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Berlin social games maker Wooga reveals new games, first Kindle release – and profitability

Pearl's Peril

Pearl's Peril
Berlin social games maker Wooga is kicking off the year with a major announcement – all-new games, a first move to the Amazon Kindle, and profitability.

Wooga is now up to 50 million active users per month (MAUs), CEO and founder Jens Begemann told a press gathering in Berlin earlier this week. That's a little over AppData's guess (based on Facebook log-ins until 8 Jan 2012), which still places Wooga in the top four Facebook game makers worldwide behind Zynga (259 million MAUs), (nearly 100 million MAUs) and Microsoft (74 million MAUs).

All Wooga's games are free to play and without advertising – it makes money through in-app purchases of virtual goods, such as extra lives or themed decorations.

"We've never talked about financials," Begemann said. He did confirm Wooga is now profitable and "investing everything that we make into creating new games and bringing this ecosystem forward".

That, of course, is the trick – in the games business, following up successful titles with more big hits is what separates the stars from the rest.

Wooga will be rolling out at least four new games in the next few months, including a "re-imagined" version of its popular Monster World farming game for iPhone and iPad. It's a good sign for the company that the game is still performing since its launch for the web via Facebook three years ago.

Pearl's PerilThe three other all-new titles are:

    • Pearl's Peril (pictured top and right): A graphic adventure, mystery-solving, hidden object game for web, iPhone and iPad. Think Myst for mobile, with weekly story episodes. It's a new aesthetic for Wooga though still aimed at lady gamers (about 70 per cent of Wooga's users are female). 
    • Kingsbridge: Wooga's first foray into "mid-core" gaming, to be released first for web. This one's a familiar war-and-build strategy game, but with a Facebook spin – a bit like Farmville or Monster World meets Warcraft. 
    • Pocket Village: A harvesting/village game and Wooga's first mobile-only title, for iPhone and iPad.

A targeting of mobile devices

Wooga will continue to launch for iPhone and iPad first, Begemann said, but it will also bring its most successful games over to Android. Half of the company's revenue now comes from mobile, compared to none at all 15 months ago.

Jens Begemann

In another first, Wooga will release existing title Diamond Dash for the Amazon Kindle Fire HD in March. "We target devices with a billion users or more," Begemann said. "We predict that within the next two years, there'll be more than a billion tablets in the market." That compares to just 34 million game consoles sold last year, he said.

As well as the new releases, Wooga is expanding physically – taking over the floor in its building formerly occupied by "German Facebook" StudiVZBegemann expects to fill the extra floor with new hires by the end of the year.

The company currently employs about 280 people in Berlin and is financed by about $32.2m in venture capital including from Balderton Capital, Holtzbrinck, Tenaya and Highland Capital Partners.


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