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AOL has redesigned its Games.com website to enable better cross-platform gaming experiences. For the first time in two years, AOL has given the browser-based platform a makeover to make it more appealing in the social-mobile era.
New York-based Games.com, a division of AOL, has more than 5,000 free online games, including the largest library of HTML5 mobile games that can be played in web browsers, said John Fox, general manager of Games.com, in an interview with GamesBeat. HTML5 is a browser-friendly format that is the lingua franca of the web.
Fox, who is making the announcement at GDC Online in Austin, Texas, said that the investment shows AOL’s commitment to the gaming market. The redesign includes search and personalization features, and it is aimed at making Games.com a worldwide destination for games.
“We saw a huge opportunity in this space,” said Fox. “We are a big-scale internet company, with distribution power through Games.com, an ad platform, and a transactions platform. We took that base and built an industry-leading game platform across devices.”
The redesign makes it easier to find, play, and share your favorite games on all devices, including tablets and phones. It offers full-screen experiences and the ability to jump into a game with a single click. The site also improves discovery by highlighting a new game each day and offering the chance to try a random recommendation.
Games.com players will also have easy access to their gaming history, badges, points, and rankings via a new Social Bar, which is seamlessly integrated into the new experience. AOL says data from Jefferies Equity Research shows that 65 percent of play has shifted from the web and toward mobile and tablet devices in the past year. So the new platform has been designed with a mobile-first approach.
“Gaming is not just on one device anymore,” Fox said. “We want to get gamers to discover games quickly and give them options to share it among their friends.”
AOL’s top partners include Arkadium, Big Fish Games, Masque Publishing, Mochi Media, and Tylted. Fox said the average session time is 29 minutes. The site has 3 million monthly active users in the U.S. and 4.5 million worldwide. That’s very likely down from peaks in the past, but Fox promises to grow those numbers.
“This is just the start,” said Fox. “We will be rolling out new products and features on Games.com in the coming months. We have focused on building a product that introduces players to games they will love, and that’s exactly what we’ve built and will continue to enhance. We value each of our players individually and will continue to build products to make the experience that much more relevant to each individual player.”