That Other Social Network (No, The Other One) Launches Video Social Gaming

myYearbook is one of those little companies that could, and even when it does, too few people notice. For several years now this social network and people discovery engine has been turning a profit on subscription services and virtual goods. It has 25 million members. Unlike Facebook, which is more about a circle of existing friends communicating and sharing, myYearbook was about finding new people and engaging in online socializing experiences lime virtual games and participating in social applications, contests. This week the company unveils a video component to its social gaming that blends live video chat with online games and adds new opportunities for marketers to join in.

myYearbook Live will let people see and speak with each other in video windows overlaid onto the shared game spaces. The initial partners OMGPOP and Viximo are bringing some of their titles onto the platform to integrate with live chats. The effect could enhance both the sociability of the experience as well as the gameplay. Viximo will be bringing its poker game in for video treatment so now players can look for their competitors 'tell' or put on their best poker face. Likewise it gives video chatters something to talk about rather than endless variants on 'whatsup?'

The company intends to leverage several monetization models against the new feature. Video advertising is just one opportunity here, but there is also the possibility of tying video ads into the virtual currency that members often spend to play these games and use other apps.

Video would seem to be a natural next step for social gaming, and in the long run it certainly could inspire new content and marketing models from both video advertisers and game developers. A well-executed video chat/gaming system could open up this enormously popular genre to much more visually engaging exchanges (Charades, anyone?) and even persistent presence for a brand in-frame or sponsored contests. Right now, video is being imagined as a simple extension of casual gaming as we know it. But in a fuller form, video should get us beyond the online game genres we now know.

myYearbook is one of the more interesting under-reported stories in recent Web lore, and it has been at the leading edge of other social networking trends like virtual currency. The brand was conceived by the brother and sister team of Catherine and Dave Cook when they were still in high school in 2005. They are still both in college, in fact. They needed the adult help of older brother Geoff Cook, who had himself founded an Internet company when he was still at Harvard in 1997. Others, including former IAB head Greg Stuart are involved now, as well as a load of VC money.

2 comments about "That Other Social Network (No, The Other One) Launches Video Social Gaming".
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  1. Scott Maxworthy from Max Media & Entertainment, December 2, 2010 at 2:51 p.m.

    Like it - combines a coulple of the next two major online trends (video and gaming) to be built upon the social connect layer.

    Good post.

  2. Karl Hourigan, December 2, 2010 at 3:06 p.m.

    This idea sounds like fun!

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