Mobile-social game developer Storm8 today launched tile-matching game Fruit Blast Mania for iOS from its casual social label TeamLava, the third social arcade title from the Redwood City, Calif.-headquartered company.
“When we decide to enter a genre, we decide not to be a one-hit wonder and will create multiple hits over time,” Perry Tam, co-founder and CEO of Storm8, told Inside Mobile Apps. “This is a great example of how we strategize our game launches to conquer a game genre to expand our footprint within the genre, and gain a user base by launching more titles.”
Fruit Blast Mania features two new modes for the tile-matching genre on mobile — Color Mode and Digging Mode. In Color Mode, players are tasked with matching a particular type of fruit, while in Digging Mode, users are challenged by navigating through the puzzle, unlocking hidden charms. Also, the game comes packed with 100 levels to play, and unlike many tile-matching games where players are pitted against the clock, Fruit Blast Mania features hand-crafted levels that were designed for users to solve each puzzle by strategically moving around tiles. Fruit Blast Mania also remains fresh for players by adding new obstacles to each level. Lastly, the game features asynchronous multiplayer gameplay where players can compete against their friends or family’s high scores for each level.
Storm8 launched its first social arcade game Bubble Mania in June 2012, which reached one million downloads in three days thanks to Storm8′s network it’s built up over the years. The game studio’s second social arcade game Jewel Mania launched in November 2012, and it’s constantly reaching the top 25 on the top grossing iPhone apps charts, according to our traffic tracking service AppData.
Speaking of Storm8′s gaming network, Tam says the benefits of a network include lower user acquisition costs because Storm8 can cross-promote games on its network, and the ability to extend a user’s lifetime, while reducing churn. Tam adds that a user who plays multiple games on its network are three-times more likely to continue playing Storm8 games compared to users who just play one Storm8 game. The network also allows Storm8 to monetize its users from multiple games. As an example of Storm8′s platform effect, the company spend zero dollars in marketing on Bubble Mania’s launch, despite the title generating more than one million downloads in three days.
“When we first started the company, we started with this network approach, which is different than a lot of other developers,” he says.
At the 2013, Game Developers Conference, CEO Perry Tam revealed deep insights as to how Storm8 grew without taking VC funding or plans to go public anytime soon. Although Tam wouldn’t disclose Storm8′s financials, he did point to app store analytics company App Annie’s recent report, which listed Storm8 as the No. 6 top grossing app publisher worldwide (No. 1 private company since the top five are all public companies). Storm8 was one spot above Supercell which is reportedly pulling in $1 million in revenue per day from just two games — Clash of Clans and Hay Day. He says App Annie’s report can give people a benchmark as to how well Storm8 is doing.
Storm8, which was founded in 2009, now sees more than 10 million daily active users across its gaming network, which consists of about 40 titles across five genres. Storm8 also accumulated 400 million total downloads across 200 million devices. Storm8 publishes games under its own game developer labels including TeamLava, casino label Shark Party and hardcore label FireMocha. Some notable titles from Storm8 include social casual titles like Pet Shop Story and Restaurant Story, massively multiplayer online role-playing games like World War and iMobsters, and social casino games like Bingo! and Slots.
For the rest of 2013, Tam says Storm8 plans to continue making games in the causal and mid-core genre, while expanding into the hardcore genre — all of which he sees as having potential for continued growth.
Facebook priced its initial public offering at $38 per share, which is at the high end of the range it proposed on Tuesday. The price will raise $16 billion for the company and the social network a valuation over $100 billion.
The company plans to list 421.2 million shares of its common stock on the Nasdaq on Friday under the symbol FB. Facebook is offering 180 million of its shares. The remainder of the shares come from existing stockholders — a number of whom decided Wednesday to sell a greater proportion of their shares. Additionally, underwriters have the option to purchase up to 63.18 million additional shares of Class A common stock to cover over-allotments, which they are expected to sell based on demand seen during Facebook’s roadshow.
The IPO will be largest ever for a technology company and the third largest overall in the U.S., behind Visa and General Motors.
