Z2Live Rolls Out Voice Chat for iPhone Games, Announces New Mobile Game Community

3/9/10Follow @gthuang

This week is nuts for videogame companies: the annual Game Developers Conference starts today in San Francisco.

Z2Live, a Seattle-based social mobile gaming startup, kicked off what is sure to be a busy news week for local companies by making a couple of notable announcements. First, it unveiled a “voice chat” feature for games on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad—this will let players talk to their friends while they’re playing a mobile game. (I haven’t seen the demo yet, but it sounds like it could be interesting.)

Second, the company has hired Lou Fasulo, the former head of publishing for Sonic Boom and senior exec at Vivendi Universal Games and AT&T Wireless. Fasulo will oversee Z2Live’s development of what it calls a “next-generation mobile game community,” which it plans to open in the next two months.

Z2Live’s CEO and co-founder David Bluhm calls Fasulo “one of the best business minds in mobile gaming.” (Bluhm also told me recently that he thinks the term “mobile gaming” will soon be redundant.)

The company’s core technology is a software platform for developing multiplayer social games on mobile devices. Its gaming canvas runs the gamut from simple casual games like Solitaire to complex multiplayer games like Call of Duty. But Z2Live’s real value is not just in the “plumbing” to allow multiplayer gaming to happen, but potentially in the deeper understanding of gaming communities—things like how to grow a community, how to encourage more social interactions, which metrics to track, which game mechanics developers should focus on, and, of course, how to make money from all of this.

“In theory, this could change the trajectory of game community growth—making sure the game itself is designed with the community in mind from the start,” Bluhm told me last month in an exclusive interview.

Stay tuned for more news from other local game companies.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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