Heyzap has added a cool new feature to its social platform for mobile games — the ability to actually start playing games with other users.
The app already allowed users to check-in to games that they were playing (either manually in the Heyzapp app, or automatically through its many SDK integrations), to earn badges, and to find other players and games. However, in order to actually start playing a game with someone else, users had to manually share their in-game usernames with each other. That’s something “tons of users” were doing, says co-founder Jude Gomila, but it’s not exactly a graceful solution.
So Heyzap has built its own integration with what Gomila claims is every single mobile multiplayer game (he says there are about 800). When you look at the main navigation screen in Heyzap (pictured below), there’s a Play With Friends section showing off some of the multiplayer games in the system. Once you tap on a game, you bring up a list of other Heyzap users who want to play, and who have entered their game usernames into the app. Once you enter your own username, you can start sending and receiving gameplay invitations, and then get started playing.
Gomila says that allowing users to easily start a game with strangers is a key component to the “gaming graph” that Heyzap is trying to build, and he predicts it could become the app’s “biggest feature.” After all, he points out that the the social games on Facebook allow you to play against Facebook friends, but that only works if your friends are actually active in a given game. That’s why games like Draw Something already include the ability to play against random opponents. Heyzap has turned itself into a central location where you can find other players.
Gomila adds that this feature was only something Heyzap could introduce now, or at least recently. When the company first got into mobile, the app had to be valuable “independent of network effect,” but now it can add features that depend on having a sizable user base. (The app has now been installed 8 million times, and it has a five-star rating in iTunes.)