Verizon to preload PlayPhone's Game Portal onto all new Android devices

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Verizon (NYSE:VZ) and PlayPhone unveiled Game Portal, a new social gaming platform that will be preloaded onto all new Verizon Android smartphones starting in the second quarter. The Game Portal allows users to discover and play new mobile games with their friends as well as share scores across social networks. The platform also incorporates carrier billing from Verizon.

Game Portal

Game Portal for Verizon

"It's kind of a game store with a social basis built in. We're excited to be partnered up with Verizon and to have them preload it on all of their devices," said Scott Prather, senior director of business development for PlayPhone. Prather said that the platform would launch with 200 games, though he could not disclose any specific titles or developers.

"Within the system you're going to have freemium and premium games--you'll be able to use the carrier billing for both," said Prather.

The news is notable since it comes on almost the same day Verizon said it would remotely remove its now-shuttered app store from existing devices. Verizon launched its VCast Apps in March 2010 as a hub for users to download apps for BlackBerry and Android devices. The offering was later renamed Verizon Apps, but the carrier late last year announced it would shutter the effort.

Further, this isn't the first carrier-billing initiative for Verizon. Last October, Verizon rolled out carrier billing through Google Play, giving users up to a $25 credit line.

The PlayPhone Game Portal will initially be preloaded onto new Verizon devices, Prather explained. He said it will also become available as a download for other Android-enabled Verizon devices. "At this point we are just trying to get the Android one out the door, but beyond that we're interested in exploring those options."

"For developers, it's easy to get in there and get noticed instead of Google Play, "said Prather. "With Verizon you can see a smaller selection of quality, targeted games."

Last month Verizon revealed its own curated lists of top apps for (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and Android users: The Top 20 Must-Have Apps and Android App Reviews by Verizon. In addition, the carrier is keeping a list of high-risk apps that users should be wary of using.

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