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PlayPhone gets the Energizer bunny award. It keeps going and going and going. Today, the company is announcing that it has partnered with a number of major mobile game publishers to put their catalogs on PlayPhone’s social gaming network.
The San Francisco company has added new partners including Glu Mobile, Ambush Games, Pub Games, 7Seas, TreSensa, Evil Dingo, Youda Games, Nanjing Jike, Diamond Star, and Hui Games. PlayPhone said it had a strong fourth quarter and expects its new partners to add a lot of titles to its offerings. Those games include Contract Killer: Zombies (Glu Mobile), Magic Sword (China Wireless Arts), Blast Points (Pub Games), Hearts & Spades (Ambush Games), Crossword (Ambush Games), The Dark Man (7Seas), Governor of Poker 2 (Youda Games), Max & Mia: Ice Cave Adventures (Smuttlewerk), and Rapid Glide (Hui Games).
“After wrapping up a fantastic 2012, we’re thrilled that PlayPhone continues to be the go-to platform for game developers to distribute and monetize their games on smartphones and tablets,” said Anders Evju, an executive vice president at PlayPhone. “The addition of so many major developers puts PlayPhone on pace for a record 2013 and reinforces our commitment to continuing to be the most developer-friendly social gaming platform.”
PlayPhone launched its smartphone social gaming network in December 2011 and beefed it up again in July 2012. It bought the mobile marketing firm SocialHour in March for $51.5 million in stock.
PlayPhone’s entry is going to make the market a lot more interesting for developers and consumers as the company hopes to differentiate itself through cross-platform gameplay, payments, and social functionality.
PlayPhone has created a free-to-play app that runs on the Apple iOS, Android, and HTML5 platforms. The app lets players socialize with each other and play in the same online multiplayer game across different types of smartphones and tablets.
A user with an Android phone can play at the same PlayPhone Poker card table as someone with an Apple iPhone. They can send messages to each other and chat back and forth. They can sign on once via Facebook and quickly access all games. They can buy poker chips via the Apple App Store through in-app purchases. And they can also buy poker chips via PlayPhone’s other payment options.
PlayPhone has its own virtual currency (Playcredits), and users can access various carrier billing and payment options even on a closed platform such as Apple’s iOS. Players don’t have to exit a game to pay for a virtual good. Czerny said that the company has relations with more than 100 global carriers. PlayPhone is a preferred direct-billing partner with both AT&T and Verizon in the U.S.
While Gree and DeNA/Ngmoco have strong bases in Japan, PlayPhone was founded much later and has a smaller number of users. But PlayPhone began building its mobile social network in 2010. Gree also recently shut down its OpenFeint platform, angering a lot of developers.
PlayPhone has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Menlo Ventures, Cardinal Venture Capital, Coral Group, and Scale Venture Partners.