Why RockYou became a rewards-based games company [Interview]

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Bingo by Ryzing
"There's three ways that could get [California] out of bankruptcy. Tax weed, allow online gambling and tax it, and you know, do immigration reforms so that you tax illegals but let them stay here," RockYou CEO Lisa Marino candidly tells us. Of course, there are more serious reasons why RockYou acquired Ryzing, the Philadelphia-based developer behind Bingo by Ryzing.

A while before this move, RockYou repositioned itself as a publisher no longer interested in developing games in-house. (And actually agreed to publish Ryzing's game.) In short, the company decided to focus on its strengths, but it also wised up to where the industry was going. In the next two years, real-money gaming stands to be the next big thing on Facebook (with several caveats, of course).

RyzingTo RockYou, Ryzing is already ahead of the pack in gearing up for the online casino renaissance. Bingo by Ryzing allows players to earn prizes through sweepstakes, a crafty little loophole through the strict U.S. regulations on online gambling. CEO Manu Gambhir is a 15-year veteran of the online gambling world in the UK, Marino tells us.

While RockYou now owns Bingo by Ryzing, what the company is most interested in is Ryzing's experience and its rewards-based gaming approach. And RockYou looks to apply Ryzing's rewards-based gaming platform to plenty more games and game types.

"When RockYou thinks about content in general, we don't care whether we make it ourselves or we partner with third parties. We just want to be with really strong content," Marino admits. "And so in the Ryzing model, they're obviously working on a second game right now that was part of the acquisition as well."

"But we also see these mechanics being applicable to lots of other games. I think there's interest in the dynamics between like a crosswords type game. You know, KartWorld is a racing game where the sweepstakes type model could be very, very interesting," Marino teases. "It's just the variety of executions that these mechanics apply. But Ryzing tech is working on more titles for us as well even though we'll be taking the platform out to third party partners we already work with."

Ultimately, to Marino Ryzing and RockYou are simply a fine match. "At that point it's a platform play which is the long bet for us, right? Because it's super, super complimentary," Marino says. "Rewards based game is incredibly complimentary to what we do."

Are you into rewards-based or sweepstakes gaming on Facebook? Do you think this will be a big deal in two years? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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