Roku quietly added a few more casual games to its devices over the last few days, including one called Herman the Hermit. Herman is nice little platform game, admittedly not exactly earth-shattering – but for Roku, it could be a sign of big things to come.
That’s because Herman arrived on the Roku via Marmalade, an SDK used by game developers to quickly port their games to other platforms. Some of the other games that have used Marmalade in the past include Cut the Rope, Draw Something, Plants vs. Zombies and even Sims 3.
Roku officially rolled out support for casual gaming on its devices when it launched its second-generation hardware two years ago. One of the first notable titles was Angry Birds, and the company said in April that its users had since played more than 12 million hours with Angry Birds and other casual games. And in case you wondered: Roku owners also “eliminated” more than 3 billion pigs in Angry Birds in the same time period. So there’s that.
However, a quick browse of the Roku channel store reveals that the company doesn’t have a whole lot to offer aside from pigs and birds. I counted a total of 61 games, and that already includes a bunch of not-quite-blockbusters like Four in a Row, Reversi and the inevitable photo puzzler.
Thanks to Marmalade, this could soon change. Marmalade has partnerships with some major studios as well as game publishers, and it could help Roku to get more and better casual games, which could one day turn out to be a nice extra source of revenue for the company.
Roku already offers its publishers the ability to charge for apps, and it is in the process of rolling out in-app purchases. Both could be a major draw for game developers, which in turn could mean that many of the games you enjoy on your iPad or phone soon show up on your Roku.