Hundreds of social and third-party games on social networks are struggling to gain the coveted consistent monthly users, especially those that are willing to spend real dollars for virtual goods. And, sometimes it's not due to lack of popularity, but lack of funds to scale. To wit, Zynga raised $855 million to continue its expansion. But that funding typically requires a long drive through Sand Hill Road.
Getting big, however, doesn't alway require raising massive funds and getting diluted along the way. One company has chosen to partner with big brands instead.
Two-year-old Spry Fox announced Friday that it was partnering with Disney's Playdom in order to increase the interest around its social game Triple Town, which has already been awarded the No. 2 social game across the Web by Gamasutra in 2011.
"We are 100% bootstrapped and have gotten where we are in part through partnerships," said David Edery, CEO and founder, in an email to VatorNews.
Edery also explained on his blog: “Our games have reached millions of users, but never concurrently... We have constantly worried about our ability to scale without major service interruptions or other related problems... We could raise a bunch of capital and use it to spend our way to higher user counts, but raising capital takes time and, having never managed a major user acquisition campaign, it is safe to assume that we’d probably spend our marketing dollars inefficiently."
The new partnership will be noticeable next week when Disney's Playdom will take control of partnerships and advertising campaigns to build usership. Disney had not offered a lot of new development since it first acquired Playdom (in July 2010 for $563 million) but it looks like the company is ready to start rolling out dozen new titles in coming months, including a Marvel superhero game.
Spry Fox’s Triple Town is a virtual world building game that incorporates puzzles and number goals (where three is the magic number).
Triple Town is currently available on Facebook and Google+ -- on Facebook the game was only registering 150,000 monthly average users.
Facebook's third-party world is an extremely competitive environment where many gaming companies have complained that only the top few games are able to profit from the Facebook credits system and place advertisements on the network to promote their new projects.
Rather than trying to work its way up within the Facebook system by raising more capital and promoting, promoting, promoting -- Spry Fox has opted to look up to the boys with the big gaming dollars to use their clout in the marketing world.
I expect to see more action on the social game and third-party game front this year, especially since we saw a big acquisition this week already in the world of social gambling games. International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT) announced late Thursday that it's buying Double Down Interactive for $500 million, of which $250 million is in cash up front.
By the end of last year, the Seattle-based casino-style social gaming company, which attracts a mostly female demographic, according to market research firm Inside Social Games, started attracting 1.4 million active daily players.
It's reported by AllThingsD to be making $140,000 a day in revenue -- that brings the company to nearly $50 million a year.
As the 15th-largest app maker, according to AppData, Playdom falls below Zynga but has the powerful Disney catalog, that if utilized properly, could create an unparalleled built-in base with recognizable characters.