Plumbee expands product range with Mirrorball Bingo launch

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London-based social gaming studio Plumbee has launched Mirroball Bingo, the second app to go live on Facebook under its core Mirrorball brand following the success of its Mirroball Slots app.

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Mirrorball Bingo is also the first Plumbee app to feature branded content licensed by the company’s investor, TV production company Endemol.

The game has launched with three different bingo rooms, including Alice’s Adventures and Dragon Valley, both of which are based around fairytale themes similar to the games in Mirrorball Slots. A third bingo room is based around the popular TV gameshow Deal or No Deal, the rights to which is owned by Endemol.

The Deal or No Deal room allows players to choose one feature card for each round of the game. When a player wins a bingo, they then play a round of Deal or No Deal, allowing players to win up to one million bonus coins, which can be redeemed for power boosts in subsequent games.

While Endemol led a $14m Series B funding round in the business last December, investing $13m of the total, the licensing agreement for the bingo room was agreed months earlier when development of the bingo product began.

Plumbee will also have the option to license more TV show brands and intellectual property from Endemol for use in its products. The company licences a number of its brands including Big Brother and The Money Drop.

Mirrorball Bingo product manager Roy Avinash said he was very excited about the launch, saying the studio had worked hard to launch a product with high production values and engaging gameplay.

“And this is just the beginning,” Avinash added. “We have lots of new rooms and features ready to launch in the next few weeks and months.”

Plumbee chief executive Raf Keustermans said the launch would help strengthen the company’s position in the social casino sector, and hinted at further new releases over the course of the year.

“It was very important for us to launch this game early in the year,” Keustermans commented. “We have very ambitious plans for Plumbee this year and this is our first step in proving that we are a multi-product, multi-platform company.”

April 16th, 2014

Plumbee adds Royal Frog to Mirrorball Slots on Facebook

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Social casino games publisher, Plumbee announces the launch of 13th game in its flagship Mirrorball Slots app on Facebook. Royal Frog, built by Quickspin, brings the Princess & The Frog fairy-tale to life.

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The game bursts with great graphics and sounds, synonymous with Mirrorball Slots.

Featuring a 5×4, 40-line base game, Royal Frog features an exciting Free Spins bonus game where after each spin, more Wilds are added to the reels for bigger and better wins as the bonus progresses. Unique amongst Mirrorball Slots games, Royal Frog also enables the player to add more wilds to the reels by turning the princes in to frogs, achieved by increasing their bet size.

Mats Westerlund, Quickspin VP of Products, commented: “Royal Frog allows players to change the gaming experience by turning frogs into wilds through higher stakes. In today’s age of capitalism, frogs require money and not kisses to become princes, which ties in well with the nature of slot machines.”

Christine Wang, Plumbee Product Manager, added: “This game brings a fresh new feel to the Mirrorball Slots app. With its unique interactive feature, it allows for more user engagement in both the main app and tournaments. It’s a game we’re very excited about.”

The game is available both in the main app as well as in tournaments mode, the new feature released by Plumbee earlier this month, which allows players to compete against each other. 
April 3rd, 2014

Plumbee adds candy-themed game to Mirrorball Slots

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Plumbee has added a candy themed title on its Mirrorball Slots app on Facebook through a partnership with Swedish supplier Quickspin.

Sugar Trail is a candy-themed 3×5 reel slot and was developed by Swedish game studio Quickspin to be the 12th slot released by the London-based operator on the social network.

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“Sugar trail creates a real contrast with the previous games’ themes,” Mats Westerlund, Quickspin VP of products, said. “The bonus chasers will have a blast with the three different main features, and the joyful and colourful graphics and sounds make for a very entertaining gaming experience.”

The new title joins a list of games including Quickspin-developed Firestorm, which launched in November, and Plumbee’s first in-house slot Thumbelina’s Forest.

“We always strive to add fresh and innovative content to our game,” Christine Wang, web product manager at Plumbee, added. “The candy-themed Sugar Trail further adds to the diversity of themes within Mirrorball Slots.”

According to the latest figures from Dystillr, Mirrorball Slots currently ranks in the Top 20 of the most popular social casino games on Facebook with an estimated 1.9m monthly active users.

