Posts Tagged ‘outspark’

Gamigo aims to go global – enters social media gaming, opens NYC office

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Priming the pump for the upcoming Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Hamburg, Germany based Gamigo AG (an Axel Springer AG company) dropped two major announcements yesterday. First and foremost, a leading publisher of MMORPGs in Europe, will be opening a North American office to be based in New York, indicating their intent to become a global leader in online games publishing. Gamingo plans to have North American operations up and running by Q2 of 2010.

gamigoPatrick Streppel, executive member of the board, said “This New York office is a continuation of our international expansion. Thanks to the experience we have gained over the past few years in Europe, we are very well-equipped to tackle the North American market. Top-quality products planned for global publication will be announced and presented at the GDC.”

Gamigo’s 2009 success is a clear contributor to this expansion. Over the course of 2009, the company has tripled it’s employees, and driven sales up by 233 percent. These impressive numbers place Gamigo among the top 3 in it’s market segment, and makes them one of the fastest growing companies in the online games market.

Gamigo’s second announcement is there entry to the social gaming market. Their first foray into the social media waters has commenced with the release of Jade Tales, a fantasy RPG developed by Crafty, which can be played on Facebook.

In conjunction with Gamigo’s opening of a North American office they are firmly committed to the social gaming space. “With more than 6.7 million users in Germany alone, Facebook is of course also extremely important for the gaming industry. Naturally, it is only logical for gamigo, as one of the most successful gaming brands in Europe, to enter the realm of social media networks. The first step has been made successfully with Jade Tales; more games will follow in the near future,” comments Streppel.

Now, with Gamigo’s entry to the US/North American market, we’re presented with an interesting query: as European publishers of Fiesta, Project Powder, and NeoSteam, what’s the deal? Currently, in the North American market, Outspark holds the publishing rights to Fiesta and Project Powder, and NeoSteam. Obviously, Gamigo does not hold these rights, so these three titles are off their plate, at least for a North American market. So with the full might of their European operations behind them, it should be interesting to see how Gamigo’s entry into an already highly competitive market shakes out….


Outspark adds former Nexon CEO San Won Chung to executive board

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

San Francisco based Outspark is quickly on the path to becoming the darling of the North American free-to-play industry. A quick look at their recent staff and/or advisory board additions clearly points to the making of the perfect storm. Today’s announcement adds just another perfect element to this storm, as Outspark has just added San Won Chung to their advisory board. Chung, the former CEO of Nexon, the gold standard in free-to-play gaming in the Korean/Asian free-to-play market, as well as his most recent position of EVP with Neowiz, will now sit on Outspark’s advisory board.

With an industry career spanning over a decade, Chung recently filled the shoes of Executive Vice President with Neowiz, one of Korea’s largest online gaming publishers, where he successfully brought the FIFA Online title to the Korean market. This project was in collaboration with Electronic Arts. If you’re starting to notice the heavy EA influence in Outspark, you’re on the right track.

“We are delighted to add another outstanding business leader with broad and relevant experience to our Advisory Board,” said Owen Mahoney, CEO of Outspark. “Sang Won Chung is a veteran executive in the online gaming industry with considerable experience that will help foster our long-term growth and success as we expand our ever increasing base of loyal game players.”

Having served as CEO of Nexon from 2001-2004, Mr. Chung was in the drivers’ seat when some of Nexon’s top products were launched including (the one that started it all) Maple Story, Kart Rider, and Shattered Galaxy. Arguably, these titles singlehandedly ignited the free-to-play/microtransactions supported online gaming business model.

“This is an exciting and transformative time in the online gaming industry and Outspark is clearly one of the most innovative game companies in the world today,” said Mr. Chung. “With North America and Europe poised to be the next great markets for free-to-play games, I feel privileged to join a dynamic team of renowned industry leaders. I look forward to participating in the growth of Outspark as it helps guide the future of the freemium game industry.”


Outspark appoints (another) EA veteran to Chief of Game Operations

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

With the influx of EA talent now floating around free-to-play games publisher and producer Outspark, it’s easy to wonder why EA didn’t just purchase the company outright. One week prior, Outspark announced that former EA senior exec Owen Mahoney would be taking over the reins as CEO, and only one week prior to that, they’d announced an exclusive publishing deal with EA’s new dance based title Dance Groove Online.

New up at Outspark is Niranjan Nagar. Mr. Nagar brings over 15 years of experience to the table, particularly via his role as VP of The Sims Internet Group at EA. In this role, he was the man responsible for growing online revenue and player community worldwide for both The Sims 2, and perhaps more importantly, in respect to Outspark’s business model (microtransactions as revenue generators), The Sims 3. Prior to EA Nagar was co-founder of SingShot Media, a song sharing platform acquired by EA in 2007.

In his new position, Mr. Nagar will head up the development of Outspark’s product lineup, as well as building infrastructure programs for massively-connected game play. He’s also planning on expanding Outspark’s market share by building on their growing reputation as an industry innovator in freemium games publishing. As noted in the Owen Mahoney report, Outspark counts 1.8 million unique users, and since their launch date in 2007, have seen traffic spike to 6.8 million unique visitors a month.

