Facebook announced yesterday that Criminal Case, the Facebook game developed by Pretty Simple Games, has been crowned Game of the Year by Facebook, an award which takes into account not only downloads on the social network, but the overall rating in the Facebook App Center. The announcement, which was made by Facebook’s French GM Laurent Solly & Facebook’s head of platform for EMEA Julien Codorniou at their Paris office, was attended by many affluent members of Facebook’s Paris ecosystem, including Dailymotion and Deezer. The event also saw Freshplanet (SongPop, MoviePop) CEO Mathieu Nouzareth in attendance; Nouzareth’s SongPop was the Game of the Year in 2012.
Curious about how Facebook chooses its winners, I noticed that, while Candy Crush has 1.17M ratings vs. Criminal Case’s 742K ratings, the average rating was 4.3 vs. 4.4 out of 5 stars – as one team member from Pretty Simple put it, “it turns out what users think of a game is more important than how many people play it.”
Seen above (photo courtesy of Heisenberg Media) with Facebook’s Laurent Solly (right), cofounders Corentin Raux (left) & Bastien Cazenave (center) told the tale of two friends who wanted to build a game that existed uniquely on Facebook, about how Idinvest partner Guillaume Latour (who ripped into me last night about my ‘France has no balls‘ story) invested in Pretty Simple when they had only a Powerpoint presentation, and about how Criminal Case, a detective game which has new ‘cases’ arise each week, had grown little by little to become one of the top grossing games on Facebook.
With large players like Ubisoft & Gameloft, France has always been among the leading countries in the games industry; however, in the past few years, France has had particular success with casual mobile and social games – Gameloft, for example, is among the top grossing iOS publishers. With Criminal Case well surpassing every Zynga title to date, the team announced that they plan to grow from 50 to 150 in the coming few years – “If any of you aren’t looking for developers, feel free to send them our way” toted Raux during his speech – and the team will likely look to capitalize on their rapid success with new titles & editions, looking to find a space between the Rovio’s and the King.com’s of the world, without ending up in a Zynga situation.