Zynga quietly launches game on Kik – its first on a mobile chat app?
In an update today, Kik, a mobile messenger that claims 60 million users, added the first paid elements to its nascent platform and unveiled a new in-app game from Zynga.
Zynga, which first got big by building games for Facebook's Web platform, has launched a new game called "1 Word" for Kik's new HTML5 platform. The game lets people compete against each other to solve clues based on pictures. It also allows in-app purchases, which is probably the first such game to do so on an HTML5 mobile platform. As far as I can tell, it is the first game Zynga has launched for any of the mobile messaging apps. It also appears to be available exclusively on Kik at this point.
Other messaging apps such as Tango and South Korea's KakaoTalk already host games on their own platform. Gaming has proven to be especially lucrative for Kakao, which has accumulated 300 million game subscriptions in the space of a year. China's WeChat, meanwhile, has just launched its own gaming platform, too.
With the update, Kik has also opened a "Sticker Shop," via which users can purchase glorified emoticons and illustrations to enhance their chat experiences. So far, there are two sticker sets available for $1.93 each – one featuring characters from "South Park," the other featuring characters from "Adventure Time." Japan's leading mobile messenger, Line, made $17 million from such stickers alone in the first quarter of 2013. Facebook launched the first of its own stickers for its mobile apps last month.
Earlier today, Facebook also revealed a new push into mobile gaming, offering distribution to developers and studios in return for a cut of the revenue. It might be considered Facebook's second attempt at building a solid app platform, which didn't work out so well the first time around.
Consider this an escalation in the mobile platform wars. And Zynga is again along for the ride.