Learning platform Duolingo has partnered with game developer Jackbox Games.
The language app comes bundled with all purchases of the Jackbox Party Starter bundle on Steam, with users receiving two months of the premium Duolingo Plus version.
The partnership of a purposefully loud, counter-cultural board game and learning tool seems misaligned on paper, but given the nature of the two partners, it makes a lot of sense. Jackbox, for example, incorporates Duolingo-based questions into its Quiplash mini-game, which allows players to type in the funniest response possible to prompts like, “Before Duolingo chose the owl, he wisely rejected [blank] as its mascot.’
The partnership is now in effect for players who purchase the Jackbox bundle on Steam
The merger is therefore based on the recognition that the gamification of language is part of the attraction of the two platforms, fueled by the mobile habits of users. Jackbox’s mini-game packs are primarily designed to be played in groups on mobiles, for example, players drawing using touchscreens or entering answers via prompts on their phones.
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Duolingo, too, is mostly consumed on mobile devices and uses a points-based system to gamify the learning experience. In March 2022, the company had just under 3 million subscribers to its premium ad-free service, which the partnership with Jackbox Games will help promote.
Belia Portillo is International and Partnerships Manager at Jackbox Games, which has fully localized the three games in the Party Starter Pack into French, Italian, German and Spanish. She explains that the humor that is integral to the appeal of the games is excellent proof of someone’s language ability. “We saw Duolingo as a great partnership opportunity because we believe an important step in language fluency is the ability to make and understand jokes in the target language.
“Our audience can take advantage of two months of Duolingo Plus to learn new language skills, then put them to the test by playing one of our localized games in that language. French than they are in English.
Beyond the Duolingo Partnership — and the tongue-in-cheek trailers the company releases to promote its new games — Portillo says Jackbox’s best marketing opportunity is to attract gamers through the games themselves.
She argues that rolling out in new languages opens up potential new markets for the company: “We’re always looking for partnership opportunities like Duolingo, but overall our best marketing strategy is to deliver games that our fans will want. play and share with their buddies. By expanding our titles into new languages, we are opening the doors to a whole new fan base of gamers who can enjoy our games in the language of their choice.
Mobile business gamification has been a key growth opportunity for a wide range of applications, across multiple verticals. With everyone from Snap to Duolingo believing there’s still plenty of room to turn mobile users into gamers, investment in the space should continue.