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As player-acquisition costs continue to rise, one company is looking to a phone-customization app for its next batch of paying customers.

Mobile publisher DeNA revealed today that it is going to start distributing its games through Zedge, which is an app that enables smartphone and tablet owners to put their individual style into features on their device. Zedge offers ringtones, notification sounds, and wallpapers. It also has a game tab where it suggests titles based on what people like. The platform claims its users are exactly the type of gamers that end up spending money in the games that DeNA makes.

Zedge won’t just throw DeNA’s games into its app. Instead, it will market certain games to specific people based on their preferences. When it goes live, this will only appear in Zedge for Android, but game recommendations are coming to Apple soon as well.

“Our collaboration in offering DeNA games in a highly relevant, tightly integrated, and native fashion will benefit all involved,” Zedge chief executive Tom Arnoy said. “Since our recommendation engine connects extremely valuable users to our game advertisers, we expect this partnership to serve as a foundation for other distribution opportunities in the marketplace.”


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This strategy could make Zedge an important part of game distribution on mobile.

In many Asian countries, chat apps dominate on mobile. Kakao in Korea is responsible for a vast number of text messages, but it’s also responsible for distributing the biggest games. In the U.S., it doesn’t work like that. Americans don’t all hop onto the same chat app, and the popular ones, like WhatsApp and SnapChat, are successful because they have a very focused experienced.

Zedge, however, has access to a number of gamers who are looking to express themselves by individualizing their smartphones. That means they are looking for as much content as possible, and they don’t mind if they end up finding new games.

“During our time working with Zedge, we have identified its users as enthusiastic consumers with an inclination to discover great new content,” DeNA head of strategic partnerships Barry Dorf said. “We’ve deepened our relationship with Zedge and opened our catalogue to their users because there’s a valuable affinity between our services.”

Zedge currently earns revenue from each new player it recommends to the developers that use its service. DeNA and Zedge wouldn’t provide the specifics of their partnership. Those aforementioned chat apps in Asia typically take 20 percent of all revenue on top of the 30 percent that Google or Apple takes.

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