Plumbee recently beta-launched Mirrorball Slots on Google Play, following the release of the app on iOS devices last July, and plans to launch commercially in the coming weeks

January 27th, 2014

Plumbee Raises $14M round B, led by Endemol

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Endemol, the Netherlands-based TV production house known for game shows like Fear Factor and Deal Or No Deal, is now making a bet on online gaming. The company today announced that it has made a strategic investment of $13 million in social casino startup Plumbee, as it plans to raise its digital profile by investing in online gambling and going beyond the traditional video production business.

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Founded by former Playfish executives, Raf Keustermans, Gerald Tan and Jodi Moran, Plumbee started in 2011, and has more than one million monthly active users. Prior to this,Plumbee had raised $2.8 million in funding.

As part of the strategic investment, Endemol will be working with Plumbee to build on its existing digital gaming projects, according to chairman Lucas Church.

“Social casino gaming is a fast emerging market and Plumbee is one of the most innovative and dynamic operators in this space. This new partnership will allow us to accelerate the growth of Endemol’s digital gaming business around the world, whilst capturing more of the value created by our entertainment brands,” Church said in a statement.

The investment comes at a time when we have seen mixed fortunes both for social gaming companies and real-money gaming ventures. Zynga had high hopes for it, but earlier this year, after much lobbying, decided to drop its pursuit for a real-money gaming license in the U.S.

Zynga, of course, hasn’t had the most stellar record of late in social gaming, either. But others like Supercell continue to bring in the punters in droves.

Plumbee, with its Playfish heritage and new focus on a mix of free-to-play and real-money games, wants to tap into both areas. And now Endemol is hoping to cash in on that, too.

Keustermans, the CEO of Plumbee adds: “Endemol will become a strategic shareholder and this will enable us to leverage the company’s international network and globally recognised brands. This will significantly boost the growth of our worldwide user base as we create gaming experiences that stand out from the competition.”

So far, Endemol has been building its digital gaming business internally, mostly by launching gaming apps based on popular shows, and it is making other inroads into pure-play online content. In November, it announced a $40 million investment in Endemol Beyond, a new online video network.

Endemol’s recent digital gaming projects include The Money Drop second screen game, which has so far had over 30 million games played worldwide and The Million Pound Drop app in the UK, which has had over 2.5 million downloads to date.

Idinvest Partners, the existing investors in Plumbee, also participated in this round of funding with an investment of $1M.

December 16th, 2013

Plumbee adds Firestorm game to Mirrorball Slots

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Social casino start-up Plumbee has announced the launch of its 11th slots game to its Mirrorball Slots app on Facebook.

The Aztec-themed Firestorm game was developed by Swedish game studio Quickspin and joins Plumbee’s portfolio of games which currently attract over 350,000 daily active users.

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“We know that our players value a broad and diverse offering, so we focus with our in-house slots team and Quickspin on creating new games that are fresh and innovative, not just in gameplay but also in theme,”  said Christine Wang, web product manager at Plumbee.

The release of Firestorm follows the launch of the London-based company’s The Three Musketeers game in September, which was also developed by the video slot producer Quickspin, and its first in-house slot Thumbelina’s Forest in July.

“With Firestorm we wanted to capture the essence of what truly makes a great video slot,” Mats Westerlund, VP of Products at Quickspin, said. “With a stunning audio and visual experience coupled with very exciting game mechanics I’m sure it will be a thrilling experience for the players.”

In July Plumbee announced its first push into the mobile space after releasing Mirrorball Slots on iOS, which CEO and co-founder Raf Keustermans said at the time was “the natural next step for the company” after recording positive growth figures in its first year.

Keustermans also recently became a board director of the International Social Games Association (ISGA), an industry representative body which formed in September following the merger of the International Social Games Coalition and the Social Games Association.

Plumbee is one of 15 members of the ISGA which also includes major social gaming operators such as Zynga, IGT, Gamesys and Playtika.

November 14th, 2013

Plumbee launches latest slots game

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The Three Musketeers is Mirrorball Slots’ninth game to be developed by Quickspin

Social casino games company Plumbee has announced the release of its latest addition to its Mirrorball Slots app on Facebook.

