Viximo Goes After Mobile Game Developers With Launch Of Social Zone

Viximo, originally a virtual goods marketplace until moving into web-based social game distribution a couple of years back, is shifting yet again. This time, Viximo is moving to mobile. Today, the company is introducing a platform for mobile game developers called Social Zone which delivers a modular set of tools that developers can pick and choose from in order to make their games more social, including messaging, social presence, social graph, notifications, recommendations and more.

This backend toolkit shares some similarities with other service providers operating in this space, including companies like Urban Airship, Parse, and StackMob, for example. Like those, Viximo is meant to do some of the heavy lifting in terms of integrating different types of functionality into developers’ apps to help speed the time to market.

But the difference with Viximo’s offering, CEO Dale Strang tells us, is that Viximo has been built from the ground-up to be social.

“The problem we found in the game developer world,” explains Strang, “is that if you’re a game developer, it’s not easy to create the same kind of social mechanics and backend functionality that you would find on the web, like on Facebook or another social network,” he says. “Developers are challenged to access the social graph of the user, or do cross-platform notifications, for example.”

Strang also believes that a lot of the platforms serving this market now are built around things that harken back to an era he calls “mobile gaming 1.0.” They offer things like leaderboards, achievements, and other features that are reminiscent of console gaming.

Viximo’s APIs, on the other hand, have been designed purely for social, mobile gaming, Strang explains.

The platform includes four major components: social graph, presence, messaging/push notifications, and recommendations. The pieces are modular, too, which means developers can choose those they want, then customize to meet their needs. And developers only have to pay for what they use, of course.

One interesting feature in Viximo’s platform is the the social networking integration. This piece lets you see if your Facebook and Twitter friends, or those from your address book, are available to play with. The function is updated continually in Viximo’s platform, so that every time a user logs in, they can be alerted to new friends who may have recently joined the network. They can also see which friends are currently online, what games they’re playing and supports messaging them invites to play.

For now, the challenge for Viximo is to grow its network. Without developer support,   none of these social features would have much impact. And since Viximo hasn’t been beta testing the product at scale, the network will start off small. But Viximo has a lot of history working in the gaming space, if not necessarily on mobile. And the mobile gaming ecosystem is still new enough for platforms like this one to have potential.

The mobile toolkit is available now for iOS and Android here on Viximo’s website. Pricing details have not yet been worked out, but it will be free while in beta.