SBJ/July 25-31, 2011/Media

Prediction gaming startup GameSlam adding football, simulated classic games to mix

GameSlam, a sports-themed social gaming startup, is readying a marked expansion around pro and college football this fall after an initial baseball-focused launch this past spring.

GameSlam is expanding beyond live games.
The company operates similarly to Pre Play Sports and other prediction contests that function in part as second-screen companions to live games, with users accumulating points based on their ability to guess the outcome of plays. It bears some resemblance to real-time gambling, but no money bets are involved. The company’s monetization strategy, however, partially involves the sale of virtual goods.

After amassing roughly 60,000 users this spring and summer, GameSlam is developing a new product, “GameSlam 365,” in which users can predict outcomes of simulated games involving classic teams from the past. Mobile versions of the live and simulation games for the Apple iOS and Android platforms are also nearing completion.

The simulation game engine was developed internally by GameSlam. Stats LLC has been providing the company with live game data.

“There’s a lot of growth around the live game product happening and will continue to happen. But as we get to the fall and football season, the question is how do we extend our windows to the other days of the week,” said Kenny Mazursky, GameSlam co-founder and chief marketing officer. “The simulated games will be an important complement as we make a big push around football.”

GameSlam earlier this year aligned with Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen to be its “Slambassador” and perform some viral marketing on behalf of the company. A search continues for a figure to fill a similar role for football.

More broadly, the Chicago-based company is seeking to capitalize on the industry frenzy around social and casual gaming, one exemplified again earlier this month by Electronic Arts’ purchase of PopCap Games for at least $750 million.

“There’s just a ton of energy around the space,” Mazursky said. “The biggest particular area of growth we’ve seen is probably our head-to-head challenges.”

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