Startup Spotlight: Socialtype

It’s not a mystery that gaming is a huge part of our lives. And I am not talking solitaire or minesweeper, I am talking Social-Gaming.  The reality is that Social Gaming is ubiquitous.  World of Warcraft, Fantasy Football, Call of Duty…few lives are left untouched by these now cultural institutions. The online gaming market is a 15 billion dollar one and shows no signs of slowing up. 
Enter Socialtype, an enterprise level player acquisition platform that blends the very best features from today’s top loyalty programs, including: badges, sharing and in-game rewards. Recently I had the chance to sit down with Steve Altman, Former Game Director of Acclaim Games, and now CEO of Socialtype to hear about his new startup.
RB:  What was the genesis of Socialtype? What were you trying to solve?
SA:I’d like to introduce a form of advertising that doesn’t suck. I have a software called Bamboo that I am offering to select game companies that allows them to recruit new players off FB, and other social networks, without hammering ads at people who don’t care. How? By giving the players that do care, the players who love the game already, the tools to tell their friends who are gamers what they’re playing and how to come play with them. So, we’re basically chucking the 2,000 year old brand to consumer advertising model and replacing it with what we call P2P. That’s Player To Player advertising and it makes you the player responsible for how you recruit your friends.
RB: So you add loyalty dynamics. How do you actually incentive gamers to share?
SA: If I love a game, and the company that makes it tells me they’ll give me a shiny new +12 broadsword if I share a screenshot contest with my friends, or they’ll give me a free Dragon Mount if I get a couple friends to join my guild. Heck yes! I already love the game so I don’t mind telling my other friends who play games. Yea, I know I’ve already told my two besties, they’re already playing, and I love pawning them all day. But I had no idea the guy I met playing volleyball last week, my 235th FB friend, was even a gamer. If he comes to play and joins my league because he flips through my screenshot contest, why shouldn’t I get rewarded? Heck, reward him with a broadsword too, just make it less powerful than mine is all I ask.
RB: Where can I get a broadsword?
SA: You will have to sign up for one of our games and find a way to beat me.
RB: So essentially you are helping games acquire more players. What do you say to critics who argue that rewarding people to share content produces inflationary results that can only go so far?
SA: Those fears are unfounded, You see, most gamers only play what their friends are playing. Especially social games. That’s why they are social games. The old advertising model is dead. You can pay a million dollars for a superbowl ad for your game, but if your friend on the couch says, that game sucks, you just wasted your money. No one is going to invite someone to a game that is not fun. Gaming is also unique because sharing accomplishments is a huge part of the experience. How many guys want to hide the success of their fantasy football team? Bamboo is software I would have bought for 9Dragons or 2Moons or any of the games I directed at Acclaim. Brand to consumer advertising is dead. Player to player opinion is what it’s all about.
RB: Steve thanks for the time today. What should we keep our eyes open for?
SA: We’re excited to be launching the loyalty and rewards program for the game Entropia Universe on Bamboo Software in the coming days. This will hopefully broaden the game’s outreach to new players while giving them access to some fun new content. Maybe we can do a follow up interview and I can share some metrics with your readers about how effective we are with Entropia Universe once we have some hard data.
RB: You got it Steve. Just bring your broadsword.
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