While Zynga has had high-profile struggles to adapt to the rapid growth of mobile gaming, Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and CEO of the Social Gaming Network, said he’s found a solution — MasterKey, his company’s just-launched technology for cross-platform game development.
DeWolfe, who also co-founded Myspace, has been talking about the vision behind MasterKey for a while, for example telling me in February that this will be “the year of convergence” and that SGN would be able “develop once and publish anywhere.” DeWolfe said today’s launch means MasterKey is now “fully deployed” across all the games that SGN is publishing, including Panda Jam and Bingo Blingo.
The aim of the new platform is to enable SGN’s developers — and eventually third-party developers, too — to build games that can run on Facebook, iOS, and Android. The process, DeWolfe said, isn’t quite as simple as developing a Facebook game and then instantly converting it to mobile, but compared to the normal porting process, “it is like hitting a button.” (More concretely, SGN said that MasterKey can save up to 80 percent in conversion time.)
“You shouldn’t force a developer to either build on Facebook or on iOS or on Android, and make them decide on one,” he said. “That puts the small guy at a disadvantage.”
DeWolfe acknowledged that mobile and social game mechanics aren’t interchangeable, and that some Facebook games don’t really make sense on mobile. However, he pointed to casino games like Bingo Blingo as one category where the SGN strategy seems to be working. He argued that mobile and social gaming are ultimately “the same thing” — you just have to put some thought into each experience up front: “The mobile game as an afterthought won’t work.”
He added that SGN has significantly increased revenue quarter-over-quarter, is now profitable, and after a year and a half without acquisitions, may be ready to do some more buying. (Under its original name of MindJolt, SGN started out as a rollup of several gaming companies, and in fact acquired the company that gave it the SGN name.)
“We think it’s a buyer’s market out there,” DeWolfe said.
SGN (formerly MindJolt) connects people around the world through great games. As a top cross-platform developer and publisher of games on Facebook, iOS, and Android, SGN lays claim to hit titles such as Fluff Friends Rescue, Jewels of the Amazon, Bubble Atlantis, Panda Jam, Skies of Glory, FAST, and MindJolt. To date well over 200 Million SGN games have been installed on leading mobile and social platforms, making SGN one of the largest cross-platform gaming companies in the world. SGN represents the...
Chris DeWolfe is the co-founder and former chief executive officer of MySpace.com, the leading online lifestyle portal. He currently serves as the CEO of SGN, a social gaming platform, which he joined in March 2010. DeWolfe continues his entrepreneurial mission at SGN. As CEO, DeWolfe led the acquisitions and rollup of MindJolt, SGN and HallPass Media, creating a leading independent multiplatform game developer and publisher. He stepped down as CEO in April 2009. DeWolfe, alongside co-founder and president,...