Finland-based Sulake Corp. Oy, developers of Habbo Hotel, a cartoony online community geared at teens, has just announced it raised a third round of capital, totalling €6 million, to help fuel expansion. The game is currently operating in 18 countries.
Sulake also announced it plans to go mobile, with the development of a mobile version of the Hotel in Japan, no surprise since its most recent round came from Movida Investment International, a JV between Softbank and Asian Groove. Oliver at Mobile Crunch reports Habbo earned €29 million in revenue off 7 million visitors to the 18 sites last year.
GigaOm provides additional thinking on Habbo's rationale for moving to mobile environments:
Sulake can stand to make significant money off porting Habbo to cell phones. The company plans to work with handset manufacturers, to preinstall the mobile community, carriers, toportal traffic, and other entertainment brands to distribute content wirelessly. A Habbo-themed handset could even be in order-Habbo MVNO? It's such a good idea that combined with the success of the Internet site, a company exec said Sulake is planning an IPO at the end of next year.
One reason Habbo Hotel will likely be so successful on the mobile, is because its virtual-only animations and avatars, exclude some of the real-world problems associated with a MySpace-style social network. It's the same thing with Cyworld, Korea's mostly virtual world, which has also been successful on mobile.
I tried Habbo out yesterday, and while it is a bit simplistic compared to, say, Second Life, I can see the appeal to younger users. It is visually appealing, fun, and as Katie at GigaOm says above, a more straightforward port to a mobile screen.