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Aussie gaming start-up Scalify to trial with Moshi Monsters

Wednesday, 9 November 2011 | By Michelle Hammond
Australian start-up Scalify will run a commercial trial of its game technology with UK-based online game Moshi Monsters, after winning a $98,000 proof-of-concept government grant.

 

Scalify sells peer-to-peer networking technology under its Badumna brand. Santosh Kulkami, a senior researcher at National ICT Australia, is a principle of the company.

 

Kulkami told iTWire the technology allows developers to produce better games with improved performance, while lowering the operating costs of online games by reducing their processing and storage requirements as the number of users scales up.

 

Reports reveal UK-based social online gaming company Mind Candy, operator and publisher of Moshi Monsters, approached NICTA earlier this year, seeking demonstrations of the technology.

 

“They got in contact with us and said, ‘let’s do a trial’ because they’re very keen to have a real look at this technology,” Kulkami said.

 

Moshi Monsters boasts more than 50 million users worldwide, so the trial – which is expected to run for three to four months – appears to be a major win for Scalify.

 

Last week, Scalify was awarded $98,000 in matched funding from a Federal Government proof-of-concept grant to run the trial. It’s unknown whether Scalify will travel to the UK for the trial.

 

According to Kulkami, the Badumna distributed network can reduce the processing requirements of an online games or virtual environment by up to 80%.

 

While authentication and validation is conducted centrally, the vast majority of processing can then be performed around the network of users.

 

“[The technology] gets around some of the scalability problems of client-service architectures, and this is especially good for flash crowds,” Kulkami said.

 

The news comes on the back of a new report revealing the Asia-Pacific digital games market will more than double over the next five years to be in excess of $30 billion in 2016.

 

According to telecoms analyst firm Ovum, revenues will grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than 18% from $13 billion at the end of 2011.

 

Digital games include those played online, on PCs or game consoles, or on mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets.

 

Ovum analyst Mark Little says the explosive growth of “casual” games, such as Angry Birds, is the primary driver of revenue growth due to their mass-market appeal.

 

“The rise of casual games is continuing apace, driving soaring digital gaming revenues,” he says.

 

“With the addition of more and more casual gamers, the market is no longer the sole preserve of the teen male hardcore gamer.”

 

“Gaming is fast establishing itself with a much wider mainstream audience, with serious ramifications for other rich-media entertainment such as TV, video and music.”

 

“Casual games are often simpler to play and easier to learn, making for a more spontaneous experience, ideal for mobile phones and tablets.”

 

Ovum predicts revenues from the mobile gaming market alone will more than triple over the next five years to hit $8.2 billion in 2016.

 

Another driver of revenue growth is the free-to-play business model, which has exploded onto the video games market, lowering barriers to entry and encouraging consumers to purchase low-priced virtual goods.

 

“Game publishers’ evolving strategy is turning game products into game services, extending product life with virtual content that continually refreshes a title’s ability to engage the gamer,” Little says.

 

“Besides this, publishers are finding that digital distribution is delivering a host of other benefits. These include boosting margins from 20–30% on boxed games, to 50–75% on digital.”

 

“Meanwhile, publishers’ use of online passes – increasingly required for network gaming – are cutting down the threat from the pre-owned game market.”

 

Saclify declined to comment about the trial.