Unveiling more of its social platform for Flash games, Heyzap is announcing today that it is launching a social menu bar that can be used to simplify the process of signing into casual online games.
The menu bar, the Heyzap Social Bar, is a simple gray stripe that runs along the bottom of a web page and is only 25 pixels high. It gives a user instant access to functions such as virtual currency, which can be used to pay for virtual goods inside the game. The value of the bar is that it is persistent. It can be used in any Flash game using the Heyzap platform.
Heyzap makes a platform that is aimed at developers of Flash online games. It is targeting Flash games because the category has grown up from a hobbyist market to a big business. Simple Flash games such as Bloons have proven addictive in recent years, and some of them are drawing huge audiences. If developers use Heyzap’s platform, they may have an easier time marketing and monetizing their games. That’s important, since there are tens of thousands of Flash games available.
In the past year, Heyzap has launched tools that allow developers to monetize free games with virtual goods and virtual currency purchases. In December, it launched Heyzap Achievements, which lets users gather their rewards and achievements from games and show them off to their friends.
With the Heyzap Social Bar being introduced today, users will be able to tell their Facebook friends or others what Flash game they’re playing. That helps the games spread.
Users will also be able to purchase goods in the Flash game without having to sign into an account every time they play the game. Co-founder Jude Gomila says that’s important because as many as 50 percent of people will decline to sign in when presented with a page to do so. That makes it difficult for Flash game makers to convert free users into paying users.
The bar works wherever a game is hosted on the web, such as a game web site or a site that uses Heyzap’s widgets, which insert a game into a non-game site to spice up traffic.
In some ways, it resembles the Meebo chat bar, which lets users chat with friends across a bunch of different applications, or the YouTube social bar that lets users share videos with their friends easily.
“Your identity can travel with you. It effectively makes existing Flash games more social,” says Gomila.
The San Francisco company, which has eight employees, competes with rivals such as Mochi Media, which was just acquired by China’s Shanda Games for $80 million. Heyzap is funded by Y Combinator and Union Square Ventures.