Everyone knows Zynga – the company formed in 2007 in San Francisco, and behind many of the top performing Facebook games of the past 5 years. Titles like CityVille, Zynga Poker, Draw Something, FarmVille, Words With Friends, and Mafia Wars have become household names.
However, since it floated on the stock market in late 2011 its shares have taken a hammering and monthly unique users (MUUs) are down to 89 million from 123 million in the same period last year. Zynga has been criticised for being slow to embrace mobile gaming, as well as for copying other developers’ games.
King Digital Entertainment
King.com was founded in the UK in 2003 and for many years it was a sizable developer with over 100 games played from its website. But the making of the company was in partnering with Facebook. It is now considered the largest developer on Facebook, has over 650 employees, and its game Candy Crush Saga has broken all records for number of users and revenue. Another game, Bubble Witch Saga, is in the Top 10 Facebook games too.
Wooga is based in Berlin and was founded in 2009 when the social games explosion started. It is now considered the third largest social game developer in the world, with over 250 employees. It is best known for its arcade-style Facebook and mobile games such as Diamond Dash and Bubble Island, which attract around 50 million monthly active users.
Close behind Wooga is Social Point, the Spanish game developer out of Barcelona, formed in 2008. It develops free online games for Facebook web and mobile. With around 50 million players worldwide every month, its most famous game is Dragon City, which is presently in the Top 5 Facebook games.
Arkadium is based in New York and grew from a small husband and wife team in 2001 to a major developer of casual, mobile, social and Windows 8 games, with offices across the globe. It has created around 300 online games – mainly simple games such as Mahjongg Dimensions and Taptiles, with over 10 million gamers per month.
DeNA was founded in Tokyo in 1999 as a small start up and now has over 2000 employees worldwide. Although it provides e-commerce and other web services for mobile devices and PCs, its core business these days is social gaming and in particular its mobile social games platform called Mobage. This provides first-, second- and third-party games on multiple, localised player networks worldwide.
Peak Games is another developer with a different country to call ‘home’ – this time Turkey. It is the largest and fastest-growing gaming company in Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa, with over 25 million active players. It creates social and mobile games that fit the unique interests and cultures of this area of the world – with its most popular titles on Facebook being Lost Bubble, card games such as Spades Plus, and War of Mercenaries.
Playdom is the social games division of Disney Interactive but was founded by a couple of graduates in San Francisco in 2009. Games like Marvel: Avengers Alliance, Gardens of Time, Scribblemix and Pirates of the Caribbean are produced for MySpace (where it is the most popular developer) as well as Google+, Facebook, iOS, Android, and other emerging social and mobile platforms.
Pretty Simple Games
Pretty Simple is the leading French game developer, self-publishing casual games for social and mobile platforms. It is responsible for one of the leading Facebook games called Criminal Case, which is a hidden objects game. The company was founded in 2010 and has only published three games but has already attracted 35 million monthly active users.
Supercell sprouted from the boom in tablet sales from 2011 onwards. The company is based in Helsinki and makes ‘tablet first’ games. It focuses on creating the best gaming experiences specifically designed for the tablet and its biggest games to date are Hay Day and Clash of Clans.
In addition to the above, there are other game developers with a big presence on Facebook and mobile; companies like Electronic Arts, Gameloft, PopCap Games, and FUN Tcehnologies have been making games for PCs and/or consoles for years and have added social game titles to their portfolios.
The above ten companies have become monsters solely from social gaming – and they represent many different regions of the planet, showing just how global gaming has become.