Casual game companies, which grew up as operators of portal web sites, are adapting to the new world order of social networking. Big Fish Games is doing that today as it launches Treasure Quest, a casual games portal with eight games on Facebook.
The Treasure Quest portal is a big effort by Big Fish Games to shift into the space dominated by social game companies such as Zynga, Playfish and Playdom. The Treasure Quest portal on Facebook includes hidden object games, brain games, jewel matching games, strategy titles, card games and riddle games. Interestingly, Zynga’s latest hit is Treasure Isle, a game where you search for hidden objects.
Such games are well established on casual portals such as the one operated by Big Fish Games, but they are relatively new on Facebook. With Treasure Quest, Big Fish Games is showing it can attack the likes of Zynga on their home turf of Facebook even as Zynga targets Big Fish Games’ audience on the web. Zynga’s big advantage here is that it has more than 252 million monthly active users on Facebook that it can cross-promote new games to.
Still, just as other casual game companies are crowding into Facebook, Big Fish Games is adapting titles that have proven popular on its casual games portal. The portal itself adds an extra layer on top of Facebook games, letting players acquire virtual currency that can be used across all of the games. Challenges let players earn virtual currency that they can spend in any of the games or use to enhance their Treasure Hunter avatar, or virtual character.
The games include Daily Detective, L.O.B.E., Fairway Solitaire, Unwell Mel, Riddle O’ Day, Plunder, Thunderbolt, and Snowglobe Slots. Will O’Brien, vice president of social games at Big Fish Games, said, Treasure Quest is the intersection of casual and social games. The social element is the meta layer that binds all of the games together in a role-playing game experience where you level up and customize your avatar.
The point of doing a portal instead of just a game on Facebook is to get users coming back for the long term. It’s an interesting strategy that reflects a deeper investment than a simple rebranding of older games as social titles. As such, it resembles the strategy of Digital Chocolate, which is using its NanoStars currency across a bunch of Facebook games.