Shares of mobile-gaming platform Skillz (SKLZ -3.20%) got a boost on Thursday after the company announced a former Amazon executive is joining its corporate leadership team. As of 1:45 p.m. EDT, Skillz stock was up almost 10%.
Vatsal Bhardwaj is joining Skillz as its chief product officer after previous stints at Amazon, Facebook, and Zynga, among others. I think investors are probably happy to see previous experience at these large public companies. However, I believe there's something more important here: While at Amazon, Bhardwaj was general manager and director of game tech for Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Skillz's platform currently only supports a limited number of game genres and this is something holding back the company's growth. Real-time (synchronous) multi-player games aren't possible now because even the slightest delay to play-for-cash games could result in an advantage for one player over another. However, it's something that the company is actively trying to address and it appears that it's hiring Bhardwaj to continue making progress in this area, given his previous expertise at AWS.
It's good to see Skillz continue to actively address this issue so that its platform can support more game genres. More game genres should attract more game developers which, in turn, could attract new users. Previously the company announced a partnership with Exit Games, which is a leading player in this synchronous gaming space, demonstrating this isn't a new area of focus. It's ongoing.
However, trying to launch synchronous gaming and actually doing it are two different things. Today's news is certainly encouraging for shareholders. But they should temper their excitement until Skillz is proven to have successfully launched synchronous gaming capabilities. We should know more about Skillz's progress and plans when it reports third-quarter financial results on Nov. 3.