Posts Tagged ‘playdom’

Tap Tap ka-ching! Tapulous pulls down over $1m per month

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

It’s a fair statement to make that developers of successful iPhone apps stand to make a pretty penny. Until now, it’s not been known just how big that penny may be. Recently, iPhone app developer Tapulous stated that they’re approaching $1 million in sales per month.

Tapulous CEO Bart Decrem

Tapulous CEO Bart Decrem

Based in Palo Alto, CA., Tapulous is staffed by a mere 20 people, and has had a string of hits, most notably “Tap Tap Revenge”. This title alone has been installed over 20 million times, and clocks a hefty 600 million total games played. And if these massive numbers weren’t enough, earlier this year comScore reported that “Tap Tap Revenge” has been installed by one-third of all Apple app users, iPhone and iPod Touch combined.

The companies’ newest iteration, “Tap Tap Revenge 3” costs only $1 from the App Store. The company employs a successful microtransaction business model to garner the $1 million per month in sales. Players have the option to download additional songs for the game from major artists for $.50 a piece. In addition, Tapulous also generates revenue through in-game advertising spots.

This new figure highlights the growing importance (as well as Apple focus) of the iPhone and/or iPod Touch as a gaming platform, as well as the App Store itself. Bart Decrem, CEO of Tapulous said that he expects the company to ride the wave of “exponential growth” in mobile app commerce in the coming years. “It’s going to be big and all of a sudden people are going to say, ‘Holy cow, where did those guys come from?’,” he said. Given these recent sales numbers, the day may have already arrived.

As we’ve seen over the past year, social gaming on the iPhone and iPod Touch has exploded with Zynga, Playdom, and Playfish all garnering massive exposure, downloads, and associated revenue. With Playfish being acquired by EA for $275 million this year, Playdom generating $50 million in annual revenue, and Zynga’s juggernaut seemingly unstoppable, Tapulous’ stock (figuratively, not literally) in the social gaming space just shot up 10 fold.

With Christmas just around the corner, Apple is expecting a boost to it’s already healthy iPhone and iPod Touch sales numbers. Apple claims over 50 million devices in circulation already, and since launching the App Store in July 2008, users have already downloaded over two billion applications.


Third largest social games maker Playdom will see $50M in revenues this year

Friday, December 18th, 2009

The third largest player in the social games space, Playdom is expecting a profitable year with $50 million in revenues expected. In an interview with ThinkEquity’s Atul Bagga, Playdom CEO John Pleasant confirmed that the company is profitable, and 2009 will see over $50 million in revenues. This statement falls right in line with last October’s leaked data regarding Playdom’s revenue numbers.

The social gaming company of the year award might land with Playfish, as their acquisition by traditional gaming giant logged over $300 million. In second place, at least in the revenues department, Zynga, with their recent $180 million from Russian investor Digital Sky Technologies alone puts them in second place. Not to be outdone, Playdom’s $50 million places them strongly in third place.

And now for the numbers…

Pleasant, who left Playdom his COO position at EA earlier this year to head up Playdom, stated that three-quarters, or $37.5 million, of Playdom’s revenues are generated from virtual goods sales. Given the on going ‘scamville’ fiasco, Playdom treads on some thin ice with 15 percent of it’s revenues being generated from third party advertisers who offer users marketing “offers” in exchange for virtual goods that are rewarded after a users completes a survey or related activity. The remaining 10 percent comes from advertising deals.

Bagga’s report states that Playdom currently cites 28 million monthly active users. In comparison, EA/Playfish has 50 million users on board, and the top dog, Zynga, reports that they have 200 million active monthly users. However, the measure of “monthly active users” does span the gap across multiple titles from the same producer. When seen in this light, Zynga reports 100 million monthly uniques.

But where’s the disconnect here? Both Zynga and Playfish have been making a killing. That’s not to say that Playdom’s $50 million is a paltry figure, but still hovering in the double digit range, while it’s closest competitors are a decent way into the three figure digits. The missing link? Facebook. When looking at Playdom’s platform distribution, 60 percent is played on MySpace, while 40 percent is focused on Facebook. After receiving $43 million last month in a most recent funding round, Playdom execs state that they plan to double the number of it’s current offerings in 2010. The question is – will they ramp up offerings on the much hotter social gaming platform Facebook?


And the money just kept a rollin’ – Zynga raises $15 million

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

If you’d been wagering on the explosion of venture capital investments in social gaming firms late in 2009, you’d be making off like a bandit right now. Just days after RockYou brought home $50 million in funding, and Playdom announcing their $43 million haul – according to VentureBeat, the biggest fish in the pound, Zynga has recently raised an additional $15.18 million in funding.

Zynga founder Mark Pincus

Zynga founder Mark Pincus

With more than 196 million users on Facebook alone, Zynga is clearly the market dominator right now. According to the VC filing, there were no new investors listed, presuming that the additional funding has arrived from previous or currently funding partners. This latest round of funding is equal to almost half the initial $40 million Zynga raised in their first round of VC funding. Previous venture capital has been provided by Kleiner Perkins, Foundry Group, Avalon Ventures, Institutional Venture Partners and Union Square Ventures.

This latest influx of cash is only one part of the party going on at Zynga. The social gaming company current enjoys the number one app spot on Facebook, with over 65 million monthly users, FarmVille is clearly the industry benchmark to beat.

