GamesBeat

Heyzap creates game launcher for Android phones

Heyzap has released version 3 of its game check-in app, adding functions that make it a lot easier for gamers to manage and launch their games.

The Heyzap app for Android will include a new Play tab (pictured at right, bottom) that makes it simple for users to organize and launch all of their games from one convenient location. In doing so, the company is shifting further into helping both gamers and developers with the discovery of new games on mobile devices.

Jude Gomilla, co-founder of San Francisco-based Heyzap, said in an interview that the existing Android interface makes it hard to find and manage games. For instance, you have to click on menus a total of nine times just to delete a game from a phone.

With Heyzap’s app, you click on the app once. Then you hit the Z Play button at the bottom of the screen. That calls up all of your games, but in the order of the most frequently played first. With this scheme, you don’t have to go looking through a list of dozens of icons in order to find your favorite game. You can launch it with a single click.

“We can launch a game 10 times faster on Android,” Gomilla said. “We make games management much easier. We have become like a central hub for games.”

You can also click on other buttons that show your friends, your profile, or the latest activity, which shows which games your friends are playing. The Play tab will show you games that have new updates available. This kind of interface is increasingly necessary for people who have dozens of games on their phones, Gomilla said.

An iPhone update is coming soon. Gomilla said that the company is making money from the app by selling non-incentivized ads. Developers place those ads in part because Heyzap inspires users to install games that their friends are playing.

You can use the play tab to view information such as discussions about a game, tips for playing it, and how to connect to other players. Heyzap has about 1.6 million installations for its check-in app.

Heyzap launched its check-in app for mobile gamers in March and it has now evolved it into a social network for gamers. More than 600 games use the Heyzap software developer kit. Publishers and developers using it include Pocket Gems, Digital Chocolate, Animoca, Mega Jump, Office Zombie, and others. If developers integrate the SDK into the game, gamers can then check into games and broadcast what they are playing to Facebook, Twitter and the Heyzap network with the press of a button.

Heyzap has 18 employees and it has raised $3.65 million from investors including Union Square Ventures and Naval Ravikant of Angellist. The company was founded in 2008. The company started out creating widgets for flash games, but it has shifted entirely into the mobile social games market now. Rivals could potentially include both Google and Apple, which could improve their interfaces to absorb what Heyzap does. But they aren’t doing that now. Other rivals include OpenFeint, PapayaMobile, and DeNA.


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