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Big Fish Games ends real-money gaming partnership with Betable

13th February 2014 2:23 pm GMT

Seattle-based social gaming studio Big Fish Games has ended its partnership with UK-licensed platform provider Betable.

Big Fish, the highest-profile company to launch an app on the Betable platform, has now removed its Big Fish Casino UK real-money app from Apple’s UK App Store after the contract between the companies expired.

The companies first announced their partnership in August 2012, with the game launching in October of the same year.

The company’s free-to-play casino title, a key driver of growth with revenue up 250 per cent year-on-year in 2013, will continue to be available through Facebook, Android and iOS. The free-to-play offering was credited as a key factor in full year revenues increasing to $266m. 

Gaming Intelligence understands that stiff competition in the UK market has meant that the real-money product was unable to emulate the growth of Big Fish's social casino game. However, Betable chief executive Chris Griffin noted that the partnership had been successful for both companies, and revealed that the pair could collaborate on future iGaming projects. 

"Big Fish’s experiment with real-money in the UK version of their Big Fish Casino product was a positive one for Big Fish and Betable," Griffin explained. "We look forward to working with them on future projects as they hone their real-money gaming strategy."

The operator's general manager and vice president of games confirmed that Betable would be its partner of choice should the company re-enter the iGaming space, adding that the collaboration "was a useful experience."

She said that with over 50 per cent of real-money users also playing the social casino game, the decision was taken to focus on the free-to-play offering.

Betable also lost Slingo as a client last year, after the operator was acquired by RealNetworks in August last year, and the contact was not transferred to the new owner. Another partner, Mandala Games, closed down without launching a game, though this was not related to the partnership. 

Griffin stressed that his company's mission "remains unchanged," adding that the business continued to attract a high level of interest. He explained that being so far along and with excellent resources, he was confident Betable would remain an attractive partner to small developers looking to enter the real-money gaming sector.

"Although we are in private beta, demand for our solution has reached an all time high," he said. "We have several of the world's largest game developers as partners, and thousands of signed developers awaiting access to our platform."

Betable has a number of other clients including Digital Chocolate, SGN, Murka, Bee Cave Games and Coober Games.

Digital Chocolate, with SLOTS! Pocket UK, and Coober Games, with 8coin, have launched real-money games through the platform, while Frima Studios has established 3OAK, a subsidiary focused on developing real-money games with Betable. 

Despite slow progress, Betable closed an $18.5m Series A funding round in November last year, with the money to be used to fund expansion into new markets. It also partnered Worldpay to enhance its payment processing services, and has also passed a preliminary investigation in New Jersey.

Big Fish Casino launched as Card Ace: Casino and was developed by Self Aware Studios, a social developer acquired by the company in 2012. It offers a range of products including slots, blackjack, Texas Hold’em poker, roulette and video poker, with special features such as high-speed, head-to-head tournaments.

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