Hundreds of millions of users, especially in developing markets, don’t own high-end smartphones and can’t afford fast data plans to enjoy a lot of things on the web.
Google has explored several ways to better serve this segment of the user base. He has tried partnerships to make the Internet more affordable for tens of millions of users. He has worked with smartphone manufacturers to bring reliable Android experience to cheap smartphones. In fact, he is currently working on a project with telecom operator Jio Platforms in India to further lower the price of a decent Android experience.
For mobile games, however, Google has a slightly different idea of reaching users. Area 120, Google’s in-house incubator for experimental projects, launched GameSnacks last year. It’s an HTML5 gaming platform, where the titles are small in size and they load a lot faster and consume a lot less resources due to the way they were designed.
And this idea seems to work.
Google said on Tuesday that over the past year it has made inroads with GameSnacks, and is now ready to evolve the platform and test monetization models to make it worthwhile for developers. games.
In an exclusive interview with TechCrunch, Ani Mohan, Managing Director of GameSnacks, said that the platform has racked up over 100 titles and millions of users.
“HTML5 games are growing, especially outside the United States. HTML5 is a great way to deliver games to users who have just logged in and who have probably never played games online before. These games are multi-device, run on a low bandwidth connection, and are immediately playable as they don’t require users to install files, ”he said.
These single player games, which run on any device with RAM as low as 1GB and a 2G to 3G data connection, are available to users through the GameSnacks website. They can be read on the desktop as well as Chrome on an iPhone or iPad (if you wanted to give it a whirl).
Today, the company is using its scale to extend the reach and discoverability of GameSnacks. Mohan said that in recent weeks GameSnacks games have been made available from Chrome’s New Tab page for users in India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Kenya.
In India, Google’s largest user market, GameSnacks games are also coming to Google Pay. The company is also experimenting with integrating GameSnacks games into the Discover stream.
Mohan said the company is starting these integrations in some countries, as this is where many users face the challenges that the platform is trying to overcome. “We see this as a first step in the experiment. If it goes well, we will love to expand it, ”he said.
Additionally, Mohan said the company is trying to bring GameSnacks games to the Google Assistant.
“Now that few of these integrations are live, one of the things we hope to do is talk to the developers and let them know that there is an easy way to access Google,” he said.
The developers of GameSnacks currently monetize their games through a non-exclusive licensing model. Mohan said the team, which consists of six people (although more people from Google are contributing), are working to help these developers monetize their games using AdSense for next-gen games ad formats. .
“We want to help them build viable businesses over time, so we’ll start experimenting with advertising on the platform,” he said. However, that will be for a number of GameSnacks games at this time.
Emerging markets such as Africa and Asia are not new to the world of HTML games. In India, for example, a gaming platform called Gamezop raised $ 4.2 million last year to expand its HTML5 games to reach more developers and integrate them into more than 1,000 apps.
In 2018, South African telecommunications company MTN Group launched the Bonus Bucks HTML5 gaming portal for its subscribers in the southern African country. Facebook operated HTML5 instant games on Messenger for years until it was taken out of the messaging service. A quick search of our own archives returns dozens of companies that have worked on HTML5 games in the past, although we’ve seen fewer examples in recent years.
Mohan remains optimistic that there is a great opportunity for HTML games and it extends beyond Africa and Asia. “We don’t see these markets as our only option. These are just the markets we are starting with because the need for HTML5 games… is particularly compelling. We think the size of the market is much larger because HTML has users all over the world, ”he said.