Industry Perspectives: Q&A with Robert Balahura, Founder of J2Play

One of the hardest parts of any social gaming project is distribution and marketing. How do you get your game out there? How do you get new people to find and play it? One potential new answer is J2Play.

J2Play is a service that provides a do-it-yourself viral distribution framework that allows you to easily publish and expose your games to all social site users and generate traffic. We had the opportunity to sit down and speak with Robert Balahura, founder of J2Play, to get his perspective on the space.

Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us. So, I have to ask, how does J2Play actually work?

Game developers can go to our website to learn more and sign up. For technical details developers should visit our developer site. After sign up somebody from our organization will contact you for a chat and helps the developer to get started.

You say a lot about viral distribution. I see that you utilize a YouTube style concept of “discovering” new games based on what a current user is playing. We can also see a number of other channels such as real-time broadcasting, cross-site mini-feeds, user profiles and so on, but what are some of the features we can’t read up about on the J2Play site yet?

We continuously think about new viral features we can add for discovery of games and new ways for social interaction. One concept that is important that we continue to develop are the concept of native viral features and internal viral features. The concept of native viral features provides the native feeds, invites, and notifications automatically to whatever social network the user is playing on as well as a generalized api that is a write once – get all native viral features for all networks type of concept.

The internal viral features are the features that circulate the community of traffic throughout all the games that use our technology to socialize their games. We have not yet integrated some of the existing features we have such as tournaments and other type of leader board based competitions to our social network games solution. We’ve some new social network specific features cooking but it’s too early to talk about those – stay tuned for news later this year from us!

It’s no doubt the viral distribution will increase traffic, but what are the numbers that developers usually see as far as traffic increase? Does J2Play offer anything regarding traffic increase outside the social networks, such as standard search engine optimization?

It’s still a bit early for us say as we’re just starting with our game developer partners but naturally optimizing the viral distribution will be key to be successful as a small developer using our solution and not having a big advertising budget. The key thing for us is to provide the viral distribution out of the box for developers so they don’t have to spend their time building those but can focus on developing content.

Search engine optimization and better design, discoverability of games is next on our development road map.

Let’s shift gears for a second and talk about the social content J2Play adds to existing games. You mention many “out-of-the-box” features, but you also talk about advanced features that utilize an extensive set of APIs. Some of the possibilities you have listed are features such as leaderboards, badges, and real-time multiplayer. What are some of the other features that are possible through these APIs? I’m especially curious about the more advanced ones.

We’ve full loyalty platform and are providing APIs for our tournament module soon. The J2Play solution is a full multi-player games platform so game developers can build different types of multi-player games with the platform and by developing their own game servers. That is fairly advanced stuff compared to most of the games out there now. Developers can also integrate item based microtransactions, an item-model through power ups etc. to their games. We have that from our experience working with Asian developers and content in the past years.