Multiplayer mobile games take off: Z2Live gets $3M to target iPhone

Gamers love to play together. So finding a way to allow players to play against each other on increasingly popular mobile phones is a no-brainer.

Multiplayer games have been launching left and right on the iPhone, but until now the multiplayer features have usually been built internally by the game developer.

Today, Seattle company Z2Live is launching specifically to offer multiplayer gaming technology to game developers who are targeting the iPhone and iPod touch at “a fraction of the cost” of what it would take to do internally. Multiplayer games can create loyalty among users, and so the assumption is that if game developers bake in a multiplayer feature from the beginning, they can generate more revenue.

Z2Live today also announced $3M in new funding from Madrona Venture Group, a follow-on to a $1M seed investment made by Madrona last fall.

It’s just the latest sign of a trend toward mobile social gaming. A bunch of other companies are working on ways to share and network across games from the mobile phone, and the iPhone has become a first stop for experimenting with such features.

“Multiplayer gaming on the iPhone translates to much more sustainable revenue models for mobile game developers in a business which has otherwise proven tough to create,” said David Bluhm, CEO of Z2Live Inc. “We offer small and large developers alike the opportunity to offer real-time, fast twitch multiplayer games at a fraction of the time and cost of internal development.”

Some 62 percent of all gamers already play with their friends, according to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

In its statement, the company suggests that 2010 or 2011 could be a “inflection point,” when wireless broadband networks deliver coverage to more than half the population to faster games of the kind you already see in console and PC games.

Z2Live said it offers gamers hosting as well as services to implement subscription-based multiplayer and social game features for a wide variety of games, including “turn-based casual games, racing games, role-playing games, and eventually the most sophisticated first-person ‘shooters.’” Z2Live offers its SDK free of charge and receives a percentage of the multiplayer revenue.

More details on the platform in the video below:

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