PG often asks himself (or is it itself /herself / themselves)
"Does an aggressive "launch the site in as many new countries and languges as we can" strategy work?"
Apparently, it costs a lot to internationalize virtual worlds. Take Apaja http://www.apaja.com/ of Finland and its virtual world Playray. PG came across this interesting post from Arctic Startup Blog on Apaja having localized PlayRay in a staggering 16 countries http://www.arcticstartup.com/apajas-playray-now-in-16-countries/
"In a press released yesterday, Apaja Online Entertainment announced that they will be launching a localised Belgian website of their Playray service with a partnership with Corelio and MTV Networks. At the moment their Belgian website is directing users to France or Netherlands, depending which language and social circle they enjoy more is asking users which language preference they enjoy (edited due to earlier mishap in the analysis - see comments). According to Kim Lindholm, Business Development Director, the Belgian registrations in the French and Dutch services attracted so many Belgians that they had to build localised version of the service in Belgium. Despite being an area where languages mix with ease and people understand each other easily, there are a lot of differences between people in the BeNeLux countries and thus localising each service makes common sense in the long run. A recent survey conducted in Playray revealed that the social aspects of the service are equally important to the casual games. This strengthens the latest understanding of the industry that social gaming is on the rise. Furthermore a third of new registrants are over 35 which also supports the broadening of the user base, in line with previous studies."
The post concludes with this intriguing analysis;
"It remains to be seen how successful such a rapid expansion strategy is. Apaja’s 2007 financial figures are still unpublished in the public listings, but looking at the 2006 results the company ran a loss almost equal to its annual revenue."
The Finnish public listings link for Playray seems active http://www.inoa.fi/Uusmediapalveluja/Apaja%20Online%20Entertainment%20Oy/HELSINKI/taloustiedot/546769/
Any of our Finnish readers know what these numbers mean for English readers?