TikTok plans big push in gaming, testing in Vietnam

TikTok plans big push in gaming, testing in Vietnam

The TikTok app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken July 13, 2021. Photo — REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
The TikTok app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken July 13, 2021. Photo — REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
  • A representative from TikTok said the company had tested bringing in HTML5 games.
  • TikTok will need a license to offer games on its platform in Vietnam.
  • According to two sources, TikTok plans to rely primarily on Byte Dance’s game suite.

HONG KONG/HANOI: TikTok has carried out tests so users can play games on its video-sharing app in Vietnam, as part of plans for a major push in gaming, four people familiar with the matter have said.

Offering games on its platform would increase ad revenue as well as the time users spend on the app – one of the most popular in the world with more than a billion monthly active users.

Boasting a tech-savvy population with 70% of its citizens under the age of 35, Vietnam is an attractive market for social media platforms such as TikTok, Facebook by Meta Platforms Inc (FB.O) and YouTube by ‘Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) and Google.

TikTok, which is owned by China’s Byte Dance, also plans to roll out the games more widely in Southeast Asia, the people said. This decision could come as early as the third quarter, said two of them.

The sources declined to be identified as the information has not yet been made public.

A TikTok representative said the company has been testing the integration of HTML5 games, a common form of mini-game, into its app through ties with third-party game developers and studios such as Zynga Inc (ZNGA.O ). But he declined to comment on his plans for Vietnam or his wider playing ambitions.

“We are always looking for ways to enrich our platform and regularly test new features and integrations that bring value to our community,” the representative said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

Byte Dance did not respond to a request for comment.

Reuters was unable to learn of TikTok’s plans to roll out gaming features in other markets. Although TikTok users can stream games, in most regions they cannot play games in the TikTok app.

In the US, only a few games appear to have launched including Zynga’s “Disco Loco 3D”, a music and dance challenge game and “Garden of Good”, where players grow vegetables to trigger donations from TikTok. to the association Feeding America.

According to two sources, TikTok plans to rely primarily on Byte Dance’s game suite.

While the company will start with mini-games, which tend to have simple game mechanics and short playtime, its gaming ambitions extend beyond that, said one of the people who had direct knowledge of the subject.

TikTok will need a license to offer games on its platform in Vietnam, where authorities restrict games depicting gambling, violence and sexual content. The process should go smoothly as the planned games are non-controversial, the person said.

Vietnam’s foreign affairs and communications ministries did not respond to requests for comment.

Douyin users of Byte Dance, the Chinese version of TikTok, have been able to play games on the platform since 2019.

TikTok’s games are likely to run ads from the start, with revenue split between Byte Dance and game developers, a separate source said.

TikTok’s foray into games mirrors similar efforts by big tech companies looking to retain users. Facebook launched Instant Games in 2016, and streaming company Netflix (NFLX.O) also recently added games to its platform.

It also marks ByteDance’s latest effort to establish itself as a major competitor in the gaming space. It acquired Shanghai-based games studio Moonton Technology last year, putting it in direct competition with Tencent (0700.HK), China’s biggest games company.

Even without the game, TikTok saw its advertising revenue increase. Its ad revenue is expected to triple this year to more than $11 billion, surpassing the combined sales of Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) and Snap Inc (SNAP.N), according to research firm Insider Intelligence.

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