A game company you never heard of – with 60 million registered users

Well, with 60 million users, you might be one of them – but their demographic is much more international than most gamers in my part of the world, and their demographic is much less needful of cutting edge consoles or computers. So my bet is you’re not yet one of them.

Gameforge AG is a privately held German company. They’ve been in business since 2003, and only have 90 employees. They just opened a San Francisco office.

They publish the most successful and popular browser-based game on the planet, OGame, and 26 other games.

Their active users number 10,000,000.

Their games run in 23 different languages, with users in 30 different countries around the world.

A couple of years ago I posted 2005 to 2010 projections for the game industry. Here’s the online drilldown from those projections:

Online gaming drilldown:

2010 long session market (eg MMOs) $4.82 billion
Compound Annual Growth Rate 26%

2010 mid session market $4.72 billion
Compound Annual Growth Rate 29%

2010 short session market (eg casual games) $2.5 billion
Compound Annual Growth Rate 34%

The short session market shows the largest growth, though all of the online markets are the hottest place in gaming growth. GameForge is completely focused on the online market, has a model that satisfies the short session market brilliantly, but that also engages users all the way up to the long session market. I think it’s fair to say they dominate the browser-based market – if you have other games or companies you’d like to suggest as competitors there, please do post a comment. Because GameForge is privately held, I haven’t found any revenues for them – but I am going to conservatively guess they are on the order of $10,000,000 a month, or $120,000,000 a year. The key question for them is how successful they are in converting free users (all their games can be played for free) into customers who pay for upgrades that allow them to play the games more successfully. My estimate is based on the conversion percentage being 5 to 10%. Whatever their revenues, I am quite sure their growth is better than those very high projections for the industry, since they are so succesful within the industry.

The only weakness I’ve seen so far is they haven’t also enabled good mobile access to their games. When people can also play from their cell phone browsers, GameForge will hook way more users, way more solidly. Surely they are working on that.

More about their gaming and revenue models in a later post. Meantime, if you haven’t yet, check out OGame, or any others they publish that look interesting. I’m in Universe 27 in OGame, btw, as Tor. Send me a note. 🙂

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