Facebook And Google Duke It Out Over Gaming (Same Day Announcements, Zynga?)

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Sometimes the platform wars can get so dramatic. A couple of minutes before we were tipped off on Google+ Games, we were also tipped off on a Facebook Gaming announcement and developer-only event happening later this evening. While this really is amazing timing, it highlights how realtime the competition between the two ‘Gang of Four’ social networks is. Rival announcements even!

Google+ Games debuts with Angry Birds, Sudoku, Bejeweled and most importantly Zynga Poker which means that Facebook is no longer the only Zynga-powered social network in town.

Reports that Google will attempt to undercut Facebook’s stronghold on games by offering developers competitive perks like lower fees instill an optimism that Google+ games might have a fighting chance at attracting a critical mass of game titles. But the fact that Farmville and Cityville are very noticeably missing, because of an exclusivity agreement with Zynga, means the battle has just begun.

Here’s Facebook’s pre-announcement brief, highlighting some smaller game developers on the platform, eh hem. It’s war.

I wanted to give you a heads up that tonight we’re hosting a game developers event and will be announcing a series of updates. The event is exclusively for developers, but keep an eye on our developer blog this evening for details (http://developers.facebook.com/blog/). We’ll also share materials with you later this evening.

In the meantime, we wanted to share with you some recent highlights from what’s happening with games on Facebook Platform from developers of all sizes, around the world. Small developers focused on a variety of areas – from sports to strategy to mainstream –  are getting big fast.

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Stats

More than 200 million people play games on Facebook each month.

Social discovery is driving growth.The top 80 games on Facebook have at least 1 million active users.

Examples

U.S.

Meteor Games:

The developer, who builds exclusively on Facebook, has grown its company from 35 to 100 employees in the past year, and doubling its staff every six months. Their hit game, Island Paradise, has been installed more than 20 million times in the past two years without any marketing. They have also been successfully monetizing: when they switched Ranch Town to in-game Facebook Credits, they saw a 3x increase in the number of paying players over night.

Funzio:

Launched Crime City on Facebook last year and it quickly became one of the top five Facebook games of the year. Raised $20M in funding earlier this year, and plan to grow their business from 55 employees to 100 by the end of the year.

iWin:

The developer of Family Feud, Deal or No Deal and 1 vs. 100 saw their monthly active userbase increase by 40% ober the last month. Launched just last month, Deal or No Deal has grown to 900k MAUs and 1 vs. 100 has grown by 700k MAUs. iWin has added 30 new employees this year and has offices in San Francisco and Kiev, Ukraine.

Broken Bulb Studios: Ninja

Warz, the company’s first game, has stayed above 125,000 DAU for two years with zero marketing. They launched Miscrits: World of Adventure in January and have 4.5 M MAU. In just over a year they’ve moved into a new office building and doubled their team from 11 employees to 23.

Kabam:

The company grew from 20 people last year to more than 500 people this year, in 4 offices on 3 continents. 9 out of 10 Kabam players play daily, and play for 3 hours per day on average.

GSN: 

MAUs for the company grew from 4.8 million at the end of July 2010 to 7.5 million at the end of July 2011 (60% growth). DAU to MAU ratio has increased from 15% at the end of July 2010 to 23% at the end of July 2011. Additionally, the GSN Social Games team has tripled in size over the last year.

International

Nordeus (Bosnia):

The small team of developers built a football app, Top Eleven, that grew to 3.5 million monthly active users in just three months. Without raising any venture funding, the developer now rivals major brands.

Playtika (Israel):

The developer of Slotomoania and Farkle Pro draws in 4.8 million active users each month. Last year, Cesars Entertainment Corporation purchased 51% of the company at a value of $80-$90M, the largest acquisition of an Israeli gaming company.

Peak Games (Turkey):

Founded less than a year ago in October 2010, the company already has 50 employees, 10 games, and 10 million monthly active users playing traditional Turkish and Arabic card and board games on Facebook. On a daily basis, 2 million people play the games across five time zones, four continents, and five languages. The company has raised $7.5M, and says expects to grow to 250 million users by 2015.

Supercell (Finland):

Founded in June 2010, the hardcore social gaming company has raised $12 million from Accel partners, and has 20 employees. Gunshine, a crime-fighting game on Facebook where players shoot criminals and other enemies, currently has more than 300,000 monthly active users.

Pretty Simple Games (France):

In December 2010, the company launched MyShops, a game with more than 1.5 million active users that allows players to create their own shops and interact with customers. The company has raised $3.6M in funding to date.

Kobojo (France):

With games like Pyramidville, Goobox and RobotZ, the French developer has more than 4 million monthly active users and raised $7.75M to date.

IsCool Entertainment (France):

The French developer has more than 2 million monthly active users on Facebook. They are the only social gaming company listed on a public market (Euronext), and grew from 30 to 85 employees in the last 12 months.