Brock Pierce is CEO of Playsino, a social and mobile games developer dedicated to modernizing casino games like bingo, bridge, solitaire, slot machines and other timeless games that have proved their popularity for many decades.
“Social casino games are the fastest growing segment of the casual game space, and the most lucrative,” Pierce said. “With or without liberalized gambling, which is already happening, those companies that have aggregated large numbers of people to play will be well positioned to take advantage of it.”
It’s a strategy supported by data. Kontagent reports that revenue per user is at least 40 percent higher for social casino games than other social games. And it’s a growing market. The user analytics company found that social casino players account for 13 percent of all of the players on Facebook, up from 8 percent in 2011 and just 6 percent in 2010.
“This genre is more evergreen than other genres,” Pierce said. “Games like Farmville taper off over time, but poker was highly popular before Facebook, and it will continue to be popular.”
As successful as Playsino is, the business proposition will get even more attractive if legislation changes to allow real-money gambling – a development Pierce is certain will occur. “It’s a political hotbutton, but what’s driving the liberalization is the need for new revenue,” he said. “Land-based casino operators have historically been opposed, but now their position is changing too. I think that’s because at first they saw it as cannibalizing their audience, but now they’re realizing it’s complementary.”
Playsino’s current flagship game is Solitaire and Prizes, which Pierce said is the only traditional solitare application that was made specifically for Facebook. Players earn “golden tickets” as they climb up the leaderboards, and those tickets serve as entries in sweepstakes for real-world prizes.
“We’re going to have our own web properties eventually, but Facebook is the largest in terms of numbers, and in terms of reaching new users it’s the easiest way to start,” Pierce said.
Pierce concurrently is managing director of Clearstone Global Gaming Fund, expertise that undoubtedly was useful to Playsino raising $1.5 million in funding from IDM Venture Capital, Pacific Capital Group, Siemer Ventures and angel investors.
Brock Pierce, CEO of Playsino and a managing director of the Clearstone Global Gaming Fund, will be speaking at the NY Games Conference on September 5 (a Digital Media Wire event). He is on a panel discussing “New Opportunities, New Challenges: The Future of Virtual Goods, Rewards and… Legalized Gambling?”
Brock Pierce is an entrepreneur best known for pioneering the market for virtual goods in online games. He has started or acquired more than 30 businesses and secured more than $200 million of funding on behalf of his companies. Pierce is currently a Managing Director of the Clearstone Global Gaming Fund, CEO of Playsino, and sits on the boards of IMI Exchange, Xfire, Spicy Horse Games and Evertune.
Pierce is co-founder of Playsino and assumed the role of CEO in November 2011. Playsino is a developer and publisher of social casino games for social and mobile platforms. Playsino’s investors include IDM Venture Capital, Eric Schmidt’s Tomorrow Ventures, Pacific Capital Group and many of Southern California’s most successful entrepreneurs.
Among his other current ventures, Pierce is the founder of IMI Exchange, which raised over $100 Million from blue chip investors such as Goldman Sachs and Oak Investment Partners. During Pierce’s tenure he established operations in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul and the United States, supporting more than 600 employees. Today, IMI Exchange owns the world’s leading marketplaces for the trading of virtual goods with sales exceeding US$1 billion annually. Pierce was responsible for acquiring Xfire from Viacom. Xfire was previously acquired by Viacom in 2006 for $110 Million. Xfire is a social platform for hardcore gamers with over 21 million registered users. Pierce joined the board of American McGee’s Shanghai based Spicy Horse Games in December 2011. Pierce is co-founder of EverTune, a patented proprietary technology that keeps any stringed instrument in tune for the life of the string set by utilizing a spring based constant tension system.
Among his past ventures, Pierce founded Zam, the largest media property serving hardcore PC gamers. Zam was sold in January, 2012, to Tencent, the largest Internet company in China and four-largest in the world. Pierce co-founded GamesTV, a joint venture with Shanghai Media Group. GamesTV was a TV channel similar to G4, serving the mainland Chinese market. Pierce is also the founder of IGE, the company credited with pioneering the market for virtual goods in online games. IGE generated nearly $100 Million in revenue in 2006 and was sold in early 2007. Prior to entering the game business, Pierce co-founded Digital Entertainment Network (DEN), one of the first and most ambitious web television companies. DEN raised more than $88 million from investors including Microsoft, Intel Capital and NBC. He began his career as a successful Hollywood actor, starring or appearing in twelve major motion pictures, including The Mighty Ducks and First Kid, as well as many commercials.
Since 2010, Pierce has been an oversea advisor to the China Youth League, which governs the education and recreational activities for China’s youth up to the age of 28. His interest is to promote “green and healthy” online games for China’s Youth.
Pierce generally plays the role of strategist and dealmaker in each company after attracting the management teams and capital. He is an active angel investor, a founding mentor of the Founder Institute’s LA Chapter, and a member of SoCal Tech and Media Entertainment Technology Alliance. Pierce is an active supporter of non-profit and advocacy organizations and is a member of Clinton Global Initiative.
Both Wired and Fortune have written lengthy biographical feature stories on Pierce’s career. In addition, he is a paid speaker and has spoken at the Milken Global Conference as well as many video game and entrepreneurial conferences. Pierce also acts as a guest lecturer at Stanford, UCLA and USC.