Social casino games are hot this year. Mandala, a startup based in Nantes, France, hopes to add the French touch to them. The company just partnered with Hong Kong-based social gaming firm 6waves to publish Mandala’s upcoming La Riviera on Facebook.
6waves, which merged with Lolapps last year, has closed a lot of its internal development efforts and is relying on outside programmers for many of its social games. Mandala has made its mark in France and now wants to become a player in the international market.
Nadya Jahan (pictured right), chief executive of Mandala, said her aim is to stay focused on the creation of games and to rely on 6waves to publish the titles before a larger audience. 6waves will handle the international promotion of Mandala’s new title, enabling the company to spread what it calls its “made in France” values throughout the social gaming universe.
La Riviera is a slot machine game, and it’s Mandala’s second title on Facebook. The game has a tutorial room for new players, and it has mechanics such as missions, achievements, and crafting. The company previously self-published Divinitiz on the social network in 2011, and it attracted more than 350,000 players in two months.
Jahan has become something of a celebrity in France, where she will be in the reality web Les Influencers (The Influencers). The show will air on a weekly basis and follow seven online entrepreneurs.
Jim Ying, the senior vice president of publishing at 6waves, said, “What drew our attention to Mandala was their compelling gameplay and quality graphics. La Riviera captures the core of what people worldwide love about playing slots: excitement, competition, eye-pleasing visuals, and a festive atmosphere.”
Jahan founded the self-funded company in 2010 with a goal of bringing the “French touch” to social games with high-quality visuals. The company has around 12 employees.
Rivals include Playtika-Caesars, Double Down Interactive-IGT, Zynga, and others. This genre market is hot in part because of expectations that the legal barriers between online gambling and social casino games will come down in the U.S. in the future. On top of that, such titles with a free-to-play business model are proving to be very popular on Facebook.
Jahan said the company’s games have had high average revenues per user so far.
“I was raised with a joystick in my hands,” Jahan said. “My father was video games passionate, and my mother used to work in the computer industry, so it’s in my genes. I created my first business at 17 and graduated in IT development completed by business training. I left my last position as a business developer manager in the serious game industry to create my own company.”