Since launching last year, HitFox has carved out a successful niche for itself as an online games deal platform. It boasts 360,000 likes on Facebook and has also set up its own games distribution-focused incubator called HitFox Ventures. That has proved the perfect place to develop a mobile version of the platform, and the GameFinder app has this week launched on iOS in the UK, Canada, Australia and France to add to the versions already available in Germany and the US.
Designed for smartphones, the GameFinder shares the same principle as the original HitFox, wanting to be a ‘Groupon for games’ – finding users deals, letting users know when prices have dropped and also offering content reviews.
Through these features they hope to take the hassle out of finding decent games. Jan Tillmann, head of user acquisition at HitFox, said: “When I’m on a train with friends I always look for games you can play in multiplayer, like car racing on my phone. Yet if the train ride lasts two hours, it would always take me an hour to find a game first. With this, you can just filter immediately: multiplayer – wifi or bluetooth – and then racing.”
HitFox are convinced there is vacant ground here. Co-founder Hanno Fichtner said: “It is a fast growing and new market, that’s highly profitable, and basically there’s no competitors out there that do the same – we are really the first to enter this market.”
What really separates GameFinder, though, is its demand for high standards. Hanno said: “We have several editors testing games all day, and they have selected 700 games from the 100,000 currently on the app store. So the user can be sure they will only discover high quality mobile games.”
The original HitFox site was founded by four experienced entrepreneurs: Jan Beckers (SponsorPay), Tim Koschella (Lecturio), Ruben Haas (BUILD UP) and Hanno Fichtner (squeaker). They have been backed by six VC firms, including Team Europe and Tengelmann Ventures.
Hanno said that because the criteria for entry into the GameFinder database rests on quality, it gives smaller publishers a chance to market their game: “We don’t sell a listing in our app; the game has to be of high quality, money is just a side effect. This is what separates us from the App Store – if you want to on top there you just need a big marketing budget.”
They do have larger publishers on their list like Kabam and Gameloft, who pay for their listings, but this doesn’t affect where games appear on the GameFinder. As Jan said, this gives the smaller players a chance. “Companies with maybe six developers, from Scandanavia, the Balkans, or Asia may have a great game, but then don’t have a huge marketing budget. This for them is a good chance to reach the gaming audience.”
Android and iPad versions are currently under development, and the company is looking to hire even more games testers. Jan added: “It looks like we hit the sweet spot – the market trends predict a huge growth in the mobile gaming market – and the biggest struggle for mobile publishers is to distribute their apps.”