Having made its name via the proliferation of short-form videos, social media giant TikTok has announced the first-ever expansion of its entertainment offerings into gaming.
TikTok users will soon be able to access a variety of mobile games through a dedicated tab on the home page, where they will have the option to pay for additional content. The new gaming channel will provide revenue opportunities through in-game ads and purchases.
The global gaming industry is worth almost $197 billion in 2022, with mobile games accounting for more than half of the revenue at just over $103 billion -- a 5% YoY increase from 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought a boost to the gaming industry, with 14.4 billion mobile games downloaded from Apple’s and Google’s app stores during the first quarter of 2022 alone.
According to GlobalData forecasts, new games and esports have also played a role in the success of mobile gaming, which will account for 58% of the predicted $470 billion video games market by 2030.
“Thus, gaming is a lucrative opportunity for TikTok to expand its user base and add new revenue channels for long-term growth,” Charlotte Newton, analyst in thematic intelligence at GlobalData, told MediaPost.
TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, is no stranger to game development and is likely aiming to bring its own games to this new channel, especially because of the Chinese government’s recent crackdown on gaming laws in the past year.
“ByteDance has established a stronghold in the gaming sector in a short time with its acquisitions and massive user base,” adds Rupantar Guha, principal analyst in thematic intelligence at GlobalData. “Reportedly, 90% of mobile gamers on TikTok watch gaming content, with 33% stating a specific interest in esports. ByteDance will push harder in the gaming sector in the next two years, challenging Tencent and NetEase in the Chinese market and expanding its footprint globally.”
TikTok is entering the space after other tech giants have failed in gaming. Snap Inc. recently announced that it would be discontinuing investment in its gaming offering, and Facebook shut down its gaming app last week. Earlier this month, Google said it would be shuttering its cloud gaming service Stadia.
Still, streaming leader Netflix has maintained a successful mobile games channel, with 55 games in development and 35 on the platform now. It also recently announced a new studio in Southern California and hinted at a potential cloud gaming service of its own.
TikTok’s new channel could be announced as soon as November 2 at “TikTok Made Me Play It.” This will be TikTok’s “first gaming event” and will feature speakers from gaming groups Electronic Arts, 2K, VNG Corporation, NetEase Games and Homa, The Financial Times reports.