There are now, by some estimates, 35,000 social games. Can you name the top five? I thought not. In other words, the sheer number of social games across the web, mobile and social platforms like Facebook mean they are now presenting the same problem as iPhone or Android apps: how do you discover the good ones?
TeePee Games is a consumer portal that aggregates social games. It’s starting with Facebook but will soon extend to smartphones and other online games, allowing gamers to tailor games to their profile, cutting through the usual noise. So far so similar to a thousand other aggregators. The difference is that it’s built a discovery engine, not unlike the way Pandora or Last.Fm suggests new artists to you. A year in development, and despite still being in open beta, it plans to offer 300 Facebook, 2,500 Flash and 100 Android games – and it’s already signing investment.
Today the startup, which already has $500k in Angel backing, has signed a ‘strategic partnership’ with Turner Broadcasting Europe (home to Cartoon Network, TNT, Adult Swim and others). The fact that Turner is ‘backing’ the development of TeePee’s games discovery platform is code for some kind of investment in the company, but so far both, including CEO/’Chief TeePee’ Tony Pearce, are coy about how much this amounts to. Still, not bad for a startup a few months old given that it’s unusual to get a large media company such as Turner to invest so early.
TeePee, now with 25,000 players on its beta, is layering up its platform with social features, community, rewards and loyalty points. Competitors includes Miniclip, of Mindjolt in Facebook, but – as Pearce points out – none have a discovery engine, merely charts. Analytics are a core component of the startup. It’s discovery engine gives developers realtime social gaming data and analytics.
Turner’s European operation does not appear to be shy about investing in startups. In December 2010, it took a significant minority stake in Starlounge, an entertainment and celebrity news site for Europe.
Aside from Pearce (formerly of Player X, acquired by Zed) the experienced team also includes Nick Alexander, ex-CEO of Sega Europe and Simon Jones ex-CEO of Game Jacket.