Video chat service Rounds continues to focus on entertainment with the addition of nine new games

Rounds, described as the world’s only “communitainment” platform, combining video chat and social apps into a single experience, today announced that nine new games will be added to its service by 2012.

Tel Aviv, Israel-based Rounds sees its entertainment apps as a way to stand out from its competitors in the busy live chat sector, and is using significant investment to expand further in this area. It’s another example of entertainment companies turning to games to improve fan engagement.

Founded in 2008 by chief executive Danny Fishel and chief operating officer Ilan Leibovich, Rounds offers a web based chat service, that gives users a unique range of entertainment apps to participate in while they are chatting. Currently featuring a number of real time games, such as Tetris, Truth or Dare and Chess, along with video effects and animations, Rounds is now enhancing its gaming portfolio to help hook users with an experience it likens to hanging out in the real world.

Rounds is a free service that operates through a variety of channels, with its Facebook application, which launched in August 2010, now boasting over 3 million unique users. More than 600,000 daily video chat sessions are typically taking place, with users typically spending an average of 40 minutes per session. The company has noticed a significant increase in user interaction and engagement as it has added more games to the service, which has prompted it to continue expansion in this area.

The nine new games being added to the Rounds service, which will include Whack-a-Friend, Charades, Super Drift 3D and Mad Pet, have been developed with the help of a recent $3 million investment to expand the platform. This has taken total investment in the company to $5.5 million. Unlike Google Hangouts  and TinyChat, the chat on Rounds is restricted to one on one, but the company hopes that its expanding app entertainment features are what will help it stand out from the competition.

Fishel said, “The need for a place to hangout online, one that mimics our encounters in the real-world is something that has become more and more apparent. Rounds is the perfect mix between communication and entertainment.”

Rounds is also open to third party developers, with its easy to use applications programming interface (API) allowing outside content to be integrated into the platform. This is something that Rounds hopes will allow it to target different markets and niches, simply by creating different games and activities, and having the Rounds chat platform embedded in different websites.

It will be interesting to watch the development of Rounds as a potentially major player in the currently buzzing ‘alive web’ scene. Its focus on entertainment certainly seems to give it the upper hand in terms of user engagement, which may prove to be a key factor for success in this fast moving and highly competitive area. Meanwhile, you can take a look at this neat infographic, which outlines some of the main differences between the key players in the chat arena:

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