France has had a long an illustrious history in the games sector. With global giants like Ubisoft and Gameloft, and newer stars like Pretty Simple Games and Royal Cactus, the French games sector continues to be one top ecosystems in producing hit games. The latest sucess story emerging over the last few years is Montepellier-based SCIMOB, who strive to corner the market on online trivia games.
SCIMOB started their games business in 2012 with the launch of 94 seconds, which gives the gamer 94 seconds to find as many words as possible. It quickly became number one among downloadable games on iPhone in 2013, reached 15 million downloads (across iPhone and Android) and hit number one in the trivia games category in 91 countries. Following the success of their first game, they decided to launch a series of games along the ’94’ theme, with 94° launching in 2014 and 94% in 2015. 94% has been their biggest hit to date, having achieved 10 million downloads in 60 days and 18 million total as of end-March. The number of times SCIMOB trivia games have been played overall exceeds the 1 billion mark and shows no signs of stopping. Initially 94 million downloads for the 94 series was an audacious target that the SCIMOB team set for themselves, but according to founder Gaël Bonnafous, what started out as a “mad challenge” has now become their “target turnover in 3 years.”
SCIMOB is bootstrapped, which makes their level of success even more impressive. Now that their revenues are starting to pick up in a big way from approximately 1.5 million per year to a rate of over 1 million per month, fueled by in-app purchases, they can now invest more heavily in making their goal of “conquering the international mobile trivia game market” a reality. According to Bonnafous this means finally being able to dedicate more resources towards marketing, localizing their games (i.e. 94 will be available in 14 languages this summer), and building partnerships in new markets.
Of course the challenge though, which has been apparent with games companies like Zynga and King.com, is continuing to produce hits that both engage gamers and are monetizable at the same time. Having already produced a series which increase in success with each release, the SCIMOB team are already off to a great start in beating the multiple-hit rate odds.