Tapping the potential of instant gaming platforms

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Moving away from legacy distribution models focused on attracting potential players through marketing, video games are starting to push directly to a global audience. In doing so, they make their games available to a large number of users, with just two quick taps, dramatically increasing their potential playerbase and creating additional revenue streams.

This is the rise of the instant gaming model. It’s not new at all – many of us will remember playing browser-based games secretly on high school computers. Helicopter, one of my personal favorites, should be the most cloned game on the internet (and perhaps the inspiration for Flappy Bird). But, recently, major social media platforms have taken significant steps in instant gaming, adding immense value to their users and creating unprecedented opportunities for game developers.

Social instant gaming platform

Above: Sports can also be social networks.

Image Credit: Snap Games / Voodoo

The biggest threat to the likes of Facebook (Meta), Snap and Netflix is ​​not each other. It is platforms like Roblox and Fortnight that are increasingly known as social networks as well as gaming platforms. To avoid this threat, ‘traditional’ social media platforms are taking advantage of their huge audience to create serious instant gaming offers that add value and value to their platform’s stickiness. Yes, it’s all about user maintenance.

Leaving aside the 2.91 billion monthly active users of Facebook for the moment, other platforms like Snap are creating meaningful instant gaming offers. Snap has 500 million monthly active users, but you may not know that about 30 million of them play Snap games every month. Despite its “only” 16-17% users playing the game, this makes Snap one of the largest gaming platforms in the world. Another major social platform, Chinese player WeChat, each has mini games with millions of users. For reference, the PS5, the fastest-selling game console ever, has shifted 13.4 million units. Recently, TikTok, the biggest success story of 2021, has announced that it is entering gaming with a special title created by Zynga.

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For game developers and publishers, especially those familiar with HTML5 games (a 13-year-old development language that spends time in the sun due to its power to create cross-platform games), the opportunities are obvious.

However, there are no magic bullets.

Snap Games is curated, meaning developers need to work directly with Snap or experienced partners to bring their games to the platform. And, with 350 million people playing the game on Facebook, user acquisitions and retention are not easy. This means that Social Instant Gaming is, for now, an additional revenue stream for existing developers, rather than a big money spinner for indie developers. But with such a huge audience, built-in social features and a list of ready-made friends, who would bet that a social instant gaming platform would become a dominant form of gaming?

Browser based instant gaming

Above: Crazy Games.

Image Credits: Crazy Games

OG, the humble browser gaming platform of instant, flash-based gaming, has been revived in the HTML5 era. Take a long-running miniclip. Founded in 2001, it sold a majority stake to Tencent in 2015 and now has over 50 million daily active users playing hit games such as 8 Ball Pool and Head Ball 2.

The miniclip is just one away; There are many more with different features. Pokકી (30 million MAUs) focus on well-known IPs such as SYBO’s Subway Surfers or Hipster Whale’s Crossy Road, while Crazy Games (11 million MAUs) is an incredible developer-friendly platform that promotes cross-platform promotion, making it easy for developers. Allow upload. Browser export of Unity and Unreal Games.

The resurgence of browser gaming is driven in part by improvements in browsers and especially mobile browser technology. Mobile browsers now support the same technology as desktops, enabling high-quality gameplay experiences and friction-free crossplay browser gaming experiences on mobile devices. Video game companies like Goodgame Studios have also shown that it is possible to build a hugely successful business by bypassing traditional game markets altogether; Is evolving as a mere browser studio before expanding into mobile and other areas.

In general, browser-based instant gaming platforms are one of the many ways in the marketplace that provide ready access to a large audience through relatively simple technology. The fact that browser-based platforms generally do not require specialization and allow for cross-platform promotion of games means that they can provide a huge, cost-effective boost for user acquisition across multiple platforms and regions. They can also be a valuable additional revenue stream, although monetization is more challenging than the App Store due to low ad performance and lack of seamless payment options for in-game purchases.

Instant gaming in the cloud

No part of instant gaming is complete without the permission of cloud gaming (where remote servers bear most of the burden of running the game). Becoming ‘Netflix of games’ has become the goal of many new cloud gaming platforms (although not confusing Netflix, which currently offers games for download despite being a video streaming platform). Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is the de facto market leader, with platforms such as Google Stadia retreating from higher targets to focus on providing infrastructure for other gaming companies.

Above: Antstream.

Image Credit: Antstream

For developers, there are definitely instant gaming opportunities in the cloud. Retro gaming platform AntStream, for example, lends a new lease of life to very popular retro titles such as the ZX Spectrum platform Curio Manic Minor. Cloud gaming also potentially opens games for players in developing countries who do not have access to specialized hardware, and introduces a relatively unusable monetization model for gaming in the form of subscriptions, which of course is ubiquitous in music and video streaming. Ubisoft, creator of Assassin’s Creed, recently launched its own cloud platform, Ubisoft +, which allows subscribers to access the latest PC titles for their hardware with the addition of Cloud Tech. Facebook, too, has launched its mobile cloud gaming service across the U.S. and is well placed to offer the scale of user base needed to make cloud gaming economically viable.

Metavers instant gaming

Above: Roblox.

Image Credit: Roblox

Games like Roblox and Minecraft, as well as gamified blockchain gaming platforms such as Somnium Space and Axi Infinity are entry points for formative metavors. Currently, an initial download or installation is required to access each of these. Those are early days, and I can see this changing in the near future in two ways.

First, Metavers Instant Gaming will become a reality through games like Worlds FRVR, a Minecraft-style VR title on Facebook Instant Gaming that doesn’t need to be downloaded or installed. Second, the above games and experiences will identify themselves as a standalone platform. The way players easily transition between experiences without any additional downloads is in fact instant gaming. With over 220 million monthly active users, there is only a small change in concept between Robox as a ‘game’ and Robolox as an ‘instant gaming platform’.

As the popularity of user-generated content, blockchain gaming, and play-to-earn increases, the friction currently present on these platforms will rapidly decrease so that they can become seamless entry points for Metavers instant gaming.

A huge opportunity

Technology has enabled almost frictionless access to music and video content in a way that is not yet a reality for gamers. But, increasingly, high-level gaming content is something they can find on a platform on which they are already spending time, or with a few mouse clicks in a browser. Whether the biggest market share is ultimately achieved through social platforms like Snap, off-blockchain social-gaming metavers like Roblox or blockchain gaming platforms like Axie Infinity remains to be seen, but instant content opportunities potentially flow among a wide, busy audience. . Game-changing for publishers.

Michael Hudson is the CEO and co-founder of Gameback, a full-fledged global sports distribution platform.

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