Copying Facebook, Tango releases gaming platform
Mobile video calling company Tango today released a platform that mobile gaming companies can use to add Tango-powered video calling and messaging services to their mobile games. Mobile gaming powerhouse Gameloft will be one of the first to use the platform; Gameloft will release Candy Block Breaker for Tango on iOS using the new Tango platform.
In an interview with FierceMobileContent, Tango CTO Eric Setton explained that Tango is taking a page from Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) playbook with the release of its new platform. Like Facebook did on the Web, Tango is working to add a social layer to mobile gaming in an attempt to increase the number of people communicating through its messaging service. Setton said that Tango will share the revenues generated through games that use its new platform, though he declined to provide details.
Setton explained that Tango's new platform will help game makers attract new users without having to spend money on advertising. He said Tango users will be able to invite other users to the games, thereby increasing the overall number of players. He promised that other games and apps will be released in the coming weeks that include Tango's messaging functions.
Setton predicted the next phase of the over-the-top messaging market, which includes the likes of WhatsApp, Viber and textPlus, will eventually migrate into the social networking space. He said the release of Tango's new platform for mobile gaming companies represents the company's first step into the wider social networking space.
Tango, which launched two and a half years ago, now counts around 120 million users, half of which are in North America. The company has raised a total of $87 million in venture funding, and it counts around 130 employees. Unlike most mobile messaging companies, Tango makes money through the sale of branded content from the likes of Warner Music, Marvel and Sesame Street. Tango users can purchase, for example, an Iron Man avatar to use in their communications with friends and family.
"Tango is a very personal and intimate service," Setton said. "We felt that we would much rather invest in monetization avenues that enhance the overall experience rather than detract from it."
Interestingly, Setton said Tango hasn't seen much of an effect from Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) launch of its new Hangouts app, which provides picture, text and video messaging.
"We were expecting it (Google Hangouts) to do a little bit better" than it has so far, Setton said. However, he added: "It's still early. We'll have to see in the next three months."