“The 2011 PlayPhone $10 Million Social Power-UP” (mouthful much?) aims to help developers better monetize their games on the company’s mobile social network, PlayPhone Social, which just launched in October 2010.
PlayPhone says the fund “formalizes” the company’s marketing assistance already available to games that launch on its network. Developers have access to regional branding, advertising and multi-language support in over 25 countries.
“We are one of the first in mobile social gaming to offer developers a development environment with mobile browser functionality supporting iOS and Android,” said Anders Evju, SVP & GM of PlayPhone Social. “We are looking to lower the barrier of entry by creating a cross-platform product for developing mobile social games, while still continuing to build better ways to monetize them.”
PlayPhone says 10 million people have signed up for its service to gain access to ringtones, apps, games, videos and virtually any other content users would want to download to their phones. PlayPhone Social and the just-announced fund for developers are simply further steps in helping the company flesh out its network.
There are other game networks, of course, but multi-platform offerings are rare right now. Apple’s Game Center is an in-house mobile social gaming network built specifically for iOS 4 devices like newer iPod Touches, iPhones and iPads. If your friend owns an Android phone, though, good luck challenging them. Alternatively, ngmoco and its new parent company DeNA plan to launch mobile gaming network Mobage Town, one of the biggest in Japan, in the U.S. this spring. Coming to both iOS and Android, Mobage Town definitely has as good a chance as any of becoming the dominant mobile network.
On the other hand, all these networks--PlayPhone Social, Game Center, Mobage Town, and others--must always be wary of the constant threat posed by Facebook, easily one of the most popular social gaming platforms in the world. If Facebook ups the ante and upgrades its mobile apps to actually be capable of powering third-party applications, the whole game will change.
Based in San Jose, Calif., PlayPhone is backed by venture firms Menlo Ventures, Cardinal Venture Capital, Coral Group and Scale Venture Partners, among others.