The eBay-owned web communications company Skype is introducing a new casual games portal - and is courting developers to provide content.Skype's Game Channel joins its voice over IP service and follows in the footsteps of casual-orientated pack-in games like those found with Microsoft Messenger.
However Skype and the operator/creator of its games offer, Easybits, have unveiled an aggressive move to secure and encourage content for the channel in the form of the Skype Game Developer Program.
The Skype Game Developer Program provides free SDK and tools while promising third-pary developers access to the almost 200 million registered Skype users worldwide - distribution, DRM and e-commerce is all handled through the Skype software.
Skype will provide technical support in order to help studios make games already produced compatible with Skype and its GameXN framework ('something as easy as writing a few lines of code' says the company - games can be Java or Flash-based), and will also be asking to review and approve all games submitted. Skype users will also be able to play games against each other while making calls.
Director of the Skype Developer Program, Paul Amery, announced the move today during a keynote address at TMC's Communications Developer Conference.
“Skype users are doing more than just placing voice calls and we are constantly looking for new ways to enhance their overall internet communications experience,” said Amery.
“People are increasingly using Skype to interact with one another, with many choosing to play simple games like checkers or backgammon. However, the tremendous size of Skype’s user-base makes it an ideal environment for multi-player and community-based games in which people can play against or collaborate with one another.
“We hope the Skype Game Channel becomes a popular entertainment destination within the Skype community. Our goal is to make it as easy and profitable as possible for the developers, while keeping it simple and fun for consumers to use,” added Amery.