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Brief Published: 14 Sep 2021

Playbyte: Social Media Meets Game Creation


Tapping into the hyper-casual gaming boom and the consumer-creator phenomenon, US start-up app Playbyte (iOS only) combines easy-to-use game-creation tools with TikTok-inspired mechanics to encourage game-building as a form of self-expression.

Playbyte lets users make and share video games on their phones with accessible creation tools that require no knowledge of coding. Instead, games are created using simple building blocks, emoji, and even photos from users' camera rolls. Each game is limited to five scenes and, to date, have included simulators, tower defense games, combat challenges and murder mysteries.

Furthering its accessibility, the app is powered by a lightweight, 2D game engine, meaning games load quickly, even on slower connections and older devices.

The app also encourages shareability and collaboration by enabling people to reuse assets created by others. This means even less-skilled players can piece together components from other games to create something of their own. To learn more about the remixing of intellectual property, see What the Hell Are Headless Brands?.

Adding a social element to the creation process, the app also features a full-screen vertically scrollable feed (akin to TikTok), where users can browse and play games created by others. Users can also 'like' games or comment using buttons on the right-hand side of the screen. Also like TikTok, the feed is driven by an algorithm that becomes increasingly personalised to users' tastes depending on the games they interact more with.

With its innovations in discovery and creation, Playbyte is looking for a share of the global mobile gaming market, which is expected to reach a value of $135.5bn by 2027 (Intrado, 2021). In future, the app plans to monetise its feed with branded advertising and a patronage model that could involve subscriptions or games based on non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – an idea Stylus recently explored in The Brief.

For more consumer-creator gaming, see Nintendo's Metagame for Code-Free Game Design.