April 5, 2019
Snap Inc. announced yesterday that its popular Snapchat app now features multiplayer games, starting with “Bitmoji Party” and five other titles. The move is an effort to compete in a new social space dominated by “Fortnite” in which real-time, multiplayer games also serve as online communities. Snap plans to work with game developers such as Zynga and ZeptoLab. The combination of gaming and social networking is on the rise. According to Epic Games, its “Fortnite” had 250 million players as of March, while Netflix recently suggested that it competes with “Fortnite” more than HBO.
“You can launch Snap Games right from the Chat bar, allowing you and your friends to instantly play together — no install required,” explains Snap. “You can see which friends you’re playing with, send them a chat, or even talk live with voice chat. It feels like you’re sitting shoulder to shoulder, playing on the same screen.”
According to Nielsen’s SuperData, “Fortnite” has earned “more than $2.4 billion in revenue since launching in mid-2017, mostly from sales of virtual goods,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Its success has spilled over to other industries.” Best Buy “in February said its holiday sales got a boost from the popularity of ‘Fortnite,’ which spurred purchases of headsets and other gaming accessories.”
Facebook indicates that “more than 700 million people play games, watch gaming videos or participate in gaming groups on Facebook” each month, notes WSJ. Meanwhile, Newzoo reports that consumers spent 8.9 billion hours in 2018 watching live gaming content on Amazon’s Twitch platform. That’s a jump of 2.6 billion hours over the previous year.
Snap has been contending with stagnant growth in recent quarters and needs a new means of generating revenue. While Snapchat is not expected to introduce in-app purchases within games, it plans to feature six-second unskippable advertisements that offer rewards of virtual coins and additional perks.
“Snap announced the new Snap Games platform at its first-ever press event, the Snap Partner Summit in Los Angeles, where it also announced an augmented reality utility platform called Scan, an ads network and a way to put its Stories in other apps,” reports TechCrunch.