Facebook: we want to help build the next US$3bn successful games company

29 Jan 2014

Pictured: Julien Codorniou, EMEA director of Platform, Facebook

Facebook is seeking to help and grow the next European gaming company that can achieve the same if not greater success than Clash of Clans creator Supercell, which is valued at over US$3bn. That’s according to Facebook’s EMEA head of platform, Julien Codorniou.

Speaking with Siliconrepublic.com last week following Facebook’s Gaming Summit in Dublin Codorniou said the social network can play a considerable role in the success of games that have gone mainstream.

He said that of the top 30 grossing mobile app games on the various ioS and Android app stores, 50pc were started on Facebook and bring in millions of dollars of revenues every week.

He said that successful games like Clash of Clans, Candycrush and Gsplash all owe their success to launching on Facebook before they became mainstream success stories.

In October Clash of Clans creator Helsinki-based Supercell sold 51pc of the company to Japanese companies SoftBank and GungHo for US$1.5bn.

“We are on a mission to manage the Facebook ecosystem from a developer’s point of view. Gaming has always been very important to us and we spend a lot of time in Europe with gaming companies as part of our drive to grow the size of the Facebook ecosystem,” Codorniou said.

He explained that he spends a lot of time in Russia, Israel and European gaming hotspots like Helsinki trying to identify the up and coming games companies.

“We’ve built this amazing platform where 260m people are playing games on Facebook every month. Of these 600,000 pay for games every day. It’s a nice platform to build and grow.”

Social to mobile to console

The new trends that Codorniou sees coming in the gaming space include a common thread arising between social, mobile and console where gamers can play and continue to play across the three environments.

“The mobile to console ecosystem in particular is one we would urge game developers to watch closely. Grab those opportunities. When Facebook went public in May 2012 our revenue from mobile was zero. In the last quarter it was 60pc.

“Just as we became a major distribution platform for apps we also became an important marketing channel for mobile. Games like CandyCrush, Gsplash and Clash of Clans are in the top three grossing apps worldwide and they wouldn’t be there today without Facebook.

“Of the top 30 grossing apps 50pc of them on mobile were started on Facebook and are making millions every week.”

The next horizon Codorniou foresees is the ability to play console-quality games through Facebook on browsers.

“We’re working with developers like Unity to make this possible. Traditionally the quality of games has not been as nice as console but that’s changing and with developers like Unity and the new computing devices this is possible.

Pointing to Sony’s recent PlayStation Now reveal enabling players to play PS3 and PS Vita games on any screen.

“We’ve worked closely with Sony to enable PlayStation 4 players to share their latest exploits and achievements – what Sony has done with Facebook is remarkable.

“Eventually gamers will be able to play Facebook games on their PCs, their Macs, their consoles, smartphones tablets and it will be a fully synchronized platform no matter where  you play or what device you are playing on.”

Guided by the beauty of our weapons

The three main gaming hotspots that Codorniou sees in Europe right now for gaming entrepreneurial talent are Tel Aviv (Israel), Helsinki (Finland) and St Petersberg (Russia) with evidence of emerging talent and businesses in Belarus.

“We see a lot of start-ups emerging in Ireland, particularly in the gambling space and many of the leaders are ex-EA and Zynga executives. We are encouraging them to work with Facebook and grow the way CandyCrunch grew, starting with FAcebook and then embracing mobile.

“Facebook will help them to acquire the users and then launch on mobile and perhaps become the next CandyCrush.”

Codorniou said he has assembled a team of 25 people to focus on European gaming companies and to help them with things like marketing and e-commerce.

 “Most of the companies I mentioned, including Supercell, didn’t exist three or four years ago,” Codorniou said.

“We have a method for taking emerging companies and making the million-dollar, even billion-dollar success stories.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years