Rather than squish the popular virtual world Habbo Hotel onto the small screen, its parent company Sulake opted to branch out for its first mobile game. The free-to-play Lost Monkey challenges players to keep the simian star healthy and entertained with mini-games now that it’s stranded on an island after entering a broken Habbo Hotel teleport. Players who successfully complete the challenge can keep the exclusive virtual monkey as a pet in Habbo Hotel.
Sulake CEO Paul LaFontaine said Lost Monkey (pictured) was just the first of the mobile games the company has in the works. “Creating a Habbo mobile game continues to grow our product offerings for teens,” he said. “Wherever teens spend time, Habbo will provide entertainment and a place to socialize with friends.”
Even though the monkey requires coconuts, bananas, sports drinks and other essentials, Sulake guarantees it’s possible to finish Lost Monkey without spending any real-world money.
The expansion into mobile is the first major initiative under LaFontaine’s leadership. Previously vice president for Global Distribution at Disney’s Playdom, LaFontaine very recently replaced Timo Soininen, who stepped down to join the board of directors effective September 15. Soininen led Sulake for 10 years, building it from a startup to establishing Habbo as one of the largest social games for teens.
Habbo Hotel has customers in over 150 countries and the service is available in 11 language versions. To date, 230 million characters have been created and over 10 million unique browsers worldwide visit Habbo Hotel each month, spending a total of 45 million hours in the service.
This gave Sulake a source for research on which to base Lost Monkey and the rest of its mobile business. In a survey of Habbo Hotel users, the company found 89 percent have a mobile phone and 51 percent have a portable media player. When asked what they look for in an app, 75 percent of teens surveyed wanted something which was fun to play, 47 percent wanted the app to have simple controls, and 44 percent preferred something that was easy to learn, so those were key elements in the Lost Monkey development process.
Sulake blog post – http://tinyurl.com/3hswwmy
Habbo Hotel – http://www.habbo.com
Lost Monkey (iTunes link) – http://tinyurl.com/3z3cemv