“The game market continues to see tremendous growth, especially as players around the world transition to online and free-to-play models,” said Mr. Nagar. “Outspark is a key player in pioneering this exciting area and the combination of great products and great execution are what enables us to deliver hits in the North American and European markets and capitalize on future market opportunities.”

When he took the reigns just only one week ago (officially), CEO Owen Mahoney stated that one of his primary objectives was to expand Outspark’s presence in North America, Europe, and the Pacific Rim. With the quick addition of a proven mover and shaker, he looks to be getting off on the right foot.

“Niranjan’s deep technology and management expertise as well as his track record with high-growth companies make him an excellent fit for Outspark as we focus on quickly expanding our global footprint,” said Owen Mahoney, CEO of Outspark. “His proven ability to build fast-moving teams is invaluable and accelerates our efforts to further establish Outspark as the premium publisher of free-to-play online games in North America and Europe.”


Outspark appoints EA vet Owen Mahoney to Chief Executive Officer

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Outspark, who recently signed a deal to operate a free-to-play/microtransactions supported dance based title in conjunction with Electronic Arts, just announced that they’ve appointed long time EA veteran Owen Mahoney to the position of Chief Executive Officer. Needless to say, it looks like there was more than just the operating of the game going on behind the scenes, and yet another indication that EA isn’t taking the casual/free-to-play/microtransactions market lightly.

outsparkCurrent (or should we say, now former) CEO and founder Susan Choe will continue her involvement with Outspark, serving as the Chairman of the Board, and will work with game developers on partnering deals with Outspark, i.e. unofficially, Business Development.

“Since founding Outspark in early 2007, the Freemium MMOG market has evolved dramatically. Outspark`s team has built a leading game publishing company, executing solid growth while bringing together a unique MMOG publishing platform with social community elements,” said Susan Choe. “With Owen`s leadership and business experience in the global gaming industry, Outspark will evolve as a leading global game industry player.”

Mahoney comes to Outspark from Electronic Arts Inc., where he’s filled a number of senior executive management roles, as well as his previous experience in online media. Most recently, he served as EA’s Senior VP of corporate and business development. With EA since 2000, Mahoney has led a number of the company’s global corporate development activities including acquisitions, equity investments and strategic partnerships. Prior to joining the EA team, Mahoney held executive positions with PointCast, Claris Japan, and Radius.

The plan is for Mahoney to add his expertise to the Outspark team and accelerate the company’s continued expansion into the North American market. While North America constitutes Outspark’s largest market, they are also developing traction in Europe and the Pacific Rim. Globally, Outspark counts 4.7 million users, and since their launch in 2007, have attracted around 5.4 million unique visitors per month.

“Having the opportunity to build on Susan`s success is a great privilege and I’m honored by the board’s endorsement,” said Owen Mahoney. “Outspark appeals to a vast global user base and to everyone who wants to establish a connection with gamers around the world in real time. Outspark`s game publishing platform and portal also offer fantastic opportunities to both content developers and game publishers, and I look forward to providing value for Outspark, our loyal user base, investors and our great staff.”


Free-to-play home Outspark inks deal with Electronic Arts

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

The free-to-play/microtransactions supported industry added another major feather to it’s cap yesterday when the deal between publisher Outspark and gaming Goliath EA was announced. San Francisco based Outspark already has a number of successful free-to-play casual/MMO hybrid games that regularly attract 5 million plus unique monthly visitors, and has steadily been gathering steam. One of Outspark’s hallmarks is that their games tend to be highly social and easily customized by the end user.

dg_bi_whiteDubbed Dance Groove Online, this new title will be the first fruits of EA’s purchase last December of Seoul, Korea based J2M. This will be J2M/EA’s first western market introduction of the firms several casual online games. Instantly familiar to fans of Dance Dance Revolution and EA’s own Boogie, with the exception of the dance pad and/or wii Remote will be replaced with an 8 key keyboard layout. Not quite the physical workout, but still the same in rhythm fun. And EA isn’t joking around about making this title a success. According to the official website, in-game tracks aren’t simply studio produced pieces, but rather fully licensed tracks from real-world, bid deal house and club artists including one of my personal all-time favorites, Colette. Still in closed beta, Dance Groove Online should see it’s public appearance later this autumn.

Outspark CEO Susan Choe comments, “EA’s scale and strong heritage combined with Outspark’s online platform and unparalleled capability to provide real-time feedback and enhanced customization will bring unrivaled fun to millions of gamers as they play and connect in real time. Our players and EA fans will be eager to get their hands on this game.”

Outspark will be responsible for localizing the game, something they’ve already been successful at, and staying true to their own philosophy, they’ll be adding a host of design, social networking, and customization features. As operators of the title, Outspark will also be responsible for additional back office operations including support, marketing, community and customer service. And naturally, as it will be an Outspark operated online gaming destination, Outspark’s in-game currency system, Sparkcash will be utilized to customize the game experience.

