The massively multiplayer online (MMO) gaming market is growing fast with many successful examples from Nordics. FunRock is one of web gaming startups based in Stockholm that has been yet unheard of. It started as a student venture in 2008 by David Wallinder, CEO at FunRock, with its main product, MMO browser-based game Rivality. The strategic game is about building big troops and attacking your enemies with the ultimate goal to achieve domination. It can be played in 10 language versions.
The student venture reports quite impressive figures – the game has approximately 300K registered players, considering that the traction comes mainly from Scandinavian countries. Though FunRock does not disclose any concrete figures, they claim to have pretty good metrics and ability to scale from low volumes. Currently 5% of players convert into paying players.
FunRock’s game is monetized through a “freemium” business model, meaning that the game is free to play with the premium content being paid for. The startup does not only localize language versions, they adopted different paying methods in different countries. The payment method is picked automatically depending on the country the payment is done from. This aligns with FunRock’s vision to gather an extensive network of local partners to provide the most localized game portfolio offered on the market.
The interesting thing about FunRock is that it aims to take web, mobile and social gaming into one powerful play and thus be part of redefining web gaming with the cross-platform approach. To avoid confusion, terms “multiplatform” and “cross-platform” seem to be used in gaming to describe that MMO games can be played on several platforms, but may or may not allow users on different platforms to play with users on another platform.
A handful of web gaming companies have gone multiplatform. However, according to Wallinder, in most of these cases, when players go from one platform to another they have to start the game all over again and obviously lose the content they have paid for. FunRock intends to let players start playing on a web browser and pick the game up from where they left off on mobile. Plus, they want to encourage the web players to download a mobile app by offering credits. “We want to be a company that is truly multiplatform and hope to find the concept which will work both on web and mobile. It would be awesome to see players from different platforms interacting with each other”, comments Wallinder.
They have already started the process with a successful test of a simple Android app carrying basic functionality. Soon they hope to launch an application at App Store and get some good traction from this platform as well.
Big gaming companies pump enormous resources into viral marketing of their games. FunRock simply doesn’t have enough funding at this point to compete on this front. Will investment solve all startup’s problems? Some of them it will. However, The MMO gaming market is extremely competitive, as the number of available MMO games have almost doubled since the beginning of 2011. Though it is hard to tell yet if their unique multi-platform strategy will ramp up their business, the startup’s vision of the gaming scene of the future seems to be palatable.