Will this Ignite the French Start-up Renaissance?
Pretty Simple Games from Paris is arguably the most successful start-up gaming company today. Its Criminal Case, according to a report by Inside Social Games, is now the world’s second largest Facebook game, trailing one place behind King’s Candy Crush. The game is now a notch higher than Zynga’s Texas Hold’em Poker, a game that used to own the number one spot for a couple of years. According to the report, Criminal Case currently has nine million daily active users (DAUs) and 17 million Facebook likes.
The Paris-based studio is just one of the few companies pushing for a French Start-up Renaissance, a term coined by The Financial Times. In France, video game development is part of the cultural industry. It is as important as the films, music, theatre and art. However, in the video game creation department, the amount of support isn’t the same between big time studios and start-up companies. Established names like Ubisoft, Gameloft, Atari, and Focus Home Interactive are usually the ones that get the biggest aid from the government. On the other hand, independent companies are left to work things out for themselves by looking for foreign investors who are willing to back their projects. The French government isn’t showing any love for those that need more financial help. Instead, it even makes things worse for indie studios. One of the policies implemented by the French government that make things difficult for start-up games is when it decided to raise capital gains taxes on foreign investors. This move earned the ire of French startups as international businesses dropped their investments in France, leaving low-budgeted studios with little to no financial support.
This is why Pretty Simple Games’ success was an important rallying point for many independent companies. And now that Criminal Case has overtaken the behemoth Zynga, many developers found an inspiration on how to succeed internationally, and eventually ignite the French start-up Renaissance.
Many experts say that Zynga’s impending doom, especially its Texas Hold’em Poker, is because of the rise of real-money gaming sites. They believe that the public lost the interest of playing poker on Facebook and they would rather log in at Partypoker where they can win ‘real’ cash prizes. With sites like these, people not only get to enjoy their favorite game, they also get the chance to earn money for themselves. Truth is, Zynga is no longer the top game publisher because of the rise of a new breed of studios that offer something that is out of the box. Criminal Case is a game that makes people think and bring out the best in them. Criminal Case is making a name for itself in the social media game competition because its fresh outlook and well-developed programs.
Rude Baguette’s Liam Boogar thinks that the French Start-up Renaissance is on its way. He said that “as long as good French companies are being born, international people will want to buy them.” As long as there are companies like Pretty Simple Games that are eager to prove themselves, the French Start-up Renaissance is a real possibility.