An interesting proposition for sure, and yet more evidence that EA is clearly investing in the casual/free-to-play market. If the Battlefield Heroes numbers are on the money (pun intended), EA is clearly leading the pack of major ‘old-school’ gaming companies in these new monetization markets.

2009 hasn’t seen much in the way of new music and/or dance based titles, so the question begs to be asked, why this format, and why now? Granted EA is teeing up The Beatles Rock Band, and Activision Blizzard and readying Guitar Hero 5, Band Hero, and DJ Hero, so perhaps this is a pre-fire to launch interest again? Either way, it’s a great vote of confidence for Outspark, and yet another free-to-play title to count in the EA arsenal.


Wicked Interactive launching Korean free to play titles in North America

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

More and more North American publishers are beginning to realize the benefits of free to play, micro transaction or ad supported business models in the North American market.

Venturebeat’s Dean Takahashi reported yesterday on Wicked Interactive, a Toronto, Canada based company that will shortly be launching new free to play titles in the North American market.  Wicked Interactive will publishing a number of popular, free, ad-supported games from South Korean online game publisher Yedang Online.  Wicked’s chief executive, Stanley Yu said that his company has private funding from angels and institutions, and has 15 staff members.  Prior to Wicked, Yu served as the head of TrekLogic, a Canadian information technology outsourcing firm.

Wicked plans on publishing three of Yedang’s top titles; “PristonTale”, “Priston Tale 2”, and “Ace Online”.  Priston Tale 2 already has 1.5 million registered users in Asia, and was developed over 4 years at a cost of $10 million.  While Yu acknowledges this growing competition in the free to play market, his hope is that Wicked will differentiate itself from others by delivering high quality free to play titles.

While Yedang’s most popular game “Audition,” a dance title with over 100 million registered users worldwide will not be in Wicked’s lineup, Yu said that the company is working on additional licensing agreements over the next few years.  To put Audition in perspective, one of the world’s most popular MMO titles, World of Warcraft, has just over 10 million subscribed users.

Wicked and company face a growing number of competitors, with Outspark’s growing catalogue of free to play titles, along with OGPlanet importing and modifying popular Korean titles for the US market.

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Outspark brings free to play Project Powder to open beta

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Project Powder is the newest offering from Outspark’s already impressive lineup of free to play games. Project Powder is a rich snowboarding adventure for all types of gamers.

The shredder features multiplayer action, a number of tricks, and hundreds of ways to customize your play experience. Based on the method of play, gamers can play for 5 minutes or several hours.

“Project Powder utilizes all of the benefits of online gaming to make an extreme sport a community experience,” said Susan Choe, Outspark CEO and founder. “Our overarching goal is to expand our free-to-play Virtual Playground into a diverse entertainment destination, and Project Powder is a great addition to our game portfolio.”

While Project Powder is still in an open beta with the official release at the end of the summer, it still packs in a number of exciting features:

  • 33 monster courses(10 available exclusively for open beta)
  • 3 challenging game modes
  • Intense multiplayer action with up to 7 opponents
  • Premium gear including new snowboards, clothing and accessories for your character
  • Dozens of unlockable tricks

Outspark plans on a number of community events during the open beta, including a user generated video contest.

Check out the open beta at:

About Outspark
Outspark is an entertainment services company that publishes and operates engaging online multiplayer games. Featuring a portfolio of immersive free-to-play games and related content, the company is building an online destination where members come for the games and stay for the community. Backed by Tencent, Altos Ventures and DCM, Outspark is headquartered in San Francisco, CA, with a subsidiary office in Seoul, Korea. For more information, visit

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Outspark introduces micro transaction based incentives to Fiesta

Saturday, July 26th, 2008

Leading free to play, micro transaction based MMO Fiesta, published by Outspark has announced a new addition to the popular MMO.  The new in game mini game, Remi’s Rare Finds focuses on winnings featuring exclusive, rare, and previously unreleased in game items such as mounts, weapons and power-ups.

In order to participate in Remi’s game, Outspark capitalizes on their micro transaction business model and offers the opportunity to players provided they spend 1500 SparkCash, Outspark’s in game currency.  SparkCash is available in blocks of 3,500, 7,000 and 17,500 at $5, $10 and $25 respectively.

Players may then keep items won in Remi’s Rare Finds, or exchange it for other in game credits.  Each 5 credits may be used as a free play.  Outspark plans to add new and unique items to the game each month, thereby driving further and continued interest in the play.

“Engaging our community is very important to us, and Remi’s Rare Finds is the newest exciting addition to a game already filled with rich, dynamic gameplay,” said Outspark founder and CEO Susan Choe “Each play offers a chance at some great in-game items, and we’re sure our players will love it.”

About Outspark

A unique publisher and operator of free-to-play multiplayer online games, Outspark is redefining interactive entertainment through an engaging virtual playground accessible to players of all ages and experience levels. The company’s global reach enables it to select the most compelling social games from talented development teams located around the world. Backed by Tencent, Altos Ventures and DCM, Outspark is headquartered in San Francisco, CA, with a subsidiary office in Seoul, Korea. For more information, visit

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