“Social” continues to be the game industry’s buzzword. Big companies like EA have bought their way into social gaming, *Microsoft* just added a slew of new social features to Xbox LIVE, and of course, there are all the social game company fundings.
Now Heyzap wants in on the buzz, so it has launched a new “social” achievement platform that lets people that love playing casual games share their stats on Facebook and Twitter, as well as earn virtual currency in exchange for getting high scores.
Backed by a seed round of funding from Union Square Ventures and private investors like Del.ici.ous founder Joshua Schechter, Heyzap first launched a widget that made it easy for publishers to add Flash-based games to their sites. The company then rolled out a payments system to support virtual goods (per VentureBeat). The new platform ties it all together, meaning players can spend money for virtual goods, or just spend more time playing to earn credits.
The social achievements platform can also increase engagement for both publishers and Flash game developers, since giving people the ability to connect with their friends could potentially keep them playing games on a single site, instead of clicking over to Facebook or Twitter. Increased engagement means more time spent, so publishers can potentially serve more ads in and around the games.
Heyzap ultimately plans to launch a universal profile that will let players keep track of their scores, credits and achievements across multiple games; this would also be a boon for big publishers like Hearst and iVillage that have casual game sections on their sites, since it helps reinforce the “community” feel.