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Snapchat Doubles Down on Gaming

Snapchat is reportedly preparing to release an in-app gaming platform later this year, in what is likely a bid to gain an edge on Instagram and draw more advertisers to the platform.

Snapchat already offers its users games in the form of AR lenses, called ‘Snappables’. These are selfie games that ask you to perform a certain action, such as raise your eyebrows, as many times as you can within 10 seconds in order to score points against your friends.

It now looks as though these games may have been a way of testing the water ahead of the new platform, which will enable third party game developers to create games that can be played within the Snapchat app. According to the report – released by The Information – Snapchat will create an internal app store in which users will be able to download titles. Snapchat has already acquired the game developing startup, PlayCanvas.

It’s not yet clear what the nature of these games may be, but it’s possible that Snapchat may continue to make AR the focus of their games.

Snapchat is under pressure to keep its users engaged, especially given that Instagram’s daily active users are rising more rapidly than Snapchat’s. With Instagram copying some of the app’s key features, such as ‘Stories’, perhaps the move towards gaming signals that Snap are trying to distinguish themselves from the photography app.

Gaming also feels like a logical next step for Snapchat, given the app’s generally young audience, and the popularity of mobile games among young people. It also seems unlikely that Instagram would copy this move. With Instagram’s users being generally older, and with look and feel of their app being more catered than Snapchat’s, games seem difficult to successfully integrate into the platform.

For these reasons, there’s a good chance an in-app gaming platform will be successful and will help give Snapchat an edge over other social media platforms. And it looks as though other suspect so too: Snapchat’s stock increased slightly after the report was issued.

So what inspired them to make this move? Earlier this year Snap CEO Evan Spiegel expressed his admiration for how Tencent’s WeChat has grown since its development of Mini Games. The popular chat app draws in 30% of its revenue from in-app game purchases made on this platform.

If the gaming platform is successful, then Snapchat will have built another area in which to market brands. And these marketing opportunities could prove interesting. There will almost certainly be opportunities for branded gaming experiences. One example of this kind of marketing is KFC’s ‘Pong’ (description). Such experiences would be a next level up from AR, promising greater interactivity with users. It’s worth keeping an eye on this development in Snapchat. For marketers, it could mean new and exciting opportunities.

Charlotte Gifford


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