TikTok is gigantic – the video-sharing app, which is particularly popular among young people, has more than a billion active users and is expected to generate around $11 billion in revenue this year. The app is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company, and was initially launched in 2016 before a rebranding and global launch in 2017, since then its popularity has skyrocketed to the point that on some days it challenges Google as a site. most popular web in the world.
Now ByteDance is looking to expand on what TikTok is doing, and one of the goals is a big push into gaming. As first reported by Reuters, TikTok has been testing games on the app in the Vietnamese market, with plans to roll out its gaming elements more widely in Southeast Asia by the end of the year. Chinese TikTokers have been able to play games on the service for quite some time now.
I really get Newgrounds vibes here, because the nature of TikTok – short videos, video replies, loops and virality – seems so well suited to a particular style of play. Because of my age, I’m going to call them Flash games, but you know what I mean: those two-minute experiences you noodle in, the biting game session.
TikTok already has a few isolated games floating around: Zynga’s Disco Loco 3D was the first HTML5 game to be developed for the platform, and launched smoothly. “We see a tremendous opportunity to reach new audiences around the world through TikTok’s massive and unprecedented user base,” said Bernard Kim at the time, president of publishing. “Zynga has a rich history of creating games that use the platforms’ unique user experiences to bring new and fun concepts that resonate with gamers wherever and whenever they get their entertainment.”
Another obvious source for games will be ByteDance itself, which has dabbled in making more “gamey” apps like Party Island (think: Casual Sims) in the past. The developer acquired game studio Moonton Technology last year, and its push into games follows the path taken by many social media companies.
The takeaway here isn’t that TikTok is going to make games – after all, it’s been doing so in its home market for years. It’s that the company behind it sees games as one of the primary ways to engage and retain its massive player base on the platform. It won’t produce stuff that will challenge your RTX 3090 but, with this audience and the instant nature of the platform, these will become some of the most played video games in the world.