Everyone's heard of competitive Starcraft in South Korea but most people don't imagine Android gamers to be competitive hard-nosed gamblers. That's about to change, as Skillz, a multiplayer tournament platform for Android allowing players to wager real money on skill-based games, is now in open beta. This opens up a brave new world of competitive gaming for Android users.
The platform itself is free, but, if you want to earn money, you need to buy into tournaments hosted by developers. Here's how it works: suppose you wager $2 in a match of Big Sport Fishing 3D against four other players, so the pot is $10. Skillz and the developer take 10% of the pot, $1 leaving you with a profit of $9 if you win. The idea is that when you have some free time on the train, you can entertain yourself and make some money at the same time.
Of course, not all tournaments go for that much. Some wagers are as little as 25 cents, but the total sums exchanged are considerable; Skillz operates on volume, which should allow both the platform and game developers to effectively monetize their games. Skillz's design and development is primed to take advantage of the fact that 68% of devices are Android but 80% of the revenue is going to iOS developers Moreover, developers split the profits with Skillz without needing to charge for their games, a significant boon for developers used to the hefty cut Apple receives for games published on iOS.
You can try your skill in any of the games listed below, Skillz says that they will randomized to ensure that players have the same conditions but some of them seem a little tenuous. The monetization strategy will depend on the ease of transferring classic games into a paid gambling system as much as the "quality" of the game (the traditional index for videogames). The games have to reward good play as much as luck or players will feel they're pouring money away fruitlesly. With this in mind, here's our analysis for Skillz's launch title:
3D Cave Runner: 3D Cave Runner is, as you might imagine, a runner game. This makes some sense, as players can compare how far they can get relative to each other. It can be skill based since jumps rely on timing and power-ups can be made to mirror each other.
Apache Strike: Multiplayer Fun: Apache Strike is a side scrolling helicopter game this seems more complicated but still workable. You could compare scores and enemies destroyed. Feasible.
Big Sport Fishing 3D: This one just doesn't make sense, it's a fishing game but it's not really a game of skill. Competitive fishing works in the real world because large fish are rare, in a game it will hardly be based off skill. Feasible, but comparing the size of tiny fish sounds boring.
Bubble Explode: This make sense, since you could compare by score. Anybody who's played a bubble exploder to decide dish duty knows how competitive this could get.
Bubble Shooter: As with above, it could make sense if it's based off score. Bubble placement has a nice balance between randomized elements and strategy.
King of Defense: This is a historical tower defense game based on ancient China. This one doesn't seem even remotely possible.
GnarBike Trials: Motorbike racing only really makes sense if both players are on the same track. Mario Kart (again, ludicrously competitive) is fun because the world is shared, and full of shells. Solo racing and comparing times seems less fun.
IBC Boxing: This is probably the best suited in terms of skill. You can play multiplayer tournament and have combo options and timing. Good players could really shine here.
Mini Golf Stars 3D: Putt: Competitive mini-golf? Sure, whatever, Mario Party.
Sushi Chop: This is the sushi equivalent of Fruit Ninja. Hack apart fish as they fly at you through the air. Best idea ever
This is why it's open beta though, the kinks will likely be worked out over time. We eagerly await the update that lets you pretend to be James Bond in 'Casino Royale' and have a waiter bring you a cocktail while you play competitive Bubble Shooter. Wait, was that in the movie?
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