TikTok relies on video games to keep users hooked
Hello and welcome to Protocol Entertainment, your business guide to the gaming and media industries. This Friday, we discuss TikTok’s gaming push and how the social video app could deliver games to its nearly 1.5 billion users, as well as what to read, watch and play this weekend.
TikTok wants to use mobile gaming to grow
TikTok is the latest tech company to lean into the gaming industry, following Netflix’s major push into gaming and after years of growing investment in the market from Big Tech players like Amazon, Google and Meta. A Reuters report said yesterday that the company is currently testing games in Vietnam, with a planned rollout in Asia as early as this fall.
It’s not a surprising move: as more tech platforms look to a future beyond mobile and where future growth might come from, games are emerging as lucrative hubs of online interaction. . But for TikTok, the game presents a unique opportunity. The social video app is on track to surpass 1.5 billion monthly users this year, making it one of the most popular platforms on the planet. A successful game, in this context, could make serious waves in the industry.
TikTok has been into games for years. Since 2019, parent company ByteDance has been distributing minigames and other gaming content through TikTok’s version for the Chinese market, called Douyin. Now he wants to do the same on Tiktok, giving him a much bigger potential audience.
- TikTok has already dipped its toes into the game with a partnership with Zynga last year for a dancing game called Disco Loco 3D. The app exists on the web, accessible through an in-app browser window and powered by HTML5, similar to mini-games on Facebook’s Instant Games platform. Prior to that, he worked with the nonprofit Feeding America to release a minigame, Garden of Good, last June.
- TikTok opted out of monetizing the Zynga title with in-app purchases. Instead, both sides treated it as an experiment, pointing to TikTok’s interest in gaming and Zynga’s history of trying out new platforms.
- “We see a tremendous opportunity to reach new audiences around the world through TikTok’s massive and unprecedented user base,” Zynga publishing president Bernard Kim said at the time.
The game could be valuable for TikTok, in more ways than one. The TikTok app is already one of the most engaging social platforms ever created, with a unique algorithm that delivers an endless stream of personalized videos to a user’s feed based on their preferences and behavior on the platform. .
- The game could give TikTok another input stream for its algorithm, providing data on what users like and which game design elements turn out to be the stickiest.
- Games are also great ways to keep users engaged. TikTok already offers informal challenges and other competitive elements fed organically by its user base. Like on YouTube and Twitch, gaming is a major pillar of the online video ecosystem, and TikTok is no exception. Capitalizing on this audience by offering them games is a smart strategy.
- Mobile gaming is already the most lucrative segment of the global gaming business. It’s on track to surpass $100 billion in revenue, market research firm Newzoo estimated last month, making it nearly twice the size of the console games market.
- TikTok could use gaming as a source of revenue, filling titles with ads and, if it continues to distribute games through the web, turning to microtransactions as well. (By relying on web games, TikTok could avoid paying Apple 30% of in-app purchase revenue, though Facebook ran into trouble with that approach last year.)
TikTok has major advantages over Netflix and the like. Netflix has treated games primarily as a benefit to subscribers – games do not live in the Netflix app, but rather as links to app stores that prompt users to download them. TikTok, on the other hand, can try bigger projects thanks to its large, engaged user base and creative tools.
- An Israeli analytics firm called Watchful says it has found evidence that TikTok is experimenting with mini-games embedded in live videos, TechCrunch reported.
- Watchful says creators could broadcast a game live to viewers and also embed audiences, similar to the technology on Facebook Live and Twitch. He discovered a Pictionary-style game called Draw & Guess, though TikTok declined to comment on live video experiences.
- They may not all be minigames. Last year, ByeDance acquired Moonton, a Chinese mobile game developer known for creating Mobile Legends, a mobile online battle arena game inspired by League of Legends. ByteDance has its own gaming arm, Nuverse, which was founded in 2019 to lead acquisitions and development of original games.
- “ByteDance takes a holistic approach to its video game business from day one,” analyst firm Niko Partners wrote at the time. “The biggest challenge for ByteDance will be creating a self-developed hit that they can leverage for the long haul.”
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TGIF: How to spend your weekend
Arena Clash – Horizon Worlds. Meta’s social VR world, Horizon, may still be a work in progress, but it’s already got a hit: Arena Clash is a team-based shooter that’s equally fun for beginners and advanced players alike. With five minutes per game, that’s just enough time to get you sucked in, but not too long to get frustrated when you’re outplayed or outnumbered. Plus, allowing people to revive teammates makes it more of a group challenge and a great way to have fun with others in VR.
“Nature” – Amazon Prime. File on guilty pleasures: “The Wilds” is a survival show about teenagers stranded on a remote island after a plane crash. However, the teens quickly discover that all is not as it seems. It’s like “Truman Show” meets “Cast Away,” and while the show doesn’t win an Emmy, it’s still very entertaining. Season 2 premiered on Amazon Prime earlier this month.
TED talk by Adam Mosseri —Instagram. We’ve heard it before: Web3 will revolutionize the internet, empower creators, and make today’s gatekeepers obsolete. Usually, this idea comes from people invested in the success of Web3 startups. But when the person behind some of these very guardian platforms comes up with that same idea, it’s worth listening to — if only to find out what role Instagram could play in a future where creators are so dependent on it. less than a handful of platforms.
Tony Fadell cleans out his garage — TechCrunch. Tony Fadell recently published a book about his seminal work on consumer electronics like the iPod, iPhone, and Nest Thermostat. After he finished writing, he apparently had free time to clean up his garage, digging up a bunch of interesting device prototypes in the process. Fadell shared photos of these devices and their history with TechCrunch, which was able to compile them into this fun walk down memory lane. You can read more about the book itself on Fadell’s website, and The Verge had a great interview with him as well.
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