TikTok is getting much more serious about gaming, according to a new report from Reuters. The social video platform is already testing mobile games with users in Vietnam, due to the country's high concentration of younger smartphone owners. Eventually, TikTok plans to roll out games more broadly in Asia and possibly other markets as well.
This isn't parent company ByteDance's first foray into gaming. The company partnered with Zynga last November to release an exclusive dance game, Disco Loco 3D. “We see a tremendous opportunity to reach new audiences across the globe through TikTok’s massive and unparalleled user base," Zynga Publishing President Bernard Kim said at the time.
TikTok also partnered with the nonprofit Feeding America to release a mini-game, Garden of Good, in June of last year. Users of ByteDance's version of TikTok for the Chinese market, called Douyin, have been able to play mini-games and other gaming content since 2019.
For TikTok, gaming represents a major growth opportunity and a way to keep user engagement high, similar in ways to Netflix's recent push into mobile gaming and Facebook parent company Meta's Instant Games platform. The global mobile games industry is expected to surpass $100 billion this year, and the market is overwhelmingly fueled by free-to-play games ranging from casual puzzle and endless runner games to complex versions of console and PC titles like miHoYo's Genshin Impact, Krafton's PUBG Mobile and Roblox.
TikTok will focus at first on mini-games in the hypercasual space, according to Reuters, and the first slate of releases could arrive as early as this fall. It's unclear whether the company intends to build games itself — ByteDance last year did acquire a mobile gaming studio called Moonton — or if it will continue to license games from third parties like Zynga and others.
Correction: This story has been updated to correct the name of Garden of Good. This story was updated May 19, 2022.