Interview

Palringo on the powerful convergence of mobile messaging and gaming

Palringo on the powerful convergence of mobile messaging and gaming

There are plenty of stereotypes about gamers, but the truth is that as a group, they're incredibly social.

Shared in-game experiences have proven to be strong glue for building communities, something that UK social messaging platform Palringo is now actively building on.

Indeed, the company has been actively involved in building up its gaming capabilities since the stealth acquisition of Swedish mobile game developer Free Lunch Design (previously called Muskedunder Interactive) in April 2014.

"To be honest, we hadn't heard of Palringo before it approached us," says Magnus Alm, then Free Lunch's CEO, now Palringo's CMO.

"We'd previously been approached by companies looking to buy us but we weren't interested in becoming a sweatshop for a big player.

"We wanted to retain creative control."

A new path

That stated, Alm is happy to concede that Free Lunch was coming to the conclusion that staying independent wasn't necessarily going to provide the company with a solid future.

"We knew that access to app stores was becoming more difficult for small indies like us, who didn't have a lot of user acquisition spend," he agrees. "Independence was becoming harder."

Discussions with Palringo CEO Tim Rea demonstrated, however, a win-win opportunity to combine the best of mobile gaming with the virality of its messaging platform.

"The convergence of messaging and gaming is a big opportunity," Alm says.

"The acquisition has enabled us to take our creativity to the next level."

Rocket fuel

In terms of how integration between games and messaging is progressing, Palringo is approaching the problem in two ways.

"We've released some simple games such as Hangman into the chat context, but we're also working on native games that will deeply integrate within the Palringo platform," Alm says.

These include a monster nurturing game with strong community elements as well as a card-based game.

"We're bringing games into the Palringo community that's strongly aligned to gaming," Alm says, pointing out that gaming is already one of the company's key revenue generators.

On that basis, there's plenty of future opportunities, both in terms of the internally-developed games the company is working on, as well as externally-developed content, with the eventual goal of opening up the platform even more widely via an SDK.

"The opportunity for growth is now," says Alm.


Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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