Playdom Says Marvel Superheroes Are Super Viral (Among Men)

Social game-maker Playdom officially launched Marvel: Avengers Alliance on Thursday, and executive producer Chia Chin Lee says the title is already disproving some of the common assumptions about social games.

The big assumption: that men don’t like to share their activity in social games the way that women do. That could be a problem for Avengers Alliance, since a game about superheroes would probably skew male. But during the beta test period, when the game was played by tens of thousands of users, it actually saw 45 percent more viral installs compared to most Playdom titles, and in fact men were four to six times more likely to send in-game messages.

“At first we thought it was a logging error,” Lee says. “Honestly, that completely baffled us at first.”

Eventually, however, the team decided that the data was accurate. Lee’s conclusion? That men will embrace social game mechanics, as long as they’re built around “strong [intellectual property] and a game that people love.” Lee says that after the official launch on Thursday, the virality stats even improved (presumably because the marketing attracted a lot of serious Marvel fans).

The early results, Lee says, bode “extremely well for Disney, as they have whole strongest IP in the world.”

Avengers Alliance is also the first game that Playdom has built using intellectual property from its parent company Disney, which also owns Marvel. Lee says Playdom was actually developing the game before it was acquired by Disney, but the acquisition made it easier to align the game with other Avengers plans. For example, even though Avengers Alliance isn’t officially tied to the upcoming movie, Lee says his team coordinated with Disney to ensure that the game included elements that will also show up in the film.