Crowdpark Raises the Stakes With New Games

By David Knight |

Social betting games developer Crowdpark has raised the stakes with the official launch of two new titles – with a soccer-based third now in the works. The startup today unveiled Pet Vegas, a slot machine game, as well as AnteUp, a peer-to-peer betting app for Facebook which Silicon Allee first wrote about last month.

And Crowdpark, which is headquartered in Berlin but has an office in San Francisco, is also working on a football-based betting game which will “incorporate the best of the sport’s social elements, offering live bets and weekly predictions, mixed with trivia questions.”

Pet Vegas combines cute pets with the best casino halls set in Las Vegas, and takes a game genre that users already know and like and gives it a social twist. There are themed slots such as Furry Fortune, Mystical Garden and Cleopetra, and Crowdpark’s casino suite featuring Pet Vegas will launch soon on Facebook.

AnteUp, meanwhile, is part of the company’s efforts to make betting fun and turn it away from the “dirty” reputation is holds for some people. It allows users to bet with their Facebook friends on pretty much anything, with a pre-defined sentence structure: “I bet [Name of FB friend] for [wager] that [description of the bet].”*

The news comes ahead of the Games Developers Conference in San Francisco, which starts on Monday, and Crowdpark will be hoping to hit the jackpot with the new releases in what is a booming space – casino games are a hot growth category on Facebook, with many bringing in decent revenues.

“Developing a casino game is a natural move for Crowdpark as it leverages our expertise in social betting,” said Ingo Hinterding, Crowdpark CPO and co-founder. “The online gaming community requires a more complex reward system than simply maximizing their winnings, so we have found that employing progress levels and status boards keeps them engaged.”

Tim Merel, managing director of games-focused investment bank Digi-Capital, said: “With the acceleration of investment and M&A in social games in 2011, the crossover between social games and what people normally think of as gambling is a fascinating trend. The recent IGT/Double Down Interactive acquisition is an indication of what can happen when the two markets come together.”

The new games follow on from Crowdpark’s first title, Bet Tycoon. The company offers products for multiple social platforms including Facebook, the Web and mobile applications (including iOS and Android). Crowdpark’s dynamic betting technology generates live, real-time experiences allowing players to place a bet – at any time – similar to the stock market.

* Ciarán O’Leary of VC firm Earlybird, one of Crowdpark’s major investors, explained AnteUp to Silicon Allee by betting that his beloved Bayern Munich would get further in this year’s Champions League than Arsenal, a wager that even SA has to admit he will probably win despite Bayern’s first-leg defeat to those giants of the European game, Basel.