April 17, 2024

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LinkedIn plans to add games to its platform

LinkedIn plans to add games to its platform

LinkedIn, the Microsoft-owned social platform, has made a name for itself primarily as a platform for people looking to connect and gain knowledge for professional and employment purposes — a company that now has over a billion users. Now, to boost the time people spend on the platform, the company is breaking into a whole new area: gaming.

TechCrunch has learned and confirmed that LinkedIn is working on a new gaming experience. This will be done by tapping into the same wave of puzzle craze that helped simple games like Wordle achieve viral success and millions of players. Three early attempts are games called “Queens,” “Inference,” and “Crossclimb.”

App researchers have begun to find code that indicates the work LinkedIn is doing. One idea LinkedIn appears to be experimenting with involves organizing players' results by workplace, with companies getting a “rank” by those results, said one of them, Nima Oji.

A LinkedIn spokesperson confirmed it's working on games, but said there's no release date yet.

“We're playing with adding puzzle-based games within the LinkedIn experience to unlock a little fun, deepen relationships, and hopefully spark opportunity conversations,” the spokesperson said in a message to TechCrunch. “Stay tuned for more!”

The spokesperson added that the images shared by the researcher on X are not the latest versions.

(Update: Some updated images are now available, which we include below.)

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Microsoft, which owns LinkedIn, is a gaming giant. Its gaming businesses – which include Xbox, Activision Blizzard and ZeniMax – It generated $7.1 billion in revenue last quartersurpassing Windows revenue for the first time.

A LinkedIn spokesperson declined to say how and whether Microsoft is involved in LinkedIn's gaming project.

Games are regularly among the most popular apps for mobile and PC — both in terms of revenue and engagement — and casual, puzzle-based games have been one of the most popular categories in the space among mobile users. Non-gaming platforms have long taken advantage of these facts to boost their traffic — a trend that predates the Internet, if you consider the popularity of crosswords and other puzzles in newspapers and magazines.

The New York Times, which gained widespread popularity in 2022, said at the end of last year that millions of people continue to play the game, which is now part of a larger online puzzle and gaming platform developed by the newspaper.

Others who have doubled down on their interest in gaming have seen mixed results. Facebook, the world's largest social network, has been a major driver of social gaming over the years. But in 2022, it shut down its standalone gaming app amid a decline in usage: These days it's focusing more on mixed reality experiences and its Meta Quest business.

Over the years, LinkedIn has experimented with a number of different new features over the years to enhance how and how much people use its platform, and the strategy is perhaps best described as: “How can we take the most popular tools that people use now? Make them relevant to LinkedIn’s audience and focus on the world of the job?

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These efforts have ranged from efforts in online education and professional development, to the publishing and news process, bringing in more video tools and courting creators and influencers.