Pokki Game Network Launches At GDC, Bringing Traditional Download Channels To Web-Based Games

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Pokki, the web-to-desktop game conversion service from SweetLabs, has focused on web-based games and apps to the desktop, sort of like apps like Fluid do with site-specific browsers, but with a centralized marketplace and a number of tools to help make sure monetization tools like in-app purchases also translate as software moves from living in a social network like Facebook to being a standalone desktop experience. Now, it’s adding to its appeal for developers with the Pokki Game Network, which brings in additional distribution channels.

The Pokki Game Network adds distribution through BitTorrent, Download.com, Softonic and the Windows Store to Pokki’s existing channel of its own digital storefront for Pokki games. The idea is to take advantage of the channels that users are already turning to for locally-downloaded software, in addition to their existing distribution on the web via Facebook, Google+ and other social networks.

Pokki says that its games drive higher engagement than those that reside solely on the web, by up to 300 percent according to its own data. It also says ARPU is higher when compared to web, Facebook and Chrome apps, since it can be accessed without logging into a social network first, and also because Pokki comes with the ability to deliver real-time desktop notifications.

“We’ve got a few different entities we’re trying to help here,” Chester Ng, SweetLabs co-founder and CMO explained in an interview. “One is the web or social game developer who has built this great browser-based game but the main challenge is ‘how do I get this in front of users?’ They spent a lot of time and money on Facebook as the main way to do that, but what we try to do is provide them another user acquisition channel.”

The new channels reached by the Pokki Game Network makes up hundreds of millions of users per month, Ng says, which is why the company is happy to now offer that expanded audience to its developer partners. As we’ve seen in the past, depending too heavily on one platform in particular doesn’t end up being the best of strategies, as Zynga learned late last year.

Pokki’s revenue arrangement with developers is essentially a pay-per-install model, in which developers reward Pokki based on how successfully it helps them reach new users. With the Pokki Game Network, the company now shares its revenue to its new distribution channel partners, meaning they not only get access to an expanded library of titles, but also open up new revenue opportunities.

SweetLabs may seem like it’s fighting against the tide in bringing web-based software to the desktop, but the numbers show there’s still strong appetite for downloadable software, and for social game developers, that’s an opportunity to grow their audience that’s best not left on the table.