6Waves and Lolapps are combing forces in a merger aimed to take down the Zynga empire.The leader in social gaming is undoubtedly Zynga, but the chase is on to catch the king of the market. As such, game developers and publishers
6Waves is a Hong Kong-based game publisher while Lolapps are game developers, so the partnership makes a lot of sense for the two parties. The newly formed company - 6Waves Lolapps - will take on Zynga directly with internally developed social games but also Electronic Arts that publishes third-party games. It is a significant move in the social gaming ecosystem, but how will it affect users and developers?
About 35 million monthly average users (MAUs) are brought to the table between the two companies, making 6Waves Lolapps a strong competitor for second place in the social gaming ecosytem behind Zynga. According to the S-1 Zynga filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for its initial public offering, the company has 232 million MAUs with 146 million unique visitors to its games, almost entirely on Facebook.
The good news for game developers is that there will soon be another major social game publisher actively looking to make a dent in the market. The wider the ecosystem becomes, the more problems Zynga will have staying ahead with their internally developed games, unless they too start publishing third-party games.
Lolapps biggest hit on Facebook is Ravenwood Fair, which has more than 5.4 million users. The company acquired Flash-game producer Fliso Engine in early July from Sean Cooper Games to boost its game-development platform.
This all leads to good things for the game-playing public. The more developers that have significant incentive to develop top games and an avenue to publish, the better the games will become. In correlation, as the social gaming ecosystem evolves, Facebook will see the benefits. Facebook is the gatekeeper to social gaming success. Both Apple and Google will eventually have something to say about that (through iOS and Android) but for now the social giant is the de facto platform for social games. Google Plus may eventually open up to games and third-party applications (which is one reason that Facebook has grown so big) and provide another outlet but there is no guarantee that Google Plus will be a long-term viable social network or open to developers.