TikTok is experimenting with games, initially in collaboration with mobile gaming giant Zynga. On Monday, Zynga announced plans to release a new HTML5-based game called Disco Loco 3D exclusively on the TikTok platform. The casual game is a single player endless runner in which players collect their own dance moves as they challenge friends, avoid obstacles, and collect medallions as they walk down a catwalk, much like Zynga’s “high heels”. While TikTok says the game is designed to test the general public interest in games on its app, the company confirmed it is already in talks with other game makers.
HTML5-based mobile games have become a popular way to reach large numbers of global users, especially in emerging markets where consumers may not own high-end phones or can afford fast data plans. Google, for example, embraced the format with the launch of the HTML5 gaming platform GameSnacks, which this year scaled on the new Google Chrome tab in markets like India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Kenya.
In a broader sense, however, the tech industry is making the connection between platforms where users want to chat or socialize and platforms dedicated to gaming. Facebook stepped into cloud gaming last year with the launch of Facebook Gaming on the web and Android. And Netflix just launched its own gaming service for its worldwide users on Android and now iOS, stating that the company believes gaming is just another category of entertainment.
Now it seems like TikTok is open to exploring this concept as well.
TikTok announces to TechCrunch that partnering with Zynga will help the company better understand how its community deals with games. The company today has a captive audience of gaming fans, including casual and hardcore gamers, it said, but it doesn’t know if those users would react to such a game integration.
However, this isn’t TikTok’s first game. The company launched its own game, Garden of Good, earlier this year, developed in partnership with nonprofit Feeding America, which focuses on fundraising for charity. While this game may have provided TikTok with some early data on user interest in gaming, the game itself was a different type of experience. In the game, TikTok users tended their own garden and supported friends who played the game. And as the garden grew, they could have TikTok donate their points to Feed America.
Zynga’s integration is a more traditional game, although it’s not currently monetized, notes TikTok. For example, there are no in-app purchases or royalties on the game’s revenue. Instead, the focus for the time being is to test the TikTok users’ desire to play.
@zyngaDisco Loco 3D is coming!
♬ Original sound – Zynga
As for Zynga, the company sees TikTok as a platform that enables them to reach new audiences through the app’s enormous reach.
“Zynga has a long history of developing games that leverage the unique user experiences of platforms to deliver fresh and fun concepts that will resonate with gamers anywhere, anytime,” said Bernard Kim, President of Publishing at Zynga, in an explanation.
The game isn’t currently live on TikTok, but it will be rolling out to North American markets for both iOS and Android in the coming weeks.
The partnership with Zynga could be the first to launch TikTok’s broader investigation into mobile gaming. The company told TechCrunch that it is in talks with other gaming partners about similar deals, but is currently unable to provide details.
The gaming news was announced along with Zynga’s Q3 results, in which the company reported revenue of $ 705 million, 40% more than last year, and bookings of $ 668 million, 6% more than last year . Zynga also said it hired a former Coca-Cola executive, Matthew Wolf, to run its blockchain gaming business.