Social gaming outfit GSN Games has announced what it hopes will be a game-changer in the real-money mobile games sector.
Called Sparcade, and led by ex-XBLA and Battle.net exec Greg Canessa, it combines new skill-based versions of casual games such as Tetris and Pac-Man with real-money tournaments.
Currently operating in closed beta, with a launch on iOS (to be followed by Android) planned for later in 2016, the Sparcade app will act as a portal for carefully selected titles.
Four titles have been revealed with more to be announced. Those four are:
- Pac-Man from Bandai Namco,
- Scrabble from Hasbro,
- Tetris Burst from EA and The Tetris Company, and
- Solitaire TriPeaks from GSN Games.
Each game has been re-developed specifically for Sparcade, both to introduce competitive gameplay and to ensure that it's 100% skill-based; that's a legal requirement for games on which money can be wagered.
Indeed, while allowing players to spend money is a key part of the initiative, there remain legal restrictions in terms of where such activities can be offered.
For example, the UK, Germany and 40 of the 50 US states allow this and Sparcade uses the mobile device's GPS chip to ensure real-money tournaments can be offered. In other locations, players can only wager in-game currency.
According to Canessa, Sparcade has been in development for over two years.
We are taking the long view on this business.Greg Canessa
An extension of GSN Games' existing social casino business - the business is owned by Sony Pictures and AT&T and includes TV channels and web games - a key element is how the appeal of well-known social games is being combined with a strong social element and meta-game progression.
"We are taking the long view on this business, as is our parent company, Sony," Canessa commented in a blog post.
"We have built Sparcade as a platform that evolves over time, layering in additional games and features.
"For us, it's a marathon, not a sprint, and we are dedicated to building the product and service for the long term alongside our partners."
You can find out more details as they become available on the Sparcade website.