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PlayPhone is announcing today that Sprint has agreed to adopt its social gaming portal. The move is a big endorsement for PlayPhone’s bid to become a key provider of mobile-social game services that help consumers find games and developers get discovered.
With deals in place with Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint, San Francisco-based PlayPhone is now providing its mobile-games portal service to carriers with 83 percent of the U.S. mobile smartphone and tablet population. Sprint, now owned by Japan’s Softbank, is being more aggressive about catching up with its rivals, said Ron Czerny, the chief executive of PlayPhone, in an interview with GamesBeat.
In the coming two or three months, Sprint’s 55 million customers will be able to access a mobile-social game network with one press of a touch screen. Users can swipe their way through the social-game store within the larger Sprint Zone store. At some point, PlayPhone’s game portal will become part of Sprint’s preloaded software package. Sprint will also have a game widget that will boost the visibility of games on Sprint’s Android phone home screens for easier discovery and updates.
“This shows we have great momentum,” Czerny said. “We now have more than 500 games available via HTML5 and Android.”
Developers will benefit because players can easily buy games via Sprint’s direct carrier billing service. PlayPhone is also providing its games to Claro Brazil. Recent additions to PlayPhone’s fold of developers include 11 Bit, Baltoro Games, Big Blue Bubble, Dragonplay, FDG, Handy Games, Liquid Entertainment, and others.
“In today’s casual gaming market, when it comes to pursuing long-term revenue, the platform can be just as important as the game,” said Ted Pollak, the senior analyst for the game industry at Jon Peddie Research. “From storefront to leaderboard, players need a reliable and exciting brand experience — arguably one that is customized beyond what they’re used to at traditional app stores. Benefits like frictionless billing and tailored game and opponent suggestions will serve to reinforce revenue streams over time. Collaborations between platform providers, developers, and carriers are a sound method to deliver high-quality mobile gaming on a sustained basis.”
PlayPhone has raised funding from Menlo Ventures, Cardinal Venture Capital, Coral Group, and Scale Venture Partners. PlayPhone makes money via a fee it charges to carriers. The company has 80 employees.