While we’ve seen the rise and fall of social games companies, most notably Zynga, there continues to be a stream of companies seemingly able to ride the rough waters of the space. In Berlin most notably Wooga has managed to power forward on its multiple platform strategy. Now today a new player is emerging with what appears to be a pretty successful approach of iterating the game play on some familiar games, and executing the design to a high degree. As a result Outplay Entertainment has raised $4 million from existing investors, Pentech Ventures and the Scottish Investment Bank. The cash will be used to expand its Dundee, Scotland studio and create new products. The raise comes off the back of the high traction of their core games, Word Trick and Bubble Blaze.
Outplay founders and games industry veterans Douglas and Richard Hare (formerly of The Collective, Foundation 9 Entertainment), say their Bubble Blaze game has already become the No. 1 bubble popping game in the UK (ahead of incumbents from Wooga, King.com and TeamLava).
Word Trick has doubled volume from 500,000 per day to over a million in less than a month and is on course to blow past the 100M turns taken mark next week. Not close to Words with Friends pretty good for a 40-person games startup. They now plan on incorporating novel Augmented Reality and GPS features in future games.
Douglas Hare tells me the secret behind the game’s success has been “zero barrier to entry for most players” plus an engaging experience. “Word Trick is pretty viral as a result of being multiplayer only and our players are super sticky (the average player logs in six times and takes 13 turns a day) and social,” he said.
And they are drawing on a rich tradition of games produced in the Scottish region where engineers, designers, artists, and producers available in the area have sprung up after the successes of Rockstar North, developer of Lemmings and the Grand Theft Auto series. Other game development studios in Dundee include Denki, Ruffian Games, Dynamo Games, 4J Studios and Cohort Studios amongst over 50 other companies.