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CasualCafe has joined the ranks of game companies looking to make a fortune with games on Facebook. The Los Angeles company has launched its first two games, Spyde Solitaire and Burdaloo, for Facebook and is showing them off at Facebook’s F8 development conference.
Michael Scholz founded the company two years ago to create PC-based online games for the casual market. The games are based on Adobe’s Flash technology and run in a browser. As such, they don’t need a download and use relatively simple graphics. The games are also available on the company’s web site, where social elements include the ability the share your gaming profile with others, participate in forums, earn achievements and compete for top slots on a leaderboard.
CasualCafe isn’t early to dive into the Facebook gaming market by any means. Social Gaming Network and Zynga (which just raised a $29 million round) have a big part of the Facebook gaming market. Electronic Arts has launched a beta of its EA Scrabble game and has more titles on the way. But the market can change fast. Playfish, a London gaming company started in October, already has three games in the top ten on Facebook. Other competitors include the Agarwalla brothers, who created Scrabulous; Serious Business, creator of Friends For Sale!; and Bonehead Labs, creator of Pokey!
CasualCafe’s Spyde Solitaire resembles the classic game spider solitaire. But it has additional features such as power-ups, multiple levels, and socialization. Burdaloo is a mix-and-match game with funny animated characters and unlockable secrets.
The company is self-funded and plans to generate revenues from ads and micro-transactions, such as the purchase of items in games that make a player more powerful. The founding team members include veterans from WildTangent, SkillJam Technologies and THQ. It is unveiling its “social game arcade” technology for its game web site at the Casual Connect conference in Seattle.