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Skype Got Game? Too Little, Too Late?

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Om just passed along the news that Skype just launched a Game Developer Program, replete with their own branded Game Channel, and a dev kit so folks can create third party games that run over Skype, and make them money. This is a great idea bound to succeed– rather, it would have been, if it had been launched a few years ago. Now, they’re competing in an already crowded market.

VOIP is essential for hardcore gamers who depend on group chat for split-second teamwork in Counterstrike, World of Warcraft, and other online multiplayer games. Thing is, there are already a number of established VOIP providers in the game space, like Teamspeak, Ventrillo, and Xfire, and it’ll be difficult for Skype to rebrand itself as a game channel provider, especially for gamers who have been using services like those for years.

Then again, hardcore gamers are just a small fraction of a much larger market, and the real potential for a large audience is in casual games. If Skype’s game channel can come up with a few hits that truly leverage voice communication, they could taste success in their latest initiative.

3 Responses to “Skype Got Game? Too Little, Too Late?”

  1. Shai Berger

    I think your analysis is a bit off the mark. I was at the announcement and the Skype guy was very clear that they aren’t after “heavy” games like WoW. This program is for light casual games like backgammon or checkers. Very different target market. (Partly this is a technical matter, since the games have to be downloaded, so they can’t be large.)

    An interesting comparison is how RealNetworks launched RealArcade, which seems tangential, but continues to be a money maker for them.

  2. an already crowded market, yes. 50+ mil actual users alread on the skype network…daily 10 million concurrent users….whats not to like about that. You have a network of people, you are just adding another service.