Scopely is a mobile game publisher that partners with studios and producers to create free-to-play mobile games such as The Walking Dead: Road to Survival and Wheel of Fortune. The company’s model is borrowed from the entertainment industry, where creatives focus on creating, and studios provide the infrastructure and resources to execute their vision. The formula is paying off. In 2016, Scopely raised $55 million in funding and launched eight No. 1 games in a row, including Yahtzee with Buddies, which it developed with Hasbro.
Scopely’s savvy goes beyond creating viral-ready games and into marketing them. For The Walking Dead: Road to Survival, a zombie game that Scopely made with The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and his Skybound production company, Scopely didn’t just urge people to download the game on social media and in mobile apps, the typical ways developers draw in users. It combined traditional advertising (TV spots ran on Comedy Central, FX, ESPN, and other networks), with clever, social-media-based marketing. YouTube stars and other influencers, including PewDiePie, made videos support in the game (in some they dressed up like zombies), which resulted in 4 million video views on Facebook and YouTube. As of late 2016, the game had been downloaded 25 million times.