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Goko’s HTML5 platform aims to level the playing field for indie developers (with exclusive screens of Catan World)

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Today, Goko is finally emerging from the shadows of its 2011 stealth launch. The HTML5-focused games company based in Redwood City, Calif. has also come bearing gifts.

In addition to revealing its existence to the world, Goko announced the release of its own software development kit (SDK), a tool to help independent developers for publishing and monetizing their games created in the HTML5 coding language. It will allow them to launch their titles across multiple platforms — including Facebook, iOS, Android, Google+, Windows 8, and the web — with features like leaderboards, achievements, player authentication, and purchasable virtual goods.

“The traditional model of publishers buying studios and hoping lightning strikes twice is flawed,” Goko chief executive officer told GamesBeat. “I think that Zynga’s current market cap shows the risk of this hits-based, roll-the-dice strategy. Much more interesting is to provide the tools and business support around developer-generated content such that we only invest in games that are proving themselves in the market. The platform allows developers to create the games they want on their own, eliminating the costly initial investment.”

Live on Goko’s service right now, as well as on Facebook and Google+, is the multiplayer version of social card game Dominion as well as a private beta for Catan World, a massively multiplayer online (MMO) strategy title based on the popular board game Settlers of Catan (see exclusive screens below). With over 150 licenses for other leading board and card games, Goko is looking to partner with strategy-game publishers, like Rio Grande Games (makers of Dominion) and Mayfair Games (Settlers of Catan in the U.S.).

Developers who use the Goko SDK can either create their own brand-new title or build a game based off of one of its many licenses.

“Mayfair Games’ alliance with Goko allows us to build a comprehensive and scalable digital game portfolio using one reliable development platform,” said Pete Fenlon, chief executive officer of Mayfair Games, in a press release. “Goko is aligned with our commitment to excellent content and understands how to adapt substantive, graphically pleasing content to the digital space. We’re juiced about the upcoming releases of the Catan-based, Steam-based, and Empire Builder-based games because they will serve long-hungry audiences who have sought thoughtful and beautiful variations of three of our most enduring game engines.”

Goko’s main competitors are Electronic Arts-owned Pogo and Hasbro.

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