Scoreloop Launches (Interview)

April 16th, 2009 by Arjan Olsder Posted in Multiplayer Gaming | No Comments »

Scoreloop Today is a big day for Scoreloop as their new social gaming service just went live. We sat down with its CEO Marc Gumpinger and CTO Dominik Westner to discuss the pro’s and con’s of a service like this.

But let’s look at the Scoreloop service first. You can look at it as a specialist service for matching up players with each other. Players can compare scores and learn about opponents via profile data. That profile data can be viewed both in-game as well as on the web through social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Next to score matching, players can also match on gender, geographical presence and many other factors.

So where’s the business model in that? During play, players can earn points and coins. The points are needed to determine the skills of the player. The coins are used in a betting-like model where two players can bet a certain amount of coins based on the outcome of their game. When a player runs out of coins, he or she can purchase new ones via the Scoreloop service. And that’s where developers earn their slice of the revenue pie.

To improve the game quality, Scoreloop will also provide metrics about the usage of the mobile game. This shows when and where players drop out so the games can be improved to optimize the financial result.


[Arjan] First off, what is the difference between Scoreloop and the average virtual currency model used in other social games?

[Marc] Scoreloop offers a free SDK that can be implemented in any iPhone mobile game. The game just needs to render some kind of a score that allows for comparing gamers skills. So a major difference to other games is that you can reuse Scoreloop coins in any Scoreloop enabled game. This significantly increases the coins’ "value."

Secondly, you can win coins back from others. So, for example,  both you and your opponent put the same amount of coins on winning. The winner gets the major part of coins in that challenge. This means winners increase their amount of coins and at the same time reduce the losers’ amount of coins. This makes it extra competitive.

[Arjan] Are the coins worth something to the gamer, or do they have no consumer value after purchase except the honour of owning them?

[Marc] The major value of coins is that they enable challenges. You need to put at least one coin in every challenge you play against another gamer. Given the fact that it’s not only the challenge per se that you spend coins on but also the option to get rewards–if you win, that is–there’s a lot of value to these coins. So it’s pretty similar to XBox Live but not as a subscription model but more of a gaming-as-a-service model which we consider to be the most user friendly model out there. [In addition to that we’ve designed the whole concept in a way that allows us to easily integrate other types of coins. We’re especially thinking about loyalty program points for which we are very open.]

[Arjan] What will be the gross retail price of a single coin (or will they go by the thousands)?

[Marc] Up to a certain limit every gamer gets a number of coins for free to get started. Combined with the fact that gamers get more coins if the win against other gamers, they could potentially challenge each other forever. And if you’re running out of coins or want to increase the thrill, you can purchase additional coins. Such additional coins are sold in packages that start as low as 99ct. The actual price of a single coin then depends on the payment system and on the package size.

[Arjan] What will the revenue share be like toward the mobile games developer?

[Marc] After deducting incurred costs (like payment and VAT) from the gross revenues, developers get 50% of the net revenues of all the coins spent in their games.

[Arjan] When looking at the kickbacks of app stores and operators, we see kickbacks for game sales increase to 70%. What makes your system so expensive that you provide a kickback of 50% while your cost base seems lower?

[Marc] The 70/30 split was introduced by Apple–the mother of all App Stores–and thereafter adopted by others. Apple has a number of revenue streams in the iTunes/iPhone ecosystem and does not solely depend on the App Store revenues to make profits. In contrast to that we live on coin sales. And in contrast to other gaming SDKs and engines we’re licensing our SDK for free and provide additional revenues on top of that. So at the end of the day, getting extra revenues without having to pay a single cent for it is a pretty good deal.

[Arjan] What will be the main territories for launching this service?

[Marc] We’re launching this service on a global basis and encourage worldwide play and challenges!

[Arjan] This sounds like betting, will you make the developers aware of the territories where betting is considered illegal?

[Marc] Although you are putting coins on winning, it is not a betting service because there is no cash out or play for prizes functionality.  Players simply win more opportunities to play and the thrill of more challenges. It is pretty similar to what Zygna’s LivePoker or Playmesh’s iMafia. However with the huge benefit that Scoreloop is not limited to certain games but open for all developers.  So after all, there are no significant additional legal restrictions than the general ones like privacy.

[Arjan] You have now launched the service for iPhone developers. What is your current roadmap for the other development platforms?

[Marc] We are very happy with our progress on Android and Java ME. In addition to that we’re seriously considering add-ons for major game engines. Our great advantage is that a significant part of the complexity has been solved with our elegant server architecture. This way we can focus on providing sophisticated user interfaces while keeping the SDKs comparably lightweight. As a result, we can provide native SDKs very quickly for various platforms and quickly expand even beyond the above mentioned.

The Scoreloop SDK will be made freely available to mobile game developers worldwide through the Scoreloop website. The first version of the SDK is aimed at the iPhoneOS, but other platforms will be announced very soon.

    Leave a Reply






    Arjan Olsder is the Vice President of Pixalon Studios. Opinions expressed on this publication do not have to represent those of Pixalon Studios.


    Contact Us:

    Other (Dutch) Publications:

    Copyright 2004-2010 Digishock Publishing. All Rights Reverved.