- Social game developer Zynga debuted a mobile game last week called "Tiny Royale" exclusively on Snap's new Snap Games multiplayer gaming platform. Users of the image-messaging app can begin playing the game with friends through the platform's Chat feature, according to an announcement.
- As many as 30 players battle each other simultaneously in two-minute tournaments on a map that gradually shrinks until only one player or team remains. The game lets players form teams of up to four friends, and allows players to unlock more characters, weapons and health packs as they get deeper into the game.
- Zynga plans to add a matchmaking feature this summer called Tiny Royale Leagues that will place players in groups of 100 people broken out into 20 tiers. Players can improve their ranking as they get better at the game and earn digital trophies and rewards. Snap Games previously announced the pending launch of "Tiny Royale" at its developer summit in April.
Zynga's introduction of "Tiny Royale" comes as the game developer seeks to broaden its audience on Snapchat, which created Snap Games in April to deepen engagement with its messaging app. Zynga more than a decade ago helped to define social-gaming category by bringing games like "Zynga Poker," "Farmville" and "Words With Friends" to Facebook, but also went through a rocky period of lower user engagement and declining sales. Now, the company shown signs of turning things around, with revenue that grew 27% to $265 million in Q1 from a year earlier, per its quarterly report.
By developing games for Snapchat, Zynga can reach a new generation of social media users, given Snapchat's significant popularity among U.S. teens. Snap reaches 75% of 13- to 34-year-olds and 90% of 13- to 24-year-olds, CEO Evan Spiegel said in April at the company's first developer summit. At that time, the company unveiled Snap Games with six game titles from publishers including Zynga, Game Closure, Spry Fox, ZeptoLab and PikPok. The company also unveiled new Snap Kit features, augmented reality features and streamed TV shows.
Snap plans to monetize its gaming content with non-skippable six-second commercials, and doesn't have in-app purchases in its games, including Zynga's latest. The U.S. spending on in-game ads will grow 16% to $3.25 billion this year from $2.8 billion in 2018, eMarketer forecast, creating opportunities for companies like Snap to boost revenue. In-game ads such as rewarded videos produce high click-through rates for advertisers, making them popular among game developers.
By avoiding in-app purchases, Snap removes the possibility of charging underage players for gaming content and facing significant legal liability. Google Play five years ago agreed to refund $19 million to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint that it unlawfully billed parents for their kids' unauthorized in-app charges, the agency announced. Facebook was targeted in a class action suit that claimed the social network was aware that children spent money on game apps without parental consent, a practice it described as "friendly fraud," according to court documents cited by CBS News.