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Tiktok begins pilot testing HTML5 mini-games

by George Mensah
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With the introduction of “mini-games” that can be played inside the social video app and found through artists’ videos, TikTok hopes to gauge its users’ interest in mobile gaming. TikTok’s new gaming pilot, which TechCrunch first discovered about and has since confirmed, was secretly launched a few weeks ago with a number of new partners, including game creators Vodoo, Nitro Games, FRVR, Aim Lab, and Lotem.

After testing the waters with gaming juggernaut Zynga in November of last year, the social video app developer was said to be trying to expand into HTML5 gaming earlier this year, according to sources. The two firms subsequently collaborated to release Disco Loco 3D, a TikTok-only game that was similar to Zynga’s popular game (by way of acquisition) High Heels.

To the time, TikTok stated that it was in talks with other game developers for comparable arrangements, hinting at a broader gaming expansion to come. In the future, if the strategy is successful, TikTok might serve as a hub for casual mobile gaming that avoids Apple’s and Google’s app stores and, presumably, their portion of gaming income.

When uploading a video to the TikTok platform, the list of new mini-games can be seen there. Creators have the option of including a link to further content as well as hashtags, a description, a location, and other elements on the final screen before publishing. Previously, users could use TikTok Jump, a third-party integration feature integrated within TikTok’s app, to add links to a number of other experiences by hitting the “Add Link” button. The content of other apps, such as recipes from Whisk, quizzes from BuzzFeed and Quizlet, breathing exercises from Breathwork, and reviews from Rotten Tomatoes, among others, might be linked to by creators. Since the new games are first-party creations, we understand that they are not a part of the TikTok Jump project. They are, nevertheless, located in the same area.

Now, on the resulting video, the creator’s username is displayed as an anchor when they publish a link to one of the fresh games found in this section. When they find the video, viewers can click over to the game from there.

The following games are among the HTML5 gaming options available at launch:

Basketball FRVR (by FRVR)

Tap the Difference (by Lotem)

Peek a Who (by Nitro)

Pride Run (by Voodoo)

Influencer Run (by Voodoo)

Space Destroyer (by Nitro)

Mr. Aim Lab’s Nightmare (by Aims Labs)

Although TikTok hadn’t formally announced the beginning of its mobile gaming pilot, a representative revealed that testing had started a few weeks ago in several international regions.

A TikTok representative told TechCrunch, “We’re always searching for ways to improve our platform and regularly test new features and integrations that add value to our community. “At the moment, we’re looking towards integrating with third-party game developers and studios to bring HTML5 games to TikTok.”

As the program is still in its very early phases of testing, they were unable to comment on the specifics of the agreements made with the various game developers. We are informed that none of the games are currently being paid for through in-app purchases or advertisements. For the time being, the pilot simply seeks to ascertain whether and how TikTok’s current gaming community engages with these games, as well as how much user-generated content will be created around the games. Naturally, in the long run, things could alter – if TikTok chose to go in that path.

These new mini-games, according to TikTok, are separate from the games being created for TikTok LIVE, which enables creators to engage with viewers while livestreaming.

The games were recently featured under the “Add Link” area under the term “MiniGame,” however Zynga’s game Disco Loco 3D is still listed separately, according to app analytics firm Watchful.ai. Southeast Asian markets recently began to receive the addition. However, we discovered the mini-games here in the United States in the same menu.

TikTok is hardly the first digital behemoth to diversify into mobile gaming from its primary area of expertise. With the introduction of the gaming platform GameSnacks last year, which it scaled across Google Chrome’s new tab page in markets including India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Kenya, Google, for instance, embraced HTML5 games. With the release of Facebook Gaming on the web and Android last year, Facebook also entered the cloud gaming market. Mobile game downloads are now included in Netflix’s subscription for free.

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The fact that TikTok is developing a platform for casual gaming and that Zynga was its first collaborator on this project is somewhat ironic. The gaming startup first based its operations on Facebook, utilizing the platform’s expanding user base to draw users to its games. This aided in its growth to become one of the greatest social gaming firms and eventually resulted in its IPO. However, Facebook has lost favor among young people these days, and TikTok is the most popular app worldwide. Meanwhile, Zynga is no longer a stand-alone business. However, if TikTok’s pilot is a success, mobile social gaming may resume its growth.

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