GM Thought Of The Week: Snapchat moves into gaming with the launch of ‘Snap Games’.
Snapchat launched their new gaming platform ‘Snap Games’ in the US on the 5th April. The new feature, which can be accessed by a rocket icon located in the chat bar, allows users to play one of six games created by developers such as Zynga, ZeptoLab and Pik Pok, instantly with their friends. They announced the launch on their website following the recent Snap Partner summit, stating ‘Eight years ago, we created Snapchat to make talking with your friends faster and more fun. But friendship is more than just the things you talk about. Friendship is also about the experiences you have together — so we’ve been working hard to build an entirely new experience for friends to play together. Introducing Snap Games: mobile games, made for friends!’
The move to gaming has been widely anticipated following their parent company, Snap Inc’s, acquisition of Australian gaming developer Prettygreat back in 2018 and their follow up acquisition of UK VR start-up PlayCanvas. While Snapchat did dabble in Gaming last year with a series of inventive AR lens games, ‘Snap Games’ is the social giant’s first real stride into the gaming arena.
The announcement comes after a difficult 2018 for the company, the platform redesign didn’t resonate with their core audience and resulted in a tweet byreality star ‘Kylie Jenner’, stating she no longer used the social app, which drove Snap’s stock price down by £1bn. The platform also came under fire regarding child safety concerns last year, when a story broke over bullying concerns on the app. Despite these difficulties, the platforms numbers held up in the back end of 2018, seeing the final quarter level out after two consecutive quarters of user decline.
It is yet to be seen whether this move to gaming will be enough to bring back Snapchats lost audience numbers, but the move is interesting to publishers and brands as it opens out advertising opportunities on the gaming platform. Currently the US release allows free use of the games but requires users to watch a non-skippable 6’s video before playing the content so increases ad stock across the platform and allows publishers to monetise their games through this. A date for a UK roll out is yet to be released but with the app currently boasting a 90% reach amongst 18-24 year olds in the UK, it’s certainly a platform to keep an eye on this year if you are looking to reach Gen Z and Millennial audiences.