A new platform for third-party game developers has been launched by Yahoo with facilities for authenticating players, charging for games, and social sharing.
Yahoo is moving more into the gaming market. In May 2013 it bought PlayerScale, a company that develops infrastructure software for cross-platform gaming and the new Yahoo Games Network is based partially on that technology.
Alongside the Games Network, Yahoo has launched Yahoo Classic Games, a set of well-known games such as Poker, Pool and Bingo that work on the Web, Android devices, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.
The ability to target multiple types of device would be a major advantage for game developers.
Other games in the classic lineup include KingsRoad, The Last Stand: Deadzone, Ballistic, Bingo Blingo, Rise of Mythos, Vegas World and Slotomania.
In a blog post about the new network, Jesper Jenson, GM of Yahoo Games say:
“We’re already working with some of the best developers in the industry like Rumble Entertainment, DreamWorks, SGN, ChangYou, Namco Bandai America, Playtika, FlowPlay, Con Artist Games and many more on web and mobile.”
It is, of course, hoping to attract developers who want to use this cross platform network to:
reach the untapped gaming audience of Yahoo’s 800 million users worldwide (including 400 million users on mobile).
Notice however that this untapped audience is only untapped on Yahoo - they may well already have access to your games via some other route. It is unlikely that Yahoo's figure of 800 million represents a completely new market.
As is standard on other platforms, Yahoo will take a 30 percent fee with 70 percent going to developers.
Games on the new network need to be integrated with the Yahoo Games Canvas system, an interface that acts as a starting point for getting information about the user, and getting access to all the other features.
There are client libraries for C#, Flash, Unity, Android and iOS. But to be clear, all you get are the interfaces to the game management system - registering players, charging players, multiplayer modes etc. How you actually implement, and to what platforms you deliver, your game is up to you.
At the moment the documentation is skewed towards Flash and ActionScript and this really does give the whole thing a "classic" games feel.