It seems like everyone is working on mobile match-3 puzzle games “inspired” by Candy Crush Saga these days, from Yodo1/BonusXP’s CaveMania to Wooga’s Jelly Splash. And there’s good reason. According to Think Gaming Candy Crush Saga is crushing it, estimated to be generating $630,000 a day.
But after meeting with Monica Warshavsky and Dana Cohen from TabTale at Casual Connect, I can’t help but think that kids apps may be the way to go. TabTale may not be as well know as King, but if you have a young child, you’re probably very familiar with their games. You just may not realize it.
TabTale was founded three years ago by three fathers – Sagi Schliesser, Oran Kushnir, and Nir Bejerano – who thought they could create better apps and interactive content for kids than was available at the time on mobile phones.
Starting with ebooks, the company expanded to educational and gaming apps, as well as interactive sing-a-long streaming videos.
The numbers are impressive. In the past two years, TabTale has released over 200 apps that have generated 150+ million downloads across iOS, Android, and Windows 8 platforms. Their games are localized in nine different languages. One of their top countries is Saudi Arabia, which is ironic, since TabTale is an Israel-based company. Some of their titles that you might know include Mommy’s Helper, Design It!, and The Princess and the Pea.
The secret to their success is scale. The company has built their own SDK that enables them to release kids apps very quickly (though admittedly, a kids app is much easier to design than a game like Candy Crush Saga). TabTale can then cross-promote its newest apps for free across its huge user base of free kid apps, pushing any new game they release into the top free apps rankings.
You will not, however, find a TabTale app in the Top 20 grossing app charts. According to Warshavsky and Cohen, this is because TabTale markets their apps to kids and their parents, so they design their marketing and monetization very carefully. There are no virtual coins to buy in TabTale games. The only “item” to buy is the full version of the game, and it’s never higher than $3.99. All games and ads within are COPPA compliant (making them protective of privacy for kids under the age of 13).
TabTale’s ARPU (average revenue per user) is way lower than that of a social casino game, but with 200 games on the market and a new app that lands in the top free charts every month, they make up for it in volume.
What’s in the future for TabTale? More games, of course (the latest are Pet a Pet and Best Friends Forever). But, TabTale also plans to experiment with subscription models, whereby parents can subscribe for a series of game apps, interactive books, and videos.
It’s a smart model. As a father of a 2-year old who wakes up every morning asking “daddy, can I please have my iPad?,” I knew of TabTale because I recognized them as the creator of Doctor X, a game I downloaded just last week. When I got home, I looked at my tablet and realized that over the past month I had downloaded five of their apps without knowing it, and viewed hundreds of their streaming videos (under the Kids Fun Club brand).
TabTale is targeting the next generation of gamers from day one, and quietly building a very robust business.