• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Made in France 'Criminal Case' conquers Facebook

Dan MacGuill · 10 Dec 2013, 10:44

Published: 10 Dec 2013 10:44 GMT+01:00

While France’s economic stagnation and stubbornly high unemployment wear on, there was rare good news this week, as the French-made “Criminal Case” won Facebook Game of the Year.

The game, in which players take on the role of a detective solving a new case each week, is the creation of Paris-based Pretty Simple Games, founded in 2010 by Corentin Raux and Bastien Cazenave.

'The biggest growth in the history of the internet in France'

Its combination of tension and suspense has made it an addictive Facebook phenomenon, garnering a staggering 100m players in the last 12 months, a success crowned on Monday with the awarding of Facebook Game of the Year.

In the fiercely competitive market of social network-based gaming, Criminal Case held off the challenge of rivals like Candy Crush Saga to clinch the top spot, claiming a 40-percent share of Facebook game players in the process.

Speaking at the announcement, Facebook France chief Julien Codorniou called it “the biggest growth in the history of the internet in France.”

“We’re not necessarily the biggest game out there,” Serge Versille from Pretty Simple told The Local on Tuesday. “Candy Crush, for example, has about 500 million users between its desktop and mobile  versions.”

“But what I can say, especially now that we’ve got the recognition of this award, is that our game is pretty damn good – actually, it’s the best in the world,” he added, speaking from the company’s office in the 20th arrondissement of the French capital.

It’s that emphasis on quality over quantity which seems to have won out this year. As Paris-based start-up blog Rude Baguette points out, Criminal Case has significantly fewer ratings than main rival Candy Crush Saga (742,000 and 1.17 million, respectively).

However, crucially, the average score given by Facebook players was 4.4 out of 5, as opposed to 4.3 for Candy Crush Saga.

What makes this French success story even more heartening, is the humble origins of the company behind it. Founded after a casual conversation between friends Cazenave and Raux, Pretty Simple inspired the risk-taking spirit of French investment firm Idinvest Partners.

According to Versille, they put up an initial €300,000 ($412,000) in seed capital, and after some initial but modest success, ploughed a further €2.5 million ($3.4 million) into making what would become Criminal Case.

“Having someone willing to take risks with their money was very important, yes,” Versille said on Tuesday.

“But it wasn’t just a blind risk – there were steps and safeguards involved in it.”

Story continues below…

A two-in-a-row for French start-ups

Pretty Simple’s next steps are already well mapped out. With a €10-million ($13.7 million) budget, according to L’Express, the Paris firm intend to release the iOS version of Criminal Case “in the next few months” and the Android version later on in 2014, Versille told The Local.

The fast-growing company is also hiring developers, game artists and “mission designers” (writers, to the layperson). “In total, we hope to hire 100 new people in the next two years,” said Versille.

The success of Criminal Case isn’t the first major coup for French start-ups in recent times. As Rude Baguette points out, Facebook’s Game of the Year award also went to a French title – Songpop – in 2012.

And with the opening of enormous start-up hub Numa in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris in November, hopes will be high that France’s booming tech and online sector can drag the rest of the economy out of stagnation.

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
14,000 pregnant women in France took 'birth defect drug'
Dépakine has been linked to an increased risk of various congenital defects. File photo: AFP

Health authorities have been criticized for their slow reaction to warnings that Dépakine can be dangerous during pregnancy.

How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Photo: AFP

Almost all of France is on a heatwave alert. Here's how to keep cool.

Heatwave warnings extended yet again as France bakes
Photo: AFP

The national weather agency has issued orange alerts to a further 23 départements.

Paris warned about high level of ozone pollution
Photo: AFP

Free parking on Thursday to fight the high pollution levels.

French Muslim body to talk burqini ban with government
Photo: AFP

The French Council of Muslims has called an urgent meeting with the interior minister citing a "fear of stigmatization of Muslims in France".

Where to go in France to find the best ice cream
Be quick - it's a scorcher of a summer in France this year. Photo: AFP

The tastiest way to get through the heatwave.

French schools to ramp up security with 'mock attacks'
Photo: AFP

French schools will soon be forced to stage simulated attacks in a bid to prepare children for potential terror attacks, among other measures.

French police 'force woman to remove burqini' on beach
A file photo of a woman in a burqini. Photo: AFP

Pictures have emerged showing armed police officers in southern France apparently forcing a woman to remove her burqini.

Déja vu? Familiar faces in France's presidential race
President Hollande, who hasn't yet announced if he will run, and Nicolas Sarkozy, who is eyeing up the top job next year. Photo: AFP

France is yearning for political renewal, but looks set to be stuck with familiar faces in the presidential race.

Frenchman 'kills Brit in stabbing rampage' in Australia
Photo: AFP

A Frenchman allegedly killed a British woman and stabbed three others in an Australian backpacker's hostel.

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Society
Here's how to enjoy Paris (while avoiding the heat)
Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
National
French vineyards revive horse-drawn ploughs
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
French mayor bans Pokemon Go app from his village
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
'To boycott France is to surrender to terrorists'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
21 photos to make you want to come to France right now
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
This is how much the French are obsessed with cheese
National
French MP's call for Facebook ID cards blasted 'as idiotic'
Travel
Summer checklist: Fourteen great travel ideas for France
Travel
Here's why France is still world's top tourist destination
'Wealthy American tourists' snub France over terror fears
National
Where to go swimming in France (and where to avoid)
Society
23 subtle signs you'll never quite master French
2,741
jobs available