Criminal Case : French startup Pretty Simple creates global gaming hit

In just 3 months, French startup Pretty Simple managed to climb to the top 10 global Facebook game developers, and its flagship social game of investigation, Criminal Case, now entertains more than 3 million players every day.

Criminal Case is an original social game of investigation that has taken Facebook by storm over the last 3 months. Each player embodies a rising star in the Grimsborough Forensics Police Department, and is tasked with solving dramatic homicide cases. Within this dark and immersive storyline, players search for clues in hidden object scenes, analyze their finds, and advance their investigations, until they can unmask the killers.

3 million people connect daily to play, and the community keeps growing fast. First published in English, Criminal Case is now available in Spanish, German, and French, and Pretty Simple is preparing to release three new languages in April!

To support this high growth, Pretty Simple, backed by VC Idinvest, a major fund with a strong gaming portfolio, is expanding its current team of awesome professionals, with another 20 talents. In the meantime, features and content are added on a weekly basis in order to improve the playing experience, and engineers are hard at work ensuring the game performs well for all players. Managing growth, while nurturing the team and culture that allowed the success this far, is at the forefront of the concerns of co-founders Bastien Cazenave and Corentin Raux.

Rewinding a bit, the choice of focusing on the development of Criminal Case came from the simple fact that the Pretty Simple team and founders love Hidden Object (HO) games, and strived to create a full-on investigative game with the best from the HO genre. This translates to recurring characters, plots within plots, as well as overarching storylines and gameplay improvements. This also means painstaking work on the smallest details, as story, gameplay, art, and technology are tightly integrated in order to deliver an outstanding playing experience.

Creating a game that stays fun in the long run is a cornerstone of Pretty Simple’s strategy for Criminal Case. When virality is often the front concern for social games, Pretty Simple chooses to achieve first a high retention, and then to earn organic growth from its loyal players. With 97% of organic growth, and with 3 millions Daily Active Users (DAUs) after 3 months, coming in large part from North-America and European countries, this strategy is bearing fruit. For co-founder Bastien Cazenave: “The success of Pretty Simple with Criminal Case shows that Facebook remains the best performing online platform in order to reach such an audience in such a short time”.

Forecasted 2013 revenue for Criminal Case are in the 8 figures range. Thanks to its players, its team, and the support of investor Idinvest, underdog Pretty Simple has come a long way, and has an exciting road ahead.

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