Ever seen a pop culture clickable game on MTV or Entertainment Weekly asking you to predict and vote on who is going to be a winner in a latest awards show? Or asking you to vote on who is hotter, Beyonce or Britney? Chances are the game was made by San Francisco start-up VoxPop.TV.
The under-the-radar VoxPop.tv (the company’s services were launched in 2007) is tapping into a relatively niche market by creating pop culture contextual games for publishers like Entertainment Weekly, E! Online, and Maxim. Unlike traditional casual games, these highly contextual and sometimes ad-supported games are based on opinions and predictions on topics and current events (like the Oscars or the Grammy awards). Games range from an E! Online game on what celebrity wore the best outfit to an awards show to picking brackets for March Madness at NCAA.com.
VoxPop has turned the games into free, shareable widgets for anyone to post on a blog, social networking site or website, and users can even create a “game lobby” of sorts by adding multiple games to a page. Users are able find games through VoxPop’s own Game Lobby or through publisher sites like Entertainment Weekly or BillBoard.
VoxPop seems to be creating a solid revenue base from creating both ad-sponsored games for publishers and publisher-sponsored games. The turnaround for a game is around an hour, so VoxPop can create a “Who wore it best” game for the Oscars for a publisher and post it by the end of the awards show. And VoxPop hasn’t seen much of a dropoff in sales with the economic downturn. The company said that publishers have less staff and less content and are looking for online games, like VoxPop’s applications, to fill content. There doesn’t seem to be another company doing this niche work out there; and VoxPop said its main competitors are the in-house capabilities of publishers. But VoxPop says creating a pop culture games in-house can be costly and time-intensive. We recently wrote about Heyzap, another online gaming start-up hoping to break into the digital space. VoxPop’s co-founders, Mike Derezin, Bill Armistead, and Michael Hoffman, said the hardest battle was forming partnerships with publishers. Word-of-mouth publicity has helped tremendously, they added.
VoxPop received around $2 million in series A funding from True Ventures in 2007 and currently creates close 60 new games a month. The company is hoping to create even more innovative games down the line and wants to offer self-service game production to publishers in the future.
Here’s a sample game and screenshot:
var voxpopShellObject = new VoxPopShellObject(‘xrttrivia8′, ’630′, ‘ 382′, ‘onload’, ’1′);