n just three years from start-up the developer’s first Facebook-based social casino game, DoubleU Casino recorded 16 million users from 220 nations; posted an annual average growth rate of 317 percent; and generated revenues of US$60.6 million in 2014.
The former programming engineer Ga-ram, who now heads a staff of 127 employees, said that the appeal of DoubleU Casino’s interface is its virtual re-creation of the Las Vegas gambling vibe. Once users get into the game through their avatars, they can explore the glamorous entertainment shows and other lavish resort facilities that most people associate with the US gambling capital.
“We all have that image of Vegas, you know. I think trying to give users the best possible virtual surrounding of the symbolic centre of gambling is what made us different and what’s paid off at the end, because users don’t just come for the game. They want engagement. Playing the game of your choice — either slots, poker, blackjack, baccarat and roulette — is one way to enjoy. Swaggering about in the virtual Vegas as if you were George Clooney or Julia Roberts from Ocean’s Eleven is another,” he said.
DoubleU Casino incentivizes users with gift ofers of free chips or loyalty points on holidays and high days to further engage with its members, boosting their loyalty.
Ga-ram is now planning an IPO on the KOSDAQ exchange, and the company’s stock has already soared on the OTC market.
DoubleU Games wants to raise around 250 billion won from the IPO, which is scheduled for November this year. If successful that will make DoubleU Games the beneficiary of the largest amount of initial funds ever raised for a KOSDAQ-listed firm.
The proceeds are already ear-marked for extended marketing, which Ga-ran says is essential to ensure the company’s continued and long-term growth. He says that the global market has an estimated 50 million users and he wants more of them than the 16 million users he has been able to attract so far.
“To compete with bigger rivals and woo the remaining 34 million, we need sufficient funds,” he told Yonhap.
DoubleU Games remains focused on the global market, and Ga-ran dismissed speculation that he is contemplating the launch of a domestic South Korean spin-off, explaining that appealing to Korean users would require a different approach in content and tone.
Instead, DoubleU Games is targeting expansion in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Russia, building on the North America-centered strategy which produces nearly half of its profits.
Acknowledging the international popularity of the mobile delivery channel, Ga-ran said he has high hopes for the growth potential in social casino gaming using mobile devices.
“I’d like to consider our company a national team who’s been given an opportunity to vie with top players from the U.S. and Israel. I think you should row your boat when the tide is rising, and we’d like to be an example of that courage,” Ga-ran said.