Nearly a year after acquiring gaming infrastructure startup PlayerScale, Yahoo is launching a gaming distribution portal called the Yahoo Games Network. To that end, the company has already lined up partnerships with developers, including Rumble Entertainment, DreamWorks, SGN, ChangYou, Namco and Bandai America.
Yahoo promised in a blog post that the new platform would benefit third-party developers “who want distribution of the Yahoo network in addition to easy onboarding services that help them authenticate players, monetize their games, provide social sharing, analytics and ongoing operational support for growth.”
The games network spanning the Web and mobile will also encompass classic Yahoo offerings, like Yahoo Poker and Yahoo Bingo, as well as other hits, like "KingsRoad, The Last Stand: Deadzone" and "Rise of Mythos."
The move comes as Yahoo is stepping up its competition against Facebook in the games and app space, as it begins testing app-install ads to help drive downloads. App-install ads have proven to be a lucrative revenue stream for Facebook. Yahoo would surely like to duplicate that success, and its games platform would provide a ready source of potential advertisers.
Yahoo also recently began removing the ability for people to access its properties using their Facebook or Google log-in credentials, tightening its grip on the user data that drives ad targeting. As part of Yahoo’s broader mobile push, the company has also upgraded many of its key apps and increased its mobile audience to 400 million, or about half its total user base globally.
The company is using that mobile audience as a selling point for developers as their focus increasingly shifts to devices. In connection with the Games Developer Conference, Facebook separately said in a blog post Wednesday that 375 million people play Facebook Games on mobile and in-browser each month.