Mar 17, 2011
The “check in” phenomenon has spread from more than just geolocation services like Foursquare that let you check in to real locations. Nowadays you can check in to a variety of things that aren’t exactly real places – from movies to books to TV shows. Games have been somewhat left out of the check in phenomenon, and especially mobile gaming. HeyZap is here to answer the call for gaming check in services.
Currently implemented on Android (with plans to expand to iOS, though this seems like a trickier proposition to implement in the same way as on Android), HeyZap allows users to check in to any game they play on Android, thanks in part to the deeper access for apps that the OS provides. What you do is you launch a game after installing HeyZap’s free app, which will then let you check in and optionally post a message that you can share to the HeyZap user network and to Twitter and Facebook. Only games that are recognized by HeyZap will give you this option to check-in, though most of my games have been recognized by HeyZap. What’s also useful is that you can leave tips for games on their HeyZap pages, to help your fellow Android gamers along.
The neat thing about HeyZap that makes it more interesting than other check in services is the interactivity and discovery. TV shows and movies often require a large time commitment, and check ins with them often represent just narcisstic broadcasting of what a person is watching without adding anything to the discussion. Services like Foursquare and Gowalla often suffer the same problem for people who don’t live in the same area as the people that use these services and broadcast their check-ins, making them even less relevant, especially considering how social networks are great at connecting people who are not physically near.
Mobile games often require smaller time and money commitments, and discovery of games on mobile platforms, especially Android, can be difficult. Getting to see what other users are playing can help lead you to find interesting new games that you otherwise wouldn’t have discovered. As well, with games that might want to develop multiplayer features, knowing when other people are playing the games can help with expanding the userbase of these games, to help get them off of the ground.
Finally, the app works in a way that lets you simply use it as a quick launch dashboard for your games library. While I have been generally skeptical of check in services, HeyZap seems like it could actually be of some interesting use, especially as I try to find other Android games and gamers. Of course, now all we need is a meta check in service that lets us check in to check in services. Someday…