There’s a big pot of gold awaiting casual game publishers who properly adapt their games to Facebook. Online casual game maker Arkadium is making a try at it. It’s been converting some of its games to Facebook games recently. And today it announced that it has teamed up with GSN to make sure the first of those converted games — its hit Mahjongg Dimensions game — makes money.
Arkadium was founded in 2001. It’s Mahjonngg Dimensions game, developed by Mob Science, has scored more than a million players. That inspired the New York company to commission many more conversions of its existing casual web site games to social Facebook games. The companies made the announcement at the Casual Connect game conference in Seattle.
GSN, short for Game Show Network, is making a skill-based version of Mahjonng Dimensions. That is, a game where players can wager money when they play. The skill-based game will be available on Facebook and on the GSN Cash Games and Worldwinner Partner network. The games will be social, allowing friends to challenge each other.
Chief executive Kenny Rosenblatt said in an interview that the company could adapt many of its 300 casual games to Facebook, but it will likely focus on 50 or so that make the most sense.
“You have to make changes to the game play to make the game more social,” Rosenblatt said.
Most of the games that are being adapted to Facebook will use virtual goods business models, where the game is free but users pay real money for virtual goods in the games. While Arkadium used Mob Science for its first game, it is using its own internal game studios to make the next ones. To reach scale, Rosenblatt wants to launch dozens of games. By the end of the third quarter, he hopes to have six Facebook games in the market.
Arkadium is using Facebook Credits for its virtual goods platform. Rosenblatt doesn’t love giving Facebook 30 percent of the cut for his games, but he notes that the use of Facebook Credits drives up the number of people who pay.
GSN has more than 73 million users on its subscriber television network and online game sites. Worldwinner is a games-for-cash site and a subsidiary of GSN. GSN is jointly owned by DirecTV and Sony Pictures Entertainment.