Viber announced the launch of Viber Games on Monday, continuing its recent streak of launches which have included video calls and public chats. This is Viber’s 3rd such expansion in as many months.
Viber was acquired by Japanese giant Rakuten in February for $900 million. This acquisition took place right before its competitor, WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook. Viber has stuck up a deal with social game developers to create games which will feature Viber characters and other exclusive content. The intial three titles will be developed by PlayTika and Storm8. They will be called Viber Candy Mania, Viber Pop and Wild Luck Casino respectively.
These games have been made available for iOS and Android in Belarus, Israel, Malaysia and Ukraine. These games will be rolled out worldwide eventually based on a staggered schedule that has been prepared by them.
According to Viber CEO Talmon Marco, Viber has been focussing on broadening the functionality of its App and are really excited to unveil Viber Games. They want to give people a completely new way to connect with Viber and these games will go a long way in achieving that. He added that they were really looking forward to the response from the consumers.
These new social games are going to be built using Viber Connect, which is Viber’s private API. Sign in can be done by using the Viber ID, which would be helpful in connecting easily with existing Viber friends. Users will be able to send game invites using Viber. They can also track the games that their friends are playing and keep an eye on the respective high scores. There is also the provision to win online prizes, which would aid the creation of a very social gaming experience; which in turn will help Viber in expanding its user base.
Viber has decided to tap into the social gaming market at the right time as the potential for growth in this sector is massive. The growth that social gaming will experience on mobile platforms will very easily dwarf the growth of social gaming on PCs and desktops. Viber also stands to make money from in-game sales. They will of course have to deduct the prices paid to Apple and Google, but the revenue collected will still prove to be very sizable.
There is a potential of a lot of money being made in social gaming. Viber’s cautious approach of starting with three games in five countries is being appreciated by everyone. It will be interesting to see how it turns out in the long run.