Scopely has broken out of the pack of mobile game makers to be one of the biggest in the industry, with hit games that are generating more than $100 million a year.
Speaking at our GamesBeat Summit 2020 event with Drake Star’s Michael Metzger, Javier Ferreira (co-CEO of Scopely) also talked about the company’s acquisition spree, which included today’s announcement that Scopely has acquired Los Angeles game studio PierPlay, maker of Scopely’s Scrabble Go mobile game. It has built a war chest, with $400 million raised in the past six months.
In his role, Ferreira said he focuses on making sure that teams are set up for success. He zeroes in on talent and making sure the company can scale and grow. He thinks of the company’s culture, talent, and organization as an “operating system” that becomes better every day. He wants Scopely to have better outcomes not only for the business but for employees, too, as in making sure they are happy.
Scopely has seen massive growth over the past year, thanks in part to the success of Star Trek: Fleet Command, which is generating $100 million a year. The company also acquired FoxNext Games, the maker of Marvel Strike Force, and that helped the company become a top-five U.S. mobile games publisher, according to insight and analytics firm App Annie.
The Los Angeles company has more than 800 people. It’s been driven by the growth of live services, new games, and acquisitions. Ferreira said the company has spread out into multiple genres, from puzzles to strategy games, and it will launch a lot of new titles over the next couple of years. He thinks Scrabble Go has been a successful launch, with “incredible retention.” Some players have criticized it because it isn’t like a traditional Scrabble game, but the percentage of negative comments has been small, and social sharing has been huge.
Two months after the launch, Scopely claims Scrabble Go has had the biggest word game launch ever, with 2.5 million people playing the game every day for more than 100 minutes a day. For the rest of the year, Scopely will try to grow the audience into millions more daily active users and then execute on improving the experience over the next year.
“We’re going to be on the offensive on that game for the next 12 months,” Ferreira said.
Ferreira said the company is happy with its success so far, but it’s still a ways away from the company’s ultimate goals for growth.
“We are hungry and on a constant journey of growth,” he said.
To be successful in free-to-play games, he said, it’s not a winner-take-all market. Scopely focused on a studio ecosystem, with both external and internal development. The company partners with third-party talent in other studios, like the PierPlay studio that made the Scrabble game. If the initial product is a success, Scopely will sometimes acquire a studio, as it has in two cases.
Ferreira said that strategy has allowed the company to have a hit rate and grow both organically and through acquisition. He noted that FoxNext’s Marvel Strike Force has generated more than $100 million in revenues and has grown for the past eight quarters.
Ferreira said the company has been looking at a variety of targets for potential acquisition, as well as partnerships. Scopely wants long-term businesses.
“We are looking for companies that are complementary to our culture, enhance it, and really want to be on the journey we are on,” he said.