GameHouse, the game division of RealNetworks, said today it is expanding its social game studio to a new office in Victoria, British Columbia. The new office will double its staff to at least 45 people by the end of 2012.
Seattle-based GameHouse was one of the big players on the casual web, but it lost its pole position as the audience shifted to social games on Facebook. Now the company is making a run at social games again, and it will tap some of the game development talent in Canada to do so. The effort is part of a $10 million investment in social games.
“Social game development is the No. 1 priority for our company in 2012, and the expansion in Victoria was chosen for the city’s high caliber of talent combined with a great quality of life.” said Matt Hulett, chief gamer at GameHouse. “I believe this strategic expansion of our social games studio in Victoria will not only multiply our games portfolio but will also solidify our leadership position in the overall games industry.”
GameHouse has had a couple of successful Facebook games. Collapse! Blast and Bayou Blast launched in the fall and have attracted nearly 400,000 daily players to date. With 3.7 million people playing its social games each month, the company hopes to build its audience so it can become a contender for the big revenues in social games. So far, revenues are growing at triple-digit rates.
The new studio in downtown Victoria will specialize in games for Facebook, Google+ and other emerging social platforms. Alex Mendelev (pictured) is general manager of GameHouse Canada. His approach is to allow designers to express their creative freedom during development.