Heyzap Brings Location Awareness And Netflix-Style Recommendations To Mobile Games

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Heyzap, the social discovery platform for mobile and online games, has been hard at work adding pieces to its mobile experience. The startup recently brought check-ins to its mobile platform, allowing users to check-in to their favorite games to share scores and achievements on Facebook and Twitter. This also included, a la Foursquare, a badge rewards system, in which gamers can become the “boss” of a game by checking in with gusto.

And, like Foursquare, Heyzap has been collecting data on those check-ins, and is today offering free, personalized game recommendations and locations on game check-ins for Android. (The iOS update will be available at the end of the week.) This update continues to add functionality to Heyzap as a mobile platform: With the ridiculous amount of games out there in the mobile market, game discovery — especially personalized discovery — is essential.

Heyzap Founders Jude Gomila and Immad Akhund think that collaborative filtering and serving users recommendations based on the number of times they’ve checked-in to a certain game is a more effective method than, say, purchase history. Instead, Heyzap’s collaborative filtering algorithm takes a user’s play history account, so if you’ve been checking-in aggressively to Angry Birds, Heyzap will take this info (and how many times you play the game, for example) to recommend games to you based on people with similar gaming preferences. It’s not unlike Netflix’s recommendation system for movies, but in this case, Heyzap is employing your social gaming graph.

Another interesting addition to Heyzap’s Android app is location data. If a user is willing to give permission to their friends, they will be able to see not only that their friends are checking into certain games but where. Unless you have friends that will be checking-in from the moon, this may not seem particularly mind-blowing at first, but Heyzap plans on bringing this data to its APIs, which will allow developers to create location-based tournaments and multiplayer sessions.

“Location is an exciting area that hasn’t really been explored in gaming”, says Heyzap CTO James Smith. “Heyzap plans to open up a range of possibilities for users and developers by using location data combined with games’ check-in data. Imagine being able to play a mobile chess game against people on your block”. Pretty cool.

Location is also another important element in the data library Heyzap is building based on user check-in history — the more users check-in, the better its recommendations become — and the more data it collects, the better Heyzap is able to identify trends and “what’s hot” among gamers. Something that benefits everyone.

The Y Combinator alum has raised $3.6 million in capital from Union Square Ventures and other angel investors since its launch in 2008.

A quick note for those interested in taking advantage of Heyzap’s recommendation feature: Users have to download the update in the Android Marketplace, whereupon a third “recommendations tab” will show up in the Heyzap app. You can find it here.