There’s something to be said about anonymity when playing online games. Thanks to the internet, players from all over the world can now join together and play a variety of games, often without ever even hearing anyone else’s voice. Before TeamSpeak and Discord came into common use, gamers only ever relied on text-based chats in their games – if they had them at all. But these days, this veil of anonymity is slowly being torn off. Most guilds and player groups you join in-game will have some sort of Facebook group or Discord server you’ll be encouraged to join, and participating in voice chat is often required for easier communication during online raids. Many games have also incorporated voice chat, with Mobile Legends integrating in-game voice chatting in early 2020.
There’s a reason for this, though: most people communicate better when they can hear or see you. Research has found that the words we use only make up about 7 percent of all communication. The rest is nonverbal, or vocal – things that were missing from online games for the longest time! And many games have suffered from this, with players experiencing everything from hilarious instances of miscommunication to devastating bouts of catfishing.
Enter Pokerface: a game that seeks to bring the face-to-face aspect to virtual poker by combining video chatting with their online poker platform. With this development, the experience of playing video poker changes dramatically. Because the game broadcasts your actual face instead of the usual animated avatar during the game, bluffing and poker faces come back into play. After all, the easiest way to spot a tell is when players see their starting poker hand. Got pocket rockets? Be careful you don’t show your excitement by putting too much money into the pot on the pre-flop betting round. Got nothing? Don’t show your nerve – for all they know, you could be nursing cowboys.
Thanks to the pandemic, long months in self-isolation, and everyone being trapped indoors, Pokerface saw significant growth. Revenue spiked and the app reported nine times as many new players in 2020. Ben Shimon, CEO of Communix – the developer of Pokerface – explains that “the social gaming and video sector is one of the hottest industries right now for both Israeli and global venture capital funds.” To wit: Communix recently secured $30 million in Series A funding from March Capital, Powerhouse, Woori Capital, and other venture capitalists.
Also called “The Zoom of poker”, Pokerface presents a promising new genre for mobile gaming, where video chatting and gaming take place all on the same platform. Communix has said that it would use its newly secured funding to aggressively hire talent across the company, and perhaps expand its game selection. “Comunix aims to reinvent the current gaming experience by integrating innovative methods for human communication, such as group video chat, to create a seamless social experience for users,” says Shimon. What could be next for this developer, and will other developers begin to follow suit?
For more on the latest developments in mobile gaming, explore our previous posts.