The world’s biggest game retailer GameStop is building more bridges into the digital realm, as its Kongregate division announced it will invest $10 million into mobile game developers. Like other companies that are expanding from the web to mobile, Kongregate is using a familiar tactic of buying the love of developers for its platform.
The new mobile gaming initiative will provide financial assistance, consulting services and marketing support for developers that create free-to-play mobile titles for Kongregate’s platform. GameStop will promote the mobile titles across its network. That’s a big deal for developers, since more than 500 million people walk into GameStop stores every year. Mobile game discovery is still one of the thorniest problems that small developers face, so exposure on GameStop’s network could be as important as its cash.
The company also announced that former Zynga executive Pany Haritatos has joined Kongregate to head the mobile games unit. Haritatos, who has eight years of mobile and web gaming experience, will lead Kongregate’s in-house game development on top of running the mobile game division. Kongregate’s business is mostly on the web, but like other companies, it sees riches in mobile gaming.
“Developers are increasingly finding it harder to get their games discovered through the different app stores,” said Haritatos. “I personally faced these challenges in 2009 while managing my own game studio. Utilizing the Kongregate platform made my games successful, which ultimately led to my studio being acquired by Zynga.”
Kongregate will help developers complete games and provide consultation on how to help monetize, advertise, and test them. Kongregate can promote games across GameStop’s web presence, social media, iOS and Android apps, and its 6,600 retail stores. The digital outreach alone reaches more than 50 million hardcore gamers. San Francisco-based Kongregate was started in 2006 by brother-sister team Jim and Emily Gree. They sold it to GameStop in 2011. Kongregate has more than 15 million monthly unique visitors who play games for 28 million hours a month.
GameStop is relaunching a mobile app with new functions for developers to get their games discovered by up to 22 million GameStop PowerUp Rewards members.
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