When Snap holds its inaugural content and developer summit next month, the event itself won’t be only new addition to the company’s slate. The marquee announcement for the April 4th event is expected to be a gaming platform, hosting a number of externally developed games on the continually innovating app.
Rumors of Snap’s venture into gaming have been swirling since last year, when Chinese company Tencent (WeChat’s parent company, and owners of the wildly popular League of Legends) acquired a 12% stake in Snap. Tencent is reportedly looking to make up a slight loss in revenue, resulting in tighter regulations in its home country. As Engadget points out, “working with Snap in other regions might make sense” for that reason. Speculation intensified when they acquired Prettygreat, the Australian company responsible for runaway gaming successes Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride. In partnering with these proven entities, Snap is undoubtedly looking to make a big splash in this space next month.
The splash is an understandable one for them to wish to make; while Snap has struggled to hold on to users in recent years, a proper move into gaming (following its 2018 Snappables venture) could provide additional opportunities to both increase users and monetization opportunities. To the former, the cache of brands like Prettygreat and Tencent could mean that truly engaging gaming is coming to the platform. Not to mention, as The Verge put it, “users who play games in the Snapchat app aren’t browsing [major rival] Instagram.” And to the latter, a combination of in-app purchases and more ad placement slots could send more money Snap’s way.
The impending summit also promises a new slate of original programming, following the initially announced slate back in October 2018. And indeed, this foray into gaming – while not unique to Snapchat, given Facebook Messenger’s gaming tab and a rumored announcement from Google on its own gaming aspirations – does expand Snap Head of Original Programming Nick Bell’s assertion that Snap is less a social media platform, and more of an entertainment company. If this gambit pays off, it’ll admirably cement its status as the latter.
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