TikTok Moves Beyond Videos Into Mobile Gaming

Get ready to spend even more time on TikTok.

While you go to TikTok to watch trending dance challenges or enjoy the comforts of your favorite niche of the social media site, the company wants to give you another reason to spend even more time there.

Despite being the fastest-growing property in the social-media sphere — a billion monthly users and counting as of 2021 — the Chinese-owned site understands that it has to continually innovate to remain relevant.

This challenge has also plagued long-reigning social-media giant Twitter  (TWTR) – Get Twitter, Inc. Report, which added Spaces in November 2020 as a way to freshen up the platform. 

Despite its efforts, however, Twitter continues to decline in popularity over time. And bigger change is on the horizon as Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report CEO Elon Musk has made clear his intent to buy it. (We’ll see whether he goes through with the purchase.)

TikTok, on the other hand, understands what its primarily young audience enjoys. And now it’s using that knowledge to move into a new arena, one in which it could very possibly have great success.


A Reason to Spend Even More Time on TikTok

Once considered the domain of only videogame enthusiasts, mobile games have found a much bigger audience, capturing the attention of more than half the U.S.

NPD reports that 63% of the population across the U.S. and Canada played them in 2021. That’s 227.8 million people enjoying the media on their phones. 

This is a clear signal that people are more interested in gaming than ever. And according to a new report from Reuters, TikTok wants to make mobile games a part of its platform.

Reuters’s sources say that ByteDance, TikTok’s parent, is conducting tests in Vietnam to potentially add mobile games to its platform.

This makes sense after its $4 billion acquisition of Chinese gaming developer MoonTon in 2021. MoonTon’s “Mobile Legends” mobile game is a huge hit in China, making millions every year as the player base continues to grow.

Its success is also challenging the likes of Tencent, the world’s largest videogame publisher, which is currently taking in billions every quarter in the mobile market.

TIkTok also plans to roll out gaming in its app for Southeast Asian users, a move that could come as soon as Q3. 

While Reuters sources say that the games would be simple at first, ByteDance has also signaled that it has bigger ambitions in the space as well.

Whether ByteDance aims to roll out gaming to the U.S. market just yet is unclear.

Why Does TikTok Want to Add Games?

The answer is simple: money. The game industry raked in $60.4 billion in 2021, an 8% increase from the previous year, and social media companies want a piece of it. 

It’s a strategy other big companies are trying, too, the most recent being Netflix  (NFLX) – Get Netflix, Inc. Report, which started paving the road into the gaming space in 2021

Meta  (MVRS) – Get Meta Report has also made a huge push into gaming after buying the virtual reality company Oculus and rebranding it as its own. CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s obsession with the metaverse has become more than apparent.

But the success of this approach is heavily rooted in the audience that uses the product. The Entertainment Software Association reports that nearly 40% of gamers are between ages 18 and 34, which lines up nicely with TikTok’s youthful user base. 

Also, ByteDance has already explored this space with some success. Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, launched its first in-app mobile game in 2019.

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