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The Three Musketeers is the 10th slots game to be added to the app, which recently reached 500,000 downloads of its iOS version after being released two months ago.

The new game is developed by the Swedish game studio Quickspin and follows the recent launches of Sinbad and Plumbee’s first slots game developed in-house Thumbelina’s Forest.

Plumbee’s web product manager Christine Wang said the firm was “excited” by its latest slots offering. “We think the overall polish and game mechanics within it is likely to make it one of the more successful games within Mirrorball Slots, in line with its last two predecessors,” she said.

Mats Westerlund, Quickspin’s VP of Product, added: “Yet again we’re happy to provide Plumbee with an innovative and entertaining video slot. The humorous touch on the Three Musketeers theme together with the fun and exciting game play is sure to suit the Mirrorball Slots players for a long time to come.”

In July the social casino start-up announced its first push into the mobile space after releasing Mirrorball Slots on iOS, described at the time by Plumbee CEO and co-founder Raf Keustermans as “the natural next step for the company” after posting eight-digit revenue figures in its first year.

Keustermans recently became a board director of the International Social Games Association, an industry representative body which formed this week following the merger of the International Social Games Coalition and the Social Games Association.

September 13th, 2013

“We Compare Ourselves with Other Forms of Entertainment, Not Gambling Companies”

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Gerald Tan, COO and co-founder of social casino startup Plumbee, dropped all these stats during his presentation at the Mobile Gaming & Gambling Summit this morning – and provided an introduction to the market.

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The social casino industry will be worth $2bn (£1.3bn) in 2013, and accounts for 43 per cent of Facebook’s revenue. 173m people have played a social casino game, with the top games reaching as many as 23m users on a monthly basis.

Gerald Tan, COO and co-founder of social casino startup Plumbee, dropped all these stats during his presentation at the Mobile Gaming & Gambling Summit this morning – and provided an introduction to the market. What marks social casino apart from other forms of gambling is that users have the choice between playing for free with virtual currency, or playing for money.

There are downsides to this approach: only five per cent of people spend money to play these games, and there’s a very long tail – Tan says some users’ first expenditure comes a full year after they started playing. But it also changes the focus, and opens up its potential audience.

“We compare ourselves with other forms of entertainment, not other gambling companies,” said Tan. “If I go to the cinema and spend £10, I don’t expect at the end of that to have a copy of the film – what I paid for is the two hour experience.”

 

September 11th, 2013

Why stickiness isn’t enough: Creating a game with enduring popularity

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I try to avoid the term “sticky.” In today’s competitive era of gaming, it seems antiquated and simplistic, and creating a game with enduring popularity is about much more than that. Instead it’s about providing gamers with an experience that keeps them interested long-term and generates real engagement.

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Driving and then maintaining that engagement is what will make your game popular. My experience is in social casino and casual games in general, but this advice applies to just about any apps. There’s no one magic formula to achieve success, especially since it varies significantly between different games categories. But there are a few guidelines that always good to keep in mind.

 

1. Start with a solid core

The basic proposition of your game will always remain the most important factor. Within social casino for instance, one of the most fundamental aspects tends to also be the least visible, at least to users —  that’s the math model sitting behind the scenes. You could have the best graphics and most visually engaging slots game. But if your math isn’t optimal, you’ll struggle to keep your users engaged or to generate any significant revenue. Although they don’t see it, users actually feel it and can easily tell a good slots experience from a bad one.

 

Obviously, this isn’t enough in itself, but it’s worth calling out because it’s too easy to start focusing on the smaller details and to forget to check back on the initial premise of the game.

 

2. Get into your player’s head

This sounds like an obvious one, but knowing in advance how you want the player to feel — in reaction to particular events or features — will be of great help in making the correct product decisions. Of course, the scientific and data-driven approach will take over with time, once you know exactly how your players are behaving. But that first “soft” approach of putting yourself in your players’ shoes is very important.