Read the rest on our sister site, Inside Facebook.
Mobile ad company Millennial Media shares lost some of yesterday’s blockbuster momentum, dropping 8.2 percent to $22.90 in early trading this morning.
The company’s shares, which trade under the MM symbol on the New York Stock Exchange, debuted on the market yesterday at $13. However, the first trade of the day popped their value to $25. Millennial shares finished yesterday at $25, but fell below $23 before 10:30 a.m. EST.
The company’s market cap is currently $1.73 billion. From its initial public offering, Millennial earned $132 million selling 10.2 million shares at $13 each.
After the IPO, Millennial is now the largest independent mobile ad network. The company’s early competitors like AdMob, Quattro, Greystripe and ValueClick followed the acquisition route, selling to larger companies like Apple and Google. Millennial’s competitors now include startups like InMobi, which is backed with more than $200 million in funding from Softbank, and non-traditional advertising services like MoPub and Chartboost which focus on auctioning or trading inventory rather than directly selling ads.
According to the most recent amendment to its S-1 filing, the ad network reaches 300 million users. It saw a net loss of $287,000 on $103.6 million in revenue in last year.
Before going public, Millennial raised over $64 million in funding from Bessemer Venture Partners, Charles River Ventures, Columbia Capital and New Enterprise Associates.
A game from Zynga called ZombieSmash popped up on our radar this evening.
Curiously, its owner used to be named GameDoctors, an independent studio from Bielefeld, Germany founded by two brothers three years ago. But the owner’s name just changed to Zynga, even though the app has been out for nearly two years. Zynga has not immediately replied to requests for comment.
It may be a sign that Zynga acquired GameDoctors or a sign that the company is starting to publish third-party iOS games. In the prospectus last month for Zynga’s initial public offering, the company said it acquired two companies between the end of the third quarter and Dec. 15 for an aggregate purchase price of $4.9 million. The most likely explanation we’re hearing about from multiple sources — though not confirmed yet — is that this is one of them.
Alternately, Zynga has made number of hires suggesting a move toward publishing. It recently poached Sony’s Rob Dyer, who now heads partner publishing. In September, it also hired Disney game publishing exec Adam Sussman, who used to work at EA Mobile.
Publishing could help defray the risks of being a hits-driven business and help the company cultivate relationships with independent studios it may one day eventually want to acquire. It would also put it in competition with EA’s Chillingo label and with other dual game developers and publishers like 6Waves-LOLApps.
Millennial Media — one of the last large, independent mobile ad networks standing – filed for an initial public offering today.
The Baltimore, Maryland-based company lost $417,000 on $69.1 million in revenue for the first nine months of this year. That’s down from a $5.4 million net loss on $29.1 million in revenue in the same time a year before. While pricing stock option grants in June, Millennial valued itself at $305.3 million in June based on a multiple of 2.5 on 12 months of trailing revenue.
Millennial is going out to market after a wave of consolidation over the last two years. Its most formidable competitors, AdMob and Quattro, were bought by Google and Apple while smaller networks like Greystripe went to ValueClick and Mobclix went to Velti.
Google and Apple’s ad networks probably remain the company’s biggest rivals given that both operate the leading smartphone platforms, have far more capital at their disposal and strong relationships with both device makers and carrier partners. InMobi has also picked up momentum over the past two years and raised $200 million in funding from Softbank in September. Then there is a crop of young startups like Mopub and Chartboost which help developers mediate between lots of different mobile ad networks, sell their own inventory and broker direct advertising trades with other developers.
Millennial argues that it’s well-positioned however, after serving 40 billion impressions to 200 million unique users globally in December. The company says that its technology platform has precise targeting capabilities based on the device, operating system and strength of its data connection to serve ads. It also says it has data on 150 million unique users, allowing behavioral or personal targeting.
The company has raised more than $64 million in venture funding from Bessemer Venture Partners, Charles River Ventures, Columbia Capital and New Enterprise Associates. Its last round added no new venture investors.
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