This Company Wants To Entertain You For The Next Decade
These days, it’s nearly impossible to go out in public without seeing someone playing a game on his or her mobile device. App games such as Pokemon Go, Clash of Clans, and Candy Crush have all captured our attention in some way or another and contributed significantly to the overall rise in mobile gaming. This trend shows no signs of slowing down and is causing heartburn for the traditional entertainment studios that dominated media over the last several decades. One company, in particular, is turning heads with its crazy fast growth, massive user base, and behemoth fundraising.
Scopely, a Los Angeles-based startup founded in 2011, partners with developers to create and distribute mobile games across a variety of genres. Self-branded as an entertainment network, Scopely has taken an atypical approach to game development which is paying off in huge ways.
The World’s Leading Touchscreen Entertainment Network
Rather than create game brands in-house and commit to one type of genre, Scopely provides a supportive infrastructure that mobile expert game developers can use to launch, promote, and continuously improve their releases.
The company’s platform provides developers with collaborative design experts, marketing expertise, and an abundance of user data. As a result, Scopely and its partner developers are able to work together to continuously optimize player experiences over the long-term. The company is operating within an exploding mobile gaming market that is projected to be $45B by 2020.
“We didn’t start this as a mobile gaming company,” says co-founder Walter Driver.
“We started this with the thesis that mobile experiences are growing–it’s not linear entertainment, and this is going to take more of a slice of mobile every year.”
Scopely has had six consecutive #1 games and three are in the Top 50 grossing mobile games of all time. In August, the company announced it will release a Looney Tunes mobile game in partnership with Warner Bros. which is a new way the production company is trying to monetize this specific intellectual property.
Scopely’s current list of games includes:
- The Walking Dead: Road to Survival
- New Yahtzee with Buddies
- WWE Champions
- Dice with Ellen
- Wheel of Fortune Free Play
- Dice with Buddies
- Slots Vacation
- Disco Bees
Currently, over 165M users play Scopely games who spend, on average, $81 per month on in-game purchases. This is incredibly impressive given that all of the company’s titles are free to download. Other entertainment networks would do anything for this kind of engagement.
“…We Think Of Ourselves As An Experience Company.”
– Walter Driver, CEO
Scopely was founded by Walter Driver, former CEO of O Negative Media, Ankur Bulsara, founder of Brainwave Software, and Eytan Elbaz, former Head of Domain Channel at Google. Together, these three took Scopely from ground zero to the #2 fastest growing company in America by 2015 as reported by Deloitte, just four years after its founding. Recently, the company wrapped up a $160M Series C funding round that put Scopely’s total funding to more than $250M. With this capital, the company is looking to rev up its M&A engine and purchase game studios and intellectual property that will continue to propel the company forward.
Today, 80% of the company’s revenue comes from in-game purchases with the other 20% coming from advertising. Although Scopely is a privately held, leadership has indicated that the company is profitable and generates revenue to the tune of hundreds of millions. Scopely now has 11 offices around the world and is valued at more than $700M.
Is Good Sometimes Better Than Perfect?
Like many tech companies, Scopely relies on an iterative process to fine-tune its product for the market. Rather than spending significant time and capital to create the “perfect” offering, the company focuses on getting relevantly branded, fun games out there that will be updated over time as user data comes in. As a result, each of Scopely’s games has an extremely long lifespan that can continue to generate cash over time.
This Untold story provides a tangible example of how good can sometimes be better than perfect. Rather than sinking a ton of energy and resources into R&D, get a minimum viable product (MVP) out there that you can use to test the market. Your customers can help you refine your offering as their engagement (or lack thereof) will show you what is working and what isn’t.