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Viber acquires social gaming startup Nextpeer for $9 mn

Viber, the
messaging app with 600 million+ users acquired last year by Japan’s
Rakuten for $900 million, has made its first acquisition. It is paying $9
million for 
Nextpeer,
a social gaming startup based in Israel that offers games developers an SDK to
incorporate social gaming features into their apps.

Viber, the
messaging app with 600 million+ users acquired last year by Japan’s
Rakuten for $900 million, has made its first acquisition. It is paying $9
million for 
Nextpeer,
a social gaming startup based in Israel that offers games developers an SDK to
incorporate social gaming features into their apps.

According to a
TechCrunch, Rakuten says the SDK and related services are staying online
and will be expanded and integrated to work with Viber’s
platform. All 12 employees of Nextpeer will join Viber, effective immediately.

“We are
delighted to welcome the Nextpeer team to the Viber family,” said Michael
Shmilov, COO, Viber, in a statement. “In this deal, we looked for a team that
shares our passion, drives innovative thinking and brings its expertise in
building an open platform for developers.”

The gaming
service, which was first introduced at the end of 2014, expanded globally in
February 2015.

“Nextpeer’s vision is to bring social
experiences to mobile players,” Shai Magzimof, Co-Founder and CEO, Nextpeer,
was quoted in the report as saying. “We are teaming up with Viber to help
connect players on mobile and deliver a powerful social platform for
developers. We are all very excited to join the Viber team.”

According to the
report, the SDK as it looks today is priced as a freemium
service
, with a free tier incorporating ads from Nextpeer’s network; a
“studio tier” capping MAUs but offering more customization of the UI and no ads
for $199/month; and an enterprise tier priced according to bigger size and
more usage. Nextpeer claims that games using its technology have been
downloaded nearly 196 million times.

“The acquisition
gives Nextpeer access to bigger strategic partners, as well as the chance to
work with Viber’s 600 million registered users worldwide,” Smilov told
TechCrunch. “The two companies also have a similar passion, with the goal of
connecting players on mobile to deliver a powerful social platform for
developers.”

According to the
TechCrunch report, this acquisition will helpsViber expand the functionality of
its gaming platform, and significantly expand the kinds of services it is
offering to developers. Other services from Viber include stickers, photos,
videos and doodles, locations sharing and calls.

Also Viber will
be making most of its revenues in games from in-app purchases; this acquisition
develops a second sales stream based around services to developers who may pay
to take more premium tiers of Nextpeer’s service.

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