December 17, 2008, 12:00 AM

Big Fish casts a wider net for more international gamers

In recent months, Big Fish has launched new international web sites for game enthusiasts in Japan and Spain. As a result more than 50% of the company’s user base now is international.

Since receiving a big infusion of venture capital money in September, Big Fish Games Inc. has been casting a wider net for more international gamers.

In recent months, Big Fish, No. 198 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, has launched new international web sites for game enthusiasts in Spain and Japan.

As a result more than 50% of the company’s user base now is international, says CEO Jeremy Lewis. Each international site features content written in the local language and gamers can access hundreds of downloadable games, an online community and forums, and new daily releases. “So far France has been our fastest growing market,” Lewis says.

In 2009, Big Fish, which opened a new 58,000-square-foot headquarters in Vancouver, British Colombia, also plans to launch more game sites in Asia and throughout Europe, though details still are being worked out, Lewis says.

Through its various web sites, Big Fish also is distributing more than 1 million games daily to its subscriber base and develops about 720 new games and releases every year. To generate interest, users can access a game and play it for free for one hour, but then must discontinue or purchase the game for about $20. Game club members can purchase a game for as little as $6.99. “We’re growing because we offer a good value proposition,” Lewis says.

In September Big Fish raised $83.3 million in new capital from Balderton Capital, General Catalyst Partners and Salmon River Capital.

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