Snapchat is to launch a gaming platform inside its social media app as it looks to compete with Apple’s App Store and other mobile gaming platforms.
Snap Games will enable friends to play against each other without installing any extra apps or paying any fees, and is being touted by Snapchat as a new way for users to interact with one another.
Discussing the new platform at Snap’s first-ever Partner Summit, Snapchat’s Will Wu said: “Last year, mobile gaming was a 77 billion-dollar industry.
“Today, there are hundreds of thousands of games available for our phones. But interestingly, with all of those games, there aren’t many that make it easy for friends to play together.
“We wanted to build something that makes us feel like we’re playing a board game with family over a long holiday weekend.
“We love these sorts of games because they give us an excuse to hang out, laugh, and make memories together.
“Unfortunately, these games are hard to find on mobile. There’s way too much friction. It’s hard to get everybody to install the same game, then find friends to play with, and it’s hard to chat.
“Snapchat has the right ingredients to break down these barriers. Snapchat can make playing games with friends incredibly fast and fun.”
The firm has worked with several mobile gaming studios, including Farmville creator Zynga, on a number of games that will start rolling out in the coming weeks.
Snapchat confirmed the first game will be its own-developed Bitmoji Party , a collection of mini-games players can tackle with friends, competing as their Snapchat avatar, known as a Bitmoji.
There are also five third-party games developed for Snapchat including:
- Alphabear Hustle by Spry Fox – a fast-paced cooperative word game with a twist. Players can work together to spell words, collect cute bears, and build their own personal bear village.
- C.A.T.S. (Crash Arena Turbo Stars) Drift Race by ZeptoLab – a multiplayer racing game that invites up to 6 players to use boosters scattered along the track to race faster, or slow down opponents. Along the way, collect new vehicles from the C.A.T.S. universe.
- Snake Squad by Game Closure – a multiplayer battle-royale game. Choose your favourite avatar to go into battle and guide your snake around the battlefield with your squad to grow larger to eliminate your competition.
- Tiny Royale by Zynga – a fast paced battle royale game. Squad up with friends or go solo during quick 2-minute rounds to loot and shoot your way to victory until only one player, or team, remains.
- Zombie Rescue Squad by PikPok – Team up with your fellow Zombie Rescue Squad friends to enter the front lines of the zombie apocalypse. Rescue survivors from the hungry hordes and gather as many supplies as you can. But if you miss the helicopter to safety, you’ll be left behind!
As well as the in-app gaming platform, Snap revealed a range of new features for Snapchat, including new augmented reality tools for its camera.
Filters can now be placed over buildings for the first time, with Buckingham Palace among the first to be compatible with the new feature.
The company also announced new Snap Originals – mobile-friendly, short TV shows that will be exclusive to the Snapchat app. The first of these will be released in May.
Snapchat’s Sean Mills said mobile was now the “dominant” platform for storytelling.
He predicted time spent consuming content on mobile will surpass watching television among adults in the US during 2019 – a trend Snapchat is keen to take advantage of.
“This transformation is creating massive new opportunities,” he said.
“But realising this potential is not as simple as re-purposing old content for new screens. Mobile storytelling has to be different because the way we use our phones is so different.”
Snapchat has struggled to grow its user base over the last year, as it faces intense competition from Facebook and its family of apps, and it received a mixed response to a major app redesign last year.
Earlier this year, the firm admitted its user growth had been “flat”, but co-founder and chief executive Evan Spiegel was defiant about their ability to be a force in the industry.
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