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Sulake's LaFontaine: Product integration key to cross-platform retention

By Dan Pearson

Fri 20 Jan 2012 9:36am GMT / 4:36am EST / 1:36am PST

Habbo Hotel boss says "We view Facebook as a channel where we acquire users"

Paul LaFontaine, CEO of Sulake, has spoken about his company's focus on product integration as a key factor in moving a customer base between platforms, saying that the strategy is vital to new product launches.

Sulake's major product is the hugely successful Habbo Hotel, which has a user base of 243 million - Sulake claims that one in ten teens will at least try the online community once. This week, Sulake has released its second iOS title, Niko, and LaFontaine hopes to engage a significant portion of Habbo Hotel's audience with that new title.

Although the products are separate and standalone, optional aspects of Niko will be integrated into Habbo Hotel, feeding users to the new product.

"Because we think retention which comes from moving audiences across platforms from product to product is an important strategic capability, you'll see more mobile efforts and social media marketing efforts from us."

Unlike many companies attempting to do the same thing, Sulake has the advantage of an established customer base of its own, meaning a reduced reliance on Facebook and other social networks. Nonetheless, LaFontaine understands the usefulness of Facebook in attracting new users.

"Our strongest numbers are outside of Facebook. We view Facebook as a channel where we acquire users," LaFontaine told VentureBeat. "We do plan on launching standalone Facebook applications which will support that objective."

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