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Games 2.0: Social gaming on Facebook December 20, 2007

Posted by jeremyliew in asynchronous gaming, casual games, facebook, games, games 2.0, gaming, social gaming, social networks.
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As I spend more time investigating games 2.0 and asynchronous gaming, I keep getting drawn into the area of asynchronous mutliplayer casual gaming, perhaps with friends. One of the emerging leaders in this space is Social Gaming Network, part of webs.com.

Earlier this month the Mercury News put up a good overview of what the Social Gaming Network is doing.

While the rest of us have been socializing on Facebook, Webs.com has been building a very interesting business. It has been creating free games on Facebook that have garnered a huge number of page views. WarBook, a role-playing game with no animated graphics, and other Webs.com games have generated a billion page views since the first game launched 90 days ago in August. The games are generating ad revenue with just about every view…

“We launched it and it’s exploding,” said Pishevar. “WarBook is getting 15 million page views a day.”…

… Street Race is a new SGN game that has no graphics. You simply sign up, get $1,000 in play money, buy a car, then race. In the race, you click on another user. Then nothing happens. Nothing. The next screen that comes up tells you if you won or lost, how much money you earned or lost, and the skill points you earned. As your skill points grow, you win more races and get more money to spend souping up your car. The social part comes in where you can get more money by inviting 20 friends to join…

It’s simple and easy. That’s why the game has gotten more than a million page views on its first day. You can play a round in about one second…

“We’re leveraging the social graph,” Pishevar said. “It’s gaming on tap. You use it as you need it. We are building the first social gaming network on top of the Facebook social operating system.”

The top three games on the Social Gaming Network are Warbook (a RTS game of empire building in a fantasy world), Streetrace (managing a racing car) and Fight Club (a PvP dueling game that they acquired), but they also have some single player games Blocky and Supersnake.

Others are also building out networks of social games on Facebook, including Mark Pincus‘s Presidio Media (Texas Hold’em, Scramble, Attack!, Blackjack, Diveman, Triumph, and probably others – I stopped after the 4th page of Gaming apps in the directory) and Scrabulous.

Even single player games like Jetman, with good “high score challenge” integration, can get millions of installs, despite having an almost archaic game play mechanism.

If you think about social networks as platforms for distribution, with existing social maps making distribution that much easier, then it becomes clear why these companies are so aggressively going after the platforms.

The payments program that Facebook is beta testing will be a huge boon for these social gaming sites. In addition to the advertising opportunities, it will greatly improve their ability to build an additional revenue stream from digital goods (both for self expression and for “power ups” within games).

For another post, why Zombies and the rest of the Monsters apps (part of the Rockyou* family of apps) can be considered one of the most popular online games in the world.

* Rockyou is a Lightspeed portfolio company

Comments»

1. Late breaking news - December 20, 2007

[…] <b>Games</b> 2.0: Social gaming on Facebook […]

2. Lance - December 20, 2007

Jeremy,

Your series on ‘Games 2.0’ has been great, very well thought out. I am curious where you see revenue deriving from on these types of apps?

Do they push to a larger portal play (i.e., PlayFirst, Kongregate, PopCap, iWin…..)? Or do you believe these ‘apps as games’ can stand alone to delivery brand-based advertising, performance advertising or similar via click/impression level exposure?

Love to hear your thoughts.

3. jeremyliew - December 20, 2007

Lance,

I’ll do a post on this topic in the new year. Short form though is that I DO think that games can make money as apps.

4. Games 2.0: The Facebook app Zombies is a huge MMOG « Lightspeed Venture Partners Blog - December 21, 2007

[…] games, facebook, game mechanics, games, games 2.0, gaming, mmorpg. trackback As I mentioned in my last post, you can think of Zombies* and its Monster app brethren (Vampires, Werewolves and Slayers) as an […]

5. shervin - December 31, 2007

Thanks for the coverage. We are just as excited. With the Monster series is it safe to assume that RY is going into social games.

6. Entrepreneur 27 Singapore » Blog Archive » Social Games: The Web 2.0 of Gaming - February 1, 2009

[…] games. Furthermore, with billions of page views being generated by social gaming sites on Facebook (click here), it is no wonder that companies and VCs have been hitting on this industry for quite a while […]

7. Social gaming is a tactic not a category « Lightspeed Venture Partners Blog - March 25, 2009

[…] gaming, viral, viral marketing, virtual goods. trackback I’ve been blogging a lot about social games over the past couple of years and have been a big proponent of the space. However, over the […]

8. Fernanda Gomez - September 4, 2009

I think social gaming will be the future of social networking


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