A common complaint from game developers on nearly any platform is that discovery is hard — players that should know about their game often don’t, unless the developer advertises heavily. TeePee Games, a British startup, is the latest to try to tackle the problem. The company is announcing its plans today, along with a $500,000 angel funding.
TeePee has a wider focus than most discovery sites. The company wants to show users the way to games on any open platform. At launch, that will mean Facebook games, web-based Flash games, and mobile games. “To date, there isn’t yet a portal that aggregates content across the three different platforms,” says founder Tony Pearce. “I look at the [existing] aggregation sites as Web 1.0.”
The company has invested into an algorithm that Pearce likens to Amazon’s suggestion function, which offers new products based on old ones that you’ve viewed or bought. A new member of TeePee will go through a short signup process that involves clicking through a picture-based quiz, giving TeePee an idea of their likes and dislikes. Afterward, the user’s ratings and plays will determine what they’re shown.
What happens next depends on the game the user chooses. If it’s a mobile game, TeePee will send a text to the user’s phone with a link to the download.
If, on the other hand, the user wants to play a Facebook game, they’re not simply bumped over to Facebook. Instead, TeePee plans to run the game within its own frame on Facebook, which will add some additional social features to play. This frame isn’t complete yet, but TeePee shared a very early mockup with us that shows a few potential functions:
The “My Tribes” button on the lower-right refers to TeePee’s built-in network, which will let players join and interact with groups that share their gaming interests.
As for monetizing itself, TeePee has a plan for each platform. The core of its efforts will go toward striking deals with individual publishers, in which the publisher pays TeePee a small amount per install. Pearce says TeePee has already been receiving signups, especially from Facebook developers.
We’ve seen algorithm-driven discovery before, like Chomp, which focuses on mobile discovery. It’s not clear yet what place these platforms will have in the ecosystem. But given the slowness with which Apple, Facebook, Google and other large companies have address improving discovery, there’s still a window open for these companies to draw in motivated gamers.