And while Zynga might be the top of the heap in the Facebook app world, a market that they’ve been less than success in is mobile (read:iPhone) games. In a recent interview with AdAge, Zynga founder Mark Pincus states, “Smartphones. They’re the next frontier in social gaming.” While some might argue that that frontier is already here, we’ve still yet to see what wonders Zynga can do for mobile gaming when given the proper amount of funding and resources to devote to the platform. Could this recent bestowment of funding be earmarked for that exact purpose? And remember, Apple only recently gave the green light to microtransactions within free-to-play games, and area where Zynga shines.

Another way of looking at this new capital is a clear display of faith from investors that the potential class action lawsuit that Zynga and other social gaming companies are looking at is something that can be handled, and shouldn’t slow development.


Let the games begin – Playdom acquires Green Patch and Trippert Labs

Monday, November 16th, 2009

From the recent actions in the social gaming field, it’s clear to see that a maturation of the industry is afoot. Last week EA announced their acquisition of Playfish, and only days after announcing that they’d raised $43 million in their first funding round, Playdom has put the capital to work and purchased not one, but two social gaming studios – social networking platform games developer Green Patch and iPhone gaming studio Trippert Labs.

Playdom, the largest game developer on MySpace, and one of the larger players on Facebook has been rumored to have purchased the two studios for a while, but chose last week to make the announcement official. While the timing might be slightly suspect, it’s clear that these deals were in the works long before the accrual of the recent round of funding. Both firms were purchased for an undisclosed amount, but remember, in early October, a source within Playdom commented that the company’s “annual revenue is upwards of $50 million.” A sizeable revenue stream no matter what industry you’re looking at. Combining the annual revenues as well as the (almost matching) investment round, and Playdom is looking at some serious buying power.

What’s clear to see from these acquisitions is Playdom’s future goals. iPhone developer Trippert Labs is responsible for titles including Dr. Ito’s Brain Training and The Godfather II Crime Rings. This past summer, Playdom expanded their Gangster type games to the iPhone platform, and it’s clear that the Trippert Labs acquisition is a further investment in the genre. They’ve also got a project in the works that’s been described as “a significant Flash experience.” Trippert Labs CEO Omar Siddiqui will join Playdom in the role of VP of Game Production and joins former EA vet John Pleasants who serves as CEO.

On the social networking platform front, the acquisition of Green Patch can only be seen as a direct challenge to Zynga. Formerly, a mid sized Facebook game developer, Green Patch has grown from the success of their initial offering (lil) Green Patch, and now includes a series of (lil) inspired titles, including (lil) Farm Life – a direct competitor to Zynga’s FarmVille. Clarifying the purchase, Playdom chairman explains to, “We’ve been close to Green Patch since almost the beginning [of the Facebook platform]. We actually work about three blocks from each other. We’re mutual admirers.”

Green Patch founders David King and Ashish Dixit will join Playdom in the roles of Executive Producer of a new game studio and a management role within Playdom’s engineering team, respectively.

“Playdom has aggressive plans to expand our social gaming footprint in 2010. With these acquisitions, we are increasing our cross-promotional power and bringing two talented new game studios into the Playdom family,” said Pleasants.


Under the radar Playdom now pulling down “Upwards of $50 million” per year

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

As social and casual gaming continues it’s steady increase in usership, and associated revenues earned, a few names surface to the top as leaders in their field. Playfish and Zynga certainly come to mind, but there are a number of ‘others’ out there there are obviously finding success in what they’re doing. One such company, apparently flying relatively low on the radar, Playdom, is not only seeking additional funding, but turning a healthy $50 million in revenues per year.

playdomAccording to a post by late last week, a reliable source within Playdom commented that the company’s “annual revenue is upwards of $50 million.” Not only is the company rolling in a positive cash flow, but they’re also raising a buzz amongst the VC crowd. According to Dean Takahashi, Playdom is raising a VC funding round in the double digit million, and seeking a valuation of somewhere between $100 and $200 million. According to one of Takahashi’s sources, “I think they’re going to be able to get that valuation.”

By no surprise, the social gaming company is monetizing via microtransaction sales of virtual goods, items such as weapons in it’s popular Mafia style game, and virtual clothing and customization options with it’s virtual world app Sorority Life. The company also rewards virtual currency to it’s users through participation in advertising offers, so a clear cut breakdown of revenues is unavailable at this point. Currently, the company has three of the top five social games on the MySpace charts, and has steadily been gaining traction on Zynga and Playfish’s turf on the Facebook games charts. Clearly indicating continued growth and expansion, Playdom has also recently launched it’s own Mafia game, Mobsters, for the iPhone.

The string of hits continues for Playdom, as last week they announced a deal with pre-paid card provider InComm. These pre-paid cards are aimed squarely at the highly lucrative teens market, or in other words – those that have yet to acquire their own credit card or mobile phone account. This target market makes up one-quarter of all of Playdom’s users. Likewise, the Mountain View, California company has expanded from 60 to over 110 employees in the past few months, have opened an office in San Francisco’s SOMA district, a respectable address for any digital firm, AND in June, landed a number of gaming industry veterans, including former EA #2, COO John Pleasants, who’s now running Playdom.

While Playdom still trails what some would consider the industry leader, Zynga, with 28 million users vs. 129 million, it’s important to keep the timeline of Playdom in perspective. Still a relative newcomer to the market, it seems as though Playdom is starting to assemble the pieces to what could very well be a very powerful puzzle.

With that it mind, it’s also important to keep perspective on where Playdom is at the current moment. Playdom may be enjoying success right now, but let’s not forget that they’re currently involved in a copyright infringement suit with Zynga, and a number of Playdom’s successes have really been only reverse engineered versions of other popular social games. The true test of Playdom’s ability to truly stand on their own two feet will come when they produce an original work, and drive it to the top of the social gaming charts.