We wrote earlier that the Finnish Internet Agency Valve was up to something in the social gaming arena. Now we have found out that they are setting up a new firm that produces end-to-end social gaming solutions for large brands. The new company is called Tweehouse (Pronounced as a little kid would pronounce 'tree house'). The games, described as more game like with a storyline than for example Habbo, are aimed at the younger end of the gaming market.
Tweehouse will be set up in partnership with Snap TV, a Santa Monica-based game company that "produces and develops interactive games for media-savvy kids". Valve will own 50 percent of the venture while Snap TV owns the other half. There are no third party investors involved at this point.
Tweehouse will target purely US market in the beginning. For this Snap TV is an ideal partner to handle the Sales and PR and leave the game development and pipeline management to the Helsinki office. Snap TV prides itself for having a dedicated sales force that calls on all classes of retail and ships products to over 20,000 storefronts across the United States and Canada, thus enabling quick access to market when the product is ready. This is where many other services coming from Europe have fallen short when trying to enter the US market with only a PR agency or a two man office talking to the market.
Tweehouse was born when Valve and Snap TV realized they could actually build a product out of what was initially only a single project. This is a great way for any digital agency to test the market and see what works. I hope we will see more of this type of 'spin-offs' coming from the Nordic and Baltic countries.
The business model will build on the end-to-end solution. The service covers everything from design, development and marketing all the way to running the platform and moderation of the games themselves. In essence Tweehouse is aiming to build and sell solid gaming platforms to their customers. In addition to a fixed price element, the company also aims to always build an upside to the products they sell. This could mean for example a revenue share model that will be a percentage of each game sold.
Tweehouse has so far only one full time employee, but their first project will soon see around 10 people working on it coming partly through Valve and partly as new hires. Paavo Perttula is currently running the company as its Chairman of the Board. Tweehouse should have their first game out after a year, but they are looking into getting another client project in as soon as late spring 2009.