Social networking continues to change the way we live our lives. The way we play video games is no exception, and Barcelona startup Social Point has become one of the global leaders in the field of social network gaming. If you want to join Barcelona’s thriving startup scene, you may be interested in apartments for rent in Barcelona. Why not begin your search at ShBarcelona, the market leader in Barcelona apartment rentals.
Social Point was founded in 2008 by Andrés Bou and Horacio Martos with a mission to ‘connect the world via awesomely fun gameplay’. Realising the enormous potential audience that could be reached through Facebook, they initially pursued this goal by creating online games for Facebook users. From their headquarters in the Barcelona innovative business district 22@, Social Point has become the third largest game developer on Facebook globally, with more than 51 million monthly players worldwide. They have expanded their service to iOS platforms and provide games for both web and mobile players. Mobile versions of their games use Facebook Connect to enable gamers to continue their Facebook crusades on mobile platforms.
The company’s first major release was strategy game Social Empires. A number of others have followed since, most notably Dragon City, in which players breed dragons in a fantasy world and take them into combat with other gamers. In 2012, the same year it was launched, Facebook users rated Dragon City as the number 2 game of the year. In addition to its Facebook success, the app was downloaded two million times during the first month its iOS release.
Social Point was awarded 2nd place at the Entrepeneur XXI Awards hosted by La Caixa in 2012. The next year, Dragon City was named both ‘Best Social Network Game’ and ‘Best Video Game’ at the annual Gamelab Awards. Social Point was recently named one of the 20 fastest-growing mobile startups by Mattermark. At the time of writing, Appstats, the most comprehensive analysis tool for Facebook applications and games, counted 30,375,530 monthly active users of Dragon City.
Social Point utilizes a ‘freemium’ model to monetize their releases. Although the games are free to download, fees are charged for additional in-game purchases. These generated revenues of over €14 million in 2012. Further income is produced through advertising.
Investors have been quick to recognise the financial potential of Social Point. Nauta Capital made it the first gaming company backed by the venture firm. With additional funding from IDInvest Partners, BBVA and Greylock Partners, a total of over €10 million has now been invested in Social Point. This funding is being used to add to their 170 staff members, develop new games and better market games and further push into mobile markets.
Today Social Point focuses on a male-dominated ‘mid-core’ audience. “Middle-core games do better on Facebook because they’re easier to play and understand,” says CEO Andrés Bou. “When you get into deeper levels of the game, the hardcore filters appear and the game becomes more interesting and monetizes better.”
The company is increasingly using its success to address social concerns. This summer it partnered with the mSchools initiative to address dropout rates and low achievement in Spanish schools and to prepare youngsters for higher education and future work in the digital sector. They will also sponsor the new Masters in Videogame Design and Creation at the alma mater of their founders, the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Social Point has become huge success story for the Barcelona startup scene. Hopefully they can help create many more.