Even apps that are not primarily about games often make most of their money through games. That’s definitely true in the case of one of the fastest-growing chat apps out of London.
Palringo, an app that’s all about letting you connect with other people through chat rooms, is revealing today that its revenue grew to $14 million in 2014. That’s up 100 percent from $7 million in 2013, and the company credits games for its growth. Of the $14 million in revenue that Palringo locked down last year, 85 percent came from game-related activities and 50 percent was profit. The company’s focus on gaming has also enabled it to attract new people in a sector dominated by huge apps like SnapChat. Palringo now has 35 million registered users, and it’s growing that figure by 1 million every month. With revenues for mobile games reaching $25 billion in 2014, apps that augment and improve that experience stand to benefit.
“Specialised messaging platforms are likely to become bigger as the technology improves,” Palringo chief executive Tim Rea told GamesBeat. “Games-based chat platforms are likely to lead the way to video-based and real-time streaming chat platforms.”
Palringo’s game functionality is interesting. It helps suggest and distribute apps that you can get through the App Store or Google Play, but it also makes a ton of money through text-based games that people can enjoy in the chatrooms themselves. These take the form of basic games like Hangman or word scramble. People can purchase a Hangman bot, for example, and launch it in whatever chatroom they want. If you pay 100 coins, the in-app currency, you can use the bot for 30 days. Palringo sells packs of coins, and the cheapest is 300 for $3.
“Gaming has always been a dominant theme within Palringo communities,” said Rea. “Over the past couple of years, we have developed that trend by creating games that work within the community directly and more recently, by building an innovative gaming capability that allows us to further develop our model of bringing together community and gaming on mobile.”
In 2013, the company deeply committed to developing games itself when it acquired Swedish developer Free Lunch Design to build original games for its community.
“Internal data from Palringo groups revealed that of all the 250,000 groups, gamers were the most engaged,” said Rea. “We also needed to differentiate ourselves from the behemoths in the space like WhatsApp and SnapChat by offering something different. We did so by interacting with gamers.”
Palringo intends to keep growing throughout 2015. It has brought on a new marketing team to help get the word out about the app. It also has some new community managers who will work with Palringo’s most dedicated community members.