Dodreams Oy, a Finnish MMO-gaming company, has received a major investment from some of the top Finnish investors working with early stage companies. Dodreams offers portal and media companies tournament system software and services to combine MMO gaming with mass media. They recently worked with MTV3, the largest commercial television channel in Finland, to launch and host the Maailmannopeinkansa.fi -game (translates to world's fastest people). The amount of the investment was not disclosed, but the investors are Veraventure Oy, Risto Siilasmaa (F-Secure founder), Optiomi Invest Oy and the private investor Klaus Berner. The amount and status of the investors in the Finnish ecosystem puts the investment, with my educated guess, roughly in the area of 500 000 - 1 000 000 €.
The pilot concept that Dodreams did with MTV3 gathered about 75000 registered users in 6 months. However, it was heavily advertised in the television in conjunction with the Formula1 broadcasts. Perttu Rönkkö, the CEO of the company has said that they are in the process of developing and launching new gaming services and preparing for growth into the international markets.
I like the idea of combining the mass media potential together with gaming. One of the biggest shortcomings of gaming is that while many people play games, they are usually the more savy technology wise and thus the majority of the market rarely sees games in the light they should be shown in. Especially MMO games, the market Dodreams is in.
I had seen the advertisement myself here in Finland, but had never given a try. I pointed my browser to the URL shown above and the page was very much branded with the MTV3 look and feel. I easily found the link to registering and did so. Then I was taken to a paga where wait, what - I needed to download a client? Oh well, most MMOs need a client of some sorts so I read the instructions: "1) Download the game and choose Run to install it to your computer". I hovered my mouse to the download link and the file extension was .exe, which of course to the more tech savy people mean that it won't run on anything else than a Microsoft Windows computer. This was not disclosed anywhere before hand and thus I felt let down by having to register and take the effort to do so.
While I understand that not many people out of the whole personal computer population use Apple computers or other non-Windows platforms, it would be a very good approach to show the requirements the software needs to run properly as it is a relatively grpahic intensive game. So I can't really say anything about the game itself or how popular it has been and this raises questions in my mind that since they have 75 000 registered users in 6 months, would be interesting to know how many of those are actually active players.
[Update: CEO Perttu Rönkkö commented to ArcticStartup that Dodreams has reached levels of 4000 concurrent players, and that the firm has already made a "satisfying" amount of money using their three monetization methods: advertising, selling credits to enable players to participate in tournaments, and selling additional track packs.]
Nevertheless, despite the negative experience with Dodreams' product, I do welcome the investment into this company and believe that there are great possibilities in taking this concept overseas as well.