/// Kixeye’s Games on Facebook Are Not Cute or Cuddly, Just Like Its Prickly CEO
Farms don’t have rocket launchers, but games built by Kixeye do. You also won’t find purple cows or other decorations — just blood. Kixeye CEO Will Hardin That’s how Will Harbin, Kixeye’s CEO, described his company’s social games to me last week over the phone. Harbin is passionate about building games for Facebook, but we are not talking about the ones that necessarily appeal to 40-year-old housewives. The company’s titles include Backyard Monsters, War Commander and Battle Pirates, and 97 percent of the company’s audience is male. Because of the small niche it is serving, the games don’t appear in Facebook’s top 40. But they do monetize extremely well. Currently, Kixeye is registering roughly one million users every day, and while most social game companies make roughly 4 cents per user, Kixeye claims it makes closer to 60 cents. The San Francisco company has been profitable for the past two years, and this year it is projecting revenues in excess of $100 million. It’s similar to the story Kabam and other social game makers have started to tell as Facebook becomes a more mature gaming platform. Developers are starting to see that if they target a more hardcore gaming demographic, with more sophisticated kinds of games, the players will be more engrossed and, therefore, spend more time and money in the game. Besides, it is these players who are typically used to spending $60 per videogame for a console system, so getting a few dollars out of them is much easier. But even though this all sounds great, don’t expect Harbin to hype the company’s prospects. Instead of pumping up the company as a prospective IPO candidate or raising millions of dollars in private equity — just because he can — he is fairly pragmatic. In fact, the lack of sensationalism in his voice would be considered almost boring if the conversation weren’t actually such a breath of fresh air in what’s becoming an overheated sector. And, despite having plenty of good things to say, talking to me seemed like a real chore and only something he was mildly tolerating.
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Kixeye’s Games on Facebook Are Not Cute or Cuddly, Just Like Its Prickly CEO