A Closer Look at Miniclip with CEO Rob Small
Creating your own internet startup after college isnâ€™t something on many peopleâ€™s To Do list, and of those few not many would be prepared to start a casual gaming empire.
â€œI came straight out from University and just went straight into it,â€ Rob Small, CEO of Miniclip.com, told FileFront. And what he started has now become the worldâ€™s largest online gaming site with 34 million unique users per month. Small considers the site to be what he refers to as a â€œtrue internet company,â€ with virtual offices set up and connecting employees worldwide.
â€œFor us, it’s just the way of tapping into some of the most talented people in the world,â€ he said. â€œWe will work with anyone wherever they are in the world.â€
Some of the siteâ€™s success has most recently been reflected in Disney buying Club Penguin, a move that would not have happened if Miniclip had not put the Club on the map.
Small has helped the direction of Miniclip from the beginning making the site completely accessible to users, focusing on giving as much content to gamers as possible for free. The newest move has been toward â€œadvert gaming,â€ where Miniclip will have one of its developers create a game using a 3D model of an advertised product. Weâ€™ll have to see how the upcoming â€œBattle Wheelsâ€ fares, but Small is definitely optimistic.
â€œRC2 asked Miniclip to create a new game that would extend the Battle Wheels world and make it come to life for kids in
As an incentive, RC2â€™s Battle Wheels robots will be rolling out into stores with a special Miniclip code or password to grant users access to the special â€œGolden Armorâ€ in the game. Not a bad symbiotic relationship, really.
From the beginning, Miniclip has had a handle on the web experience in ways that others seemed to miss. â€œThey thought they could just repurpose and repackage a lot of stuff they made for TV,â€ he said. â€œI still think they haven’t quite grasped the concept of the internet. You want to allow free access and users to come and go as they please.â€
The communal notion seems to have worked for Miniclip, and Small said that it was things like allowing users to use the “dancing bush” game on their websites from the beginning that has helped the site to thrive. That and appealing to a very wide range of demographic, like what he says Miniclip is going to have for some of the older gamers.
â€œWe’re doing quite a lot of retro stuff lately, some of the stuff that older gamers played when they were younger,â€ Small said. And of course the elder crowd loving Brain Training has caught on, too, as theyâ€™re going to be rolling out games focused on educational content with similar designs as the DS game.
But largely Small says the site depends on the â€œtweenâ€ demographic, the gamers which range from ages 10-16; and while they may not have any income, they do have their dadâ€™s credit card. â€œAdvertisers are struggling to connect with them,â€ he said. But itâ€™s an important demographic to get, however, and itâ€™s one that he thinks is relatively easy to get. â€œThey’ve been born on the internet. It’s a natural extension for them to be there.â€
This does mean, however, that in order to keep that demographic they do keep it E for Everyone. â€œWe’ve been very focused on keeping the games very clean, very non-violent,â€ he said. â€œWe want parents to feel comfortable with what their kids play.â€
But obviously that draw to the â€˜tween demographic has paid off, and is going to continue to pay off. â€œThey’re going to be playing this all their lives,â€ Small said.