GamesBeat

PlayPhone quadruples its mobile social gaming network users in six months

PlayPhone, a startup that has created a mobile social gaming network, says it has grown its users from 1 million monthly active fans to 4 million in the past half year. The company also disclosed some other solid metrics that show that its social layer and multiplayer game platform is starting to take off.

Ron Czerny, chief executive of San Jose, Calif.-based PlayPhone, said in an interview with GamesBeat that his numbers show substantial growth in activity since January, with more than 45 million registered users to date.

“Our network effect is working,” he said.

The 1 million monthly active users that the company had back in January played 3 million game sessions per month. They played for 870,000 hours, and the company had 1,000 developers. By June, PlayPhone had 4.1 million monthly active users, 12 million game sessions, 3.5 million play hours, and 3,000 developers. Czerny also said that two PlayPhone-based games, Assaulter and Metal Slugs, broke into the top 20 on the Google Play store on Android devices.

By the end of the year, Czerny said the company is targeting 20 million monthly active users, 100 million registered users, and 5,000 developers.

“Our mission is to be the No. 1 mobile social gaming network in North America,” Czerny said. To do that, it will have to beat rivals such as Zynga, Gree, and DeNA-Ngmoco.

PlayPhone is pursuing a number of strategic relationships with carriers and other big players that want to operate their own networks.

“Carriers in particular want to get their revenues back by creating their own stores,” Czerny said.

PlayPhone recently released performance improvements with its 2.0 system software. The company launched its smartphone mobile social gaming network in December. It bought the mobile marketing firm SocialHour in March for $51.5 million in stock.

PlayPhone’s entry into the competition is going to make the market a lot more interesting for developers and consumers as the company hopes to differentiate itself through cross-platform gameplay, payments, and social functionality.

PlayPhone has created a free-to-play app that runs on the Apple iOS, Android, Flash, Windows Phone 7, and HTML5 platforms. The app lets players socialize with each other and play in the same online multiplayer game across different smartphone and tablet platforms.

While Gree/OpenFeint and DeNA/Ngmoco have strong bases in Japan, PlayPhone was founded much later and has a smaller number of users. But PlayPhone began building its mobile social network in 2010.

A user with an Android phone can play at the same PlayPhone Poker card table as someone with an Apple iPhone. The players can send messages to each other and chat back and forth. They can sign on once via Facebook and quickly access all games. They can buy poker chips via the Apple App Store through in-app purchases. But They can also buy poker chips via PlayPhone’s other payment options.

PlayPhone has its own virtual currency (Playcredits), and users can access various carrier billing and payment options even on a closed platform such as Apple’s iOS. Players don’t have to exit a game to pay for a virtual good. Czerny said that the company has relations with more than 100 global carriers. PlayPhone is a preferred direct-billing partner with both AT&T and Verizon in the U.S.

PlayPhone has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Menlo Ventures, Cardinal Venture Capital, Coral Group, and Scale Venture Partners.


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