 

It’s easy when you, as a developer, are your own audience. It’s somewhat harder when you’re not. For example, social slots and casino games predominantly have an audience of middle-aged women. It’s hard for a 24 year-old male developer or designer to understand her mindset. But there are still a lot of things you can safely assume about players. For instance, within slots, as important as the frequency of winning is the frequency of near-wins. The emotion you create in the player when they almost win is one of the things that keeps them spinning, and ultimately, coming back. This psychological approach is crucial to creating a good game.

 

3. Make it scientific but customized

Once your assumptions about your players’ behaviors are set, start testing to confirm or inform them with solid data. This also sounds like another obvious one. But the point I’m trying to make here isn’t only that you should rely on data, but rather that the range of your users’ behavior is going to be very wide. Finding the right balance in the user experience between your casual and your hardcore gamers is going to be crucial. And ideally what ends up happening is a very granular personalization of the experience depending on each user’s engagement level — the natural extension of which becomes the customization of the “prompt to pay” experience through which you’ll be able to maximize revenue.

 

Lastly, I’d say: Don’t overlook even the smallest of details. Things that may seem inconsequential sometimes have a major impact. For example, with slots games, any producer will tell you that the quality of the audio and the special sound effects surrounding a win or a near-win are almost as important as the event itself. To keep users engaged, the full sensorial experience is a must. It’s definitely worth spending a good amount of time and money on ensuring you get these details right from the beginning.

Article available at VentureBeat

 

September 4th, 2013

Plumbee adds new game to Mirrorball Slots app

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Social casino operator launches eighth Quickspin-developed game, Sinbad, on Facebook

Social casino start-up Plumbee has launched its latest Quickspin-developed slots game on its Mirrorball Slots Facebook app.

Sinbad is the eighth game released on Mirrorball Slots to be developed by Quickspin and follows the recent launch of Plumbee’s first slots game developed in-house Thumbelina’s Forest.

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Plumbee’s product manager Christine Wang said the social casino operator was excited by the launch of Sinbad as it looks to offer players something unique in an increasingly competitive market.

“We want to keep pushing the boundaries in the social casino category and Sinbad is a great example of where we want to go,” she said. “In a highly competitive landscape it’s all about quality and innovation.”

The London-based company’s new slots game features the hero of an Arabian legend Sinbad the Sailor and consists of three adventures where players face different mythical creatures.

“Sinbad’s world with its adventures and riches offered a great template for this slot where we allow players to choose their own free spins experience,” Quickspin’s vice-president of products Mats Westerlund said. “The three different voyages offer different gameplay features and each player is bound to find his own favourite.”

The launch follows the social casino operator’s first move into mobile after it recently released Mirrorball Slots on iOS, described at the time by Plumbee CEO and co-founder Raf Keustermans as “the natural next step for the company” after posting eight-digit revenue figures in its first year.

In April Plumbee added Quickspin’s seventh game, Treasure Island, to the Mirrorball Slots which has 300,000 DAU and 1.3 million MAU across all platforms.

August 6th, 2013

Plumbee launches first in-house slot

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Thumbelina’s Forest added to Mirrorball Slots app

Plumbee has launched its first in-house slots game on its Mirrorball Slots app on Facebook.

Thumbelina’s Forest is the first created by the in-house slots studio, headed by producer Dave Wright and mathematician/game designer Peter Stathis, set up by the company last year.

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The London-based firm has plans to develop additional games in the future as Plumbee aims to equally divide new content releases between its strategic partner Quickspin and its in-house team.

Commenting on the launch Wright said the company was “very happy with the result” and confident of a positive reaction from its customer base after working “flat out” to develop the product.

“Thumbelina is the first game in Mirrorball Slots that allows players to choose how the game plays: players can choose to have more wins or bigger wins at the flick of a switch,” he added. “We also added expanding Wilds in the free spins, which can really bump your wins up.”

The news follows the social casino company’s first move into mobile after it recently released Mirrorball Slots on iOS. The launch was described at the time by Raf Keustermans, Plumbee co-founder and CEO, as “the natural next step for the company” after posting eight-digit revenue figures in its first year.

Also available www.socialcasinointelligence.com/plumbee-launches-first-in-house-slot/

July 15th, 2013