Chat application Viber wants to better compete with the popular Skype and hopes it will grow with the help of social games. Viber was acquired earlier this year by Japanese-based Rakuten for $900 billion. Prior to that, social media giant Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) snapped up WhatsApp for a cool $19 billion.
Viber’s social game rollout will start in five markets including Malaysia, Belarus, Singapore, Israel, and Ukraine. The new games will be rolled out throughout the world by early 2015. Social gaming is a big trend that allows people to play games with friends, offer game challenges, and send gifts to friends. Viber will earn money from virtual items purchased inside the games, this does not include the cut taken from Android and iOS.
Viber partnered up with game developers Playtika and Storm8, the former created Wild Luck Casino, the latter created Viber Pop and Viber Candy Mania. The game characters are the same as the characters featured in Viber’s sticker collections. It appears right now the company wants to limit the number of games with a small curated collection of handpicked titles.
Less is more
The chat service’s founder Talmon Marco summed it up, “We will partner with other game developers in the future, but our approach is not to have hundreds of games, just small highly curated selection. We have wanted to do games for quite a while, our plans have been in process long before the acquisition.”
Social games are nothing new as many Asian companies such as WeChat, Line, and Kakao Talk. A few western companies such as Kik and Tango (along with Viber) offer competition in the market. Marco added that he is looking forward to the reactions of his company’s 209 million monthly active users. The platform games were designed not to interfere with the central messaging experience.