Digital Chocolate’s Trip Hawkins: Offerpal Is Still A Good Partner For Social Game Companies

MMA Pro Fighter screengrab

Mobile and social entertainment company Digital Chocolate has launched its newest game, MMA Pro Fighter, on Facebook — and it’s teaming up with Offerpal Media to monetize it. The game lets players create and train their own mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters; players use virtual goods and abilities (like extra stamina) to gain the upper hand, and that’s where Offerpal’s offer-based ads come in.

Players can earn Pro Points, the game’s currency, by completing the offers. I asked Trip Hawkins, Digital Chocolate’s CEO, if the company had taken any of the negative press surrounding offer-based ads — and Offerpal in particular — into account before partnering with them for the game’s launch. His commentary on the ads, the overall “scam” debate, and some insight into what’s coming down the pike in 2010 follows.

Tameka Kee: Is this Digital Chocolate’s first foray into offer-based ads?

Trip Hawkins: “We’ve used offers in previous Facebook games like Tower Bloxx, but we think MMA Pro Fighter has a superior design for the use of virtual currency and offer networks. [This] is a very new economic model [that] will mature over time.”

Did you have any concerns about working with Offerpal? How will the company make sure that the ads aren’t “scamming” users?

“We intend to operate with integrity and transparency; there are several methods available that can help both us as the client company and the offer networks themselves do a good job. There’s been some healthy debate and humility of late that will help the industry improve and mature — but we have confidence in Offerpal.”

Will the Offerpal platform translate to mobile as well? For example, if I’m playing MMA Pro Fighter on the iPhone, can I still access the offers?

“We do see Offerpal and offer completion networks in general making the transition to mobile devices, and expect to see more of this in 2010. For now, MMA Pro Fighter is only on Facebook on the desktop. The goal is to extend all of our games to many platforms — we’re a mobile and cross-platform company — but I don’t have specifics about when this game will be available on mobile, or which device yet.”

Can you offer any insight into the upcoming Nanostars virtual goods project? Will offer-based ads be part of the monetization?

“NanoStars will debut in January and use several payment methods, including offer networks.”

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