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Monumental, BSkyB vets form new social gaming studio

Simple Lifeforms established to create a blend of online games and social networking sites

Former Monumental Games and BSkyB employees have established a new social game studio, Simple Lifeforms, in Nottingham, UK.

The company, co-founded by Monumental's Alan O'Dea and BSkyB's Tadhg Kelly, will focus on blending the functions of online games with social networking sites. In addition, Simple Lifeforms will look at how social networking sites can serve as a new distribution platform.

"We formed Simple Lifeforms to use our videogame development and publishing experience within social networks," explained Kelly. "Social networks are a key platform for delivering new kinds of games through a new distribution model."

"During our careers to date we have been involved in making many types of single and multiplayer game across all platforms but the games we have always wanted to make are more social in nature. We are interested in the dynamics of groups, in how communities can form through the common interest of a play experience, and how this play can translate into a whole virtual life online."

"There is a lot of talk about social experience driving a new gameplay revolution on the internet. To our minds however Play has always been a social experience."

The company has already secured an initial round of investment from EM Media, to develop its first social game Spell Souls for Facebook, set to launch later this year.

"460 million people everyday use the top six social networks and 12 per cent of these are already playing games," added O'Dea.

"With recent reports stating that over USD 1.7 billion dollars has been invested in online games and support industries in 2007 alone, this market sector does and will continue to provide real value to investors who understand the nature of online games and are looking for substantial and sustainable financial returns for their investments."

O'Dea concluded: "Social gaming is going to be a significant and sustainable market sector in its own right and one that combines the commercial opportunities of online games (billing, business models and monetisation methods) with the growth opportunities and communication features of social networks (two-way communication, social and community)."