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Ah, Snapchat! Promoter of funny/cute/silly filters, AR lenses, short videos taken ‘in the moment’, and interactive games. Wait, what? That’s right. Rumour has it, Snapchat plans to launch a brand-new integrated gaming platform. Apparently, it’s a top-secret project, but hey, it’s the internet; nothing can be kept hidden here for too long.
WHY INTERACTIVE GAMES MAKE SENSE FOR SNAPCHAT
At first glance, Snapchat dipping their feet into the gaming waters sounds like a concept which is out of their depth. After all, when you think of Snapchat, gaming is not the first thing that’s on your mind. But hear me out. It’s something that makes a whole lot of sense for Snapchat. Snappables, anyone? Released last year, they are short augmented reality games, where users have to complete various challenges and can even play against their friends.
You are able to fight aliens through the power of your head just moving around or use your eyebrows to lift weights at the gym. And if you can do that in public, more power to you. I would absolutely envy that level of confidence. But the fun of these games lies both in the simplicity and the diversity, as each AR lens has a different behavior. Some require touch, others motion, others silly expressions.
SNAPCHAT HELPED AR BECOME A THING
As a matter of fact, Snapchat is, truly, among the first companies which capitalised on augmented reality, making it a thing. It’s not far-fetched to say it was Pokémon Go’s predecessor, because Snapchat had successfully blended AR in our own environment and paved the way for more games to do so. The reason that happened was because it just felt natural. AR was never forced down our throats and was done progressively, starting with filters which would change the way we look or sound, followed by the above-mentioned Snappables, and the 3D Bitmoji. They look trivial at first, but as AdWeek puts it, these AR lenses enhance natural behaviours, thus making us feel more engaged in their stories, like walking over burning coals as a way to face our fear, without actually endangering ourselves.
However, there is nothing wrong with trivial games either. I had tons of fun playing Snapchat’s Basket Head, where you just had to score as many baskets as possible, without missing three times, with your face being a placeholder for the backboard. After all, it’s not called Basket Head for nothing. Being extremely competitive, this game where you can compare high scores with your friends and try over and over turned into quite an addictive experience.
Snapchat has also bought the Prettygreat gaming studio earlier this year, famous for games such as the massively popular Fruit Ninja. But that’s not their only connection with a gaming company. Last year, they’ve also acquired PlayCanvas, which is a startup specialised in 3D gaming on mobile browsers.
So clearly, they are up to something. We’ll have a definitive answer at their Partner Summit on April 4th, but we’ll be keeping a close eye on their developments. Looks like the future is bright for Snapchat.