The Finnish social gaming firm Ironstar Helsinki has announced appointing a new CEO Tiina Zilliacus and expanding its platform reach to Facebook. Ironstar Helsinki runs a social gaming world MoiPal, which up until now has been available on the web and as a downloadable mobile application. MoiPal has currently 200.000 registered users in Finland along some international ones, and is now looking to accelerate the international growth.
Tiina Zilliacus will step up as the new CEO later this month, responsible for driving its international expansion. Tiina has experience from consumer services business and digital commerce, having been the the CEO of digital service design agency Creanor, and acting CEO of Apaja Online Entertainment among other things. The current CEO and founder Joakim Achren assumes responsibility over the Moipal service and its technical implementation. Ironstar’s network includes also Michael Widenius, the founder of MySQL, as an investor in the firm.
Joakim told ArcticStartup that the firm was looking to strengthen the business development skills and advisory board since the spring. Joakim believes the firm is becoming a considerable player in the social gaming markets, and need Tiina’s experience to drive the firm to the next stage as successful and profitable social gaming company.
In Finland Ironstar have been able to create an active community, and the firm’s revenues have been growing at a steady rate. The big potential is naturally, however, abroad, and the firm tries to get there now through Facebook. Joakim further explained that their team have followed Facebook’s development as social gaming and distribution platform for some time. They have taken notice it has been working extremely well for other social game developers such as Zynga and Playfish, who have gathered quickly tens of millions of users to their new applications. For the time being, Moipal will only be offered in English. Similarly to other social gaming firms on web social networks, MoiPal is also looking to boost revenues with virtual items and “offer completions” (e.g., Offerpal, SuperRewards).
There is still room on the social networks for new entrants, but the space is becoming crowded very quickly and not all new releases take off at all. The established companies, like Zynga and Playfish, are also competing hard for the mindshare and viral visibility, and have achieved success for new titles with heavy online and cross-marketing efforts. Nevertheless, being still free distribution channels with constantly growing user bases, social networks will certainly continue to draw in lots of developers. Further encouraging is that the global virtual goods market is estimated to grow to 6 billion USD by 2013.