on, but I still don’t want to give up things that I enjoy, i.e. casual gaming.  Solution?  Microtransactions.  Well said sir, well said.

If that wasn’t enough, happy Friday to you Mr. Segerstrale, as Playfish just landed 7th place, out of a possible 100 companies reviewed, surveyed and awarded a spot on Library House’s Mediatech 100.  The Mediatech 100 supported by Kemp Little and NMA represents the hottest 100 private mediatech companies in Europe.  The winners are selected via a stringent review using Library House data filters, and a cross section of expert panelists.  This panel of experts includes top mediatech investors from Europe, Microsoft UK, Amadeus Capital, Kodak External Alliances and Advent Venture Partners.   Using growth and market impact potential, Library House selects the top 100 movers and shakers in the MediaTech industry.

All in all, I’d say it was one heckuva past 30 days (or less even) for Playfish.  Clearly setting a strong example of what free-to-play, microtransaction based social gaming can and should be, Playfish is truly on the right track, and a hot ticket to watch.  From all of us here at fatfoogoo: Outstanding work Playfish!  Keep on keepin’ on.

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Social Games developer Playfish lands $17 Million in Financing

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

If the recent Gordon Gecko inspired article regarding why harsh economic times are good for the gaming industry wasn’t enough for you, playfish has recently received a huge vote of confidence from Accel Partners and Index Ventures to the tune of $17 Million.  Their mission?  Simple.  Become the leading company in social games.

Playfish is an industry leader in social gaming, with over 10 million monthly users of their services.  These games allow people to play games with real-world friends across various social networking media platforms.  Playfish is directly responsible for some of the most popular facebook application games including Bowling Buddies, Pet Society, Who Has The Biggest Brain? and Word Challenge.  Not a fan of the facebook, and prefer staying with the good ol’ standby MySpace?  No problem, playfish has got you covered with a select number of apps now available on the MySpace platform as well.  Playfish plans on releasing a number of additional titles for MySpace in the near future.  And if being at the top of the facebook/MySpace social gaming ladder wasn’t enough for you, Playfish has recently made waves via their commitment to in-game advertising as well.  They’ve recently committed to participation in Google’s in-game advertising platform, AdSense for Games.

“This has proven to be an outstanding year for the Playfish team,” said Kristian Segerstrale, CEO of Playfish. “Four of our five games are now on Facebook’s top-10 games list, which is unmatched by competitors. We’ve launched our in-game transactions platform and worked jointly with Google to help define in-game advertising. We’ve opened offices in San Francisco, Beijing and Norway and have now closed a round of funding with two great investors, Accel Partners and Index Ventures. We look forward to expanding our studios, growing our user base and continuing to develop new ways for people to play games together.”

“Social gaming is a significant evolution in gaming and is in some ways a return to the roots of games,” says Segerstrale. “Our games are designed around social emotions — people play our games with the same people that they would play cards, play board games or go bowling with in the real world. Sharing the game experience with friends makes it more compelling and fun and results in more play time, viral distribution and better monetization potential over time.”

Accel partners was founded in 1983 and is dedicated to partnering with outstanding entrepreneurs and management teams to build world-class internet and technology businesses.  Some of their successes include BitTorrent, Brightcove, ComScore, Facebook, Gameforge, Macromedia, and Real Networks.

Index Ventures was founded and 1996, and is a leading European VC firm.  They’re dedicated to helping top entrepreneurial teams in the Information Technology and Life Science sectors build their companies into market defining global leaders.  With offices in London, Geneva, and Jersey, some of their successful ventures have included Skype, MySQL, and

“We are immensely impressed by the creativity of the Playfish team and also by the methodical and disciplined approach to development and commercialization they have adopted,” said Ben Holmes of Index Ventures. “They are clearly focused on building a great company as well as great games and we look forward to work with them on achieving this.”

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Google makes good with AdScape promise

Friday, October 10th, 2008

The day has finally arrived: Google is now going gaming.  A recent post at the AdSense blog made the official announcement of the new “AdSense for Games”, the new Google advertising platform in development for over a year that takes aim at monetizing the vast amount of currently under-utilized browser based Flash game market.  However, Christian Oestlien, senior product manager for the AdSense for Games beta project said that Google has not ruled out testing with some larger titles.  For the larger testing ground, the big G has already signed deals to work with PlayFish, Mochi Media, Demand Media and Konami.

Advertisements will collect revenues through the number of cost-per-impression and cost-per-clicks divided between Google and the developer.

According to ComScore, Flash games garner an estimated 25% (or roughly 200+M worldwide) of all internet users attention.  This group plays at least one game per week, and has show a 17% growth rate year after year.  Last year, the Yankee Group reported that the overall video game advertising market reached a staggering $77.7M mass, and projects almost $1B by the end of 2011.

Google’s been making waves in the in-game advertising market ever since acquiring AdScape over a year ago.  But they’re not alone in the quest to successfully monetize games via in-game advertising.  Microsoft has also been quite active, purchasing Massive in early 2006, perhaps setting the stage for Google to get in the game.  Literally.  Google snatched up AdScape Media for a cool $23M shortly after Microsoft’s Massive buy.

Based on the video below, it looks like developers will have full flexibility as to exactly where, when, and how their ads are displayed in-game.  In other words, integrating Google’s AdSense for games looks as simple as inserting a line of code into flash content to deliver targeted ads.  Some of the advertisers already included in the program include eSurance, Sprint, and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

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Google is NOT however making this a wild west, free for all.  Developers have some strict requirements to me including a minimum 500,000 plays per day, an 80% US or UK based traffic composition, and can SDK integrate, amongst others.

Double Fusion, a prominent in-game advertising network, CEO Jonathan Epstein spoke with Daniel Terdiman of CNET explaining,

It confirms for all parties [...] that this space is of interest to one of the largest media companies in the world. Google does not enter into markets that don’t have billion dollar-plus potential for them [...] The battleground here is not between ourselves and Massive and Google [...] it’s getting games their rightful share of the ad dollars, as opposed to TV, print, and [traditional] online ads.”