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Reader’s Digest to boost revenues via paid mobile games

May 17, 2010

Readers Digest jumps on the lucrative mobile gaming bandwagon

Reader's Digest jumps on the lucrative mobile gaming bandwagon

Reader’s Digest has launched a suite of pay-per-download digital games focused on promoting healthy brain activity—and boosting revenues for the publisher.

The company is partnering with Fit Brains to bring its popular Word Power to mobile devices and PCs. “The Word Power” launch is a connected experience of paid digital games, including Word Power: Brain Spark, the word scramble game for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch, as well as “Word Power: The Green Revolution,” a paid downloadable game that challenges players to solve word scrambles and vocabulary questions.

“We know that our current audience is interested in digital gaming, and we felt that Word Power, which is a long-standing Reader’s Digest feature, provided the perfect opportunity to provide a unique, new gaming experience that would appeal to this audience as well as to a new audience,” said Lisa Dickens, director of marketing and product development at, Pleasantville, NY.

“The game provides fun, challenging word play as well as unique features like a brain electricity/green energy theme and the Word Power Network, which links all three games and allows users to combine their results from all game platforms, and invite friends to join and play along with them,” she said.

“We expect that this will be the first of several new game offerings from Reader’s Digest.”

Reader’s Digest Association Inc.’s Reader’s Digest reaches nearly 40 million readers each month in the United States and twice as many worldwide. The magazine is published in 50 editions and 21 languages and reaches readers in more than 60 countries.

Fit Brains is an online brain fitness platform that combines a large portfolio of casual brain games, personalized tracking and recommendations, a motivational rewards system and a variety of social features.

Mobile brain food
To get the word out about The Word Power: Brain Spark iPhone game, which is available for $2.99 via Apple’s iTunes store, Reader’s Digest is leveraging the extensive reach of its brand to help promote the games, including print, online and social media.

The target demographic for the Reader’s Digest mobile game skews female.

“Women 35-plus are the biggest players of casual games online, and those consumers include both our existing audience and a new audience for Reader’s Digest,” Ms. Dickens said.

For now, Reader’s Digest does not offer advertising opportunities within the iPhone game, instead relying on paid downloads to drive revenues.
“The Word Power app is a paid app and does not include sponsorship—however, we do offer the opportunity to sponsor our online Games channel, which features a free browser-based version of Word Power as well as a paid downloadable game, Word Power: The Green Revolution, the first game to combine word play with a tycoon-game overlay, as well as a timely green-energy theme,” Ms. Dickens said.

The Word Power: Brain Spark iPhone application features bright, colorful graphics with thousands of word puzzles to solve.

If gamers are stumped on a word, they can use the shake-to-shuffle feature to keep them in the game.

The Word Power: Brain Spark application features three different word-solving game modes:

—  Quick Word – Unscramble five- to seven-letter words, spelling additional substitute words for extra points.

—  Full Game – Unscramble full sentences and solve a variety of vocabulary challenges.

—  Classic – Solve as many classic vocabulary challenges as you can in 60 seconds.

After each round of the game is completed, players earn their “Brain Electricity Ranking,” based on how quickly they correctly answer questions in that round.

Mind games
Depending on how well gamers play, they generate brain activity, which will power up objects ranging from an LED flashlight to a sports arena to a massive space station.

Players are rewarded for exceptional performances by unlocking special Word Power Awards, which commend a game well played.

When connected to the Word Power Network, players are able to share their Word Power Awards with those playing online or from the PC version of the game.

Players can also track their high score and monitor their progress from the network’s leaderboard.

Reader’s Digest decided to tap a vendor to create the iPhone game.

“We partnered with Fit Brains, the leading brain fitness game developer,” Ms. Dickens said. “Their understanding of the gaming space and this type of game in particular was extraordinary and we’re very pleased with our partnership.”

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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