PapayaMobile is looking to bolster the Android side of its social-mobile gaming network with a new development tool called Social Splash.
The free tool will allow developers with Flash or HTML5-based games to port their titles to Android using Social Splash as wrapper that renders the game into an Android friendly format, essentially converting it into a native app. It sounds similar to what streaming game service iSwifter does to Flash apps. According to the company’s press release, developers won’t need any specialized Android knowledge to use the product. PapayaMobile’s product is aimed at developers who are currently working on Facebook and Google+.
The move is an interesting one for PapayaMobile for a couple of reasons:
First, while its becoming more common for social game developers like Zynga, Wooga and Playdom to bring out iOS versions of popular Facebook games, not many social game companies have made the jump to Android yet due to the platform’s trickier monetization. Even fairly successful mobile developers working on iOS like the U.K.-based Hogrocket have been slow to bring their games to Android, telling Inside Mobile Apps that Android ports can be a risk in terms of time and effort when compared to the potential payoff.
If Social Splash allows developers to create Android experiences that rival the ones found online, it could be a good tool for companies looking to branch out from Facebook and get into mobile.
“This tool is for every developer that has felt abandoned by Flash and crowded out by Zynga,” PapayaMobile’s co-founder Si Shen said in a statement. “We believe in helping HTML5 and Flash developers make the transition to mobile a seamless experience. Not only does this new tool decrease development time, but it also allows developers to launch their entire games catalog onto mobile without having to learn a new coding language.”
Second, Social Splash could also help PapayaMobile, which no longer develops its own games, shore up relationships with third party developers as competition from better-funded competitors like GREE, DeNA and Facebook intensifies in the social-mobile gaming space.
GREE has been aggressively courting developers for its upcoming global platform and recently announced it was partnering with 11 high profile Chinese and Korean developers to bring their games to the English-speaking market. It is also working with with Ubisoft and Gameloft on platform exclusive titles. DeNA has been busy building out the Mobage network, signing deals with developers like Glu Mobile and TinyCo. The company also just announced it would be opening a subsidiary studio in Vancouver, BC headed by Gameview co-founder Irfan Virk. Facebook is also investing heavily in its HTML5 based mobile platform, bringing its viral channels to the service and absorbing the costs of carrier-powered payments in order to entice developers.
PapayaMobile’s mobile-social gaming network more than 50 million users on Android and iOS, up from the 38 million users it reported in December.