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Snapchat owner Snap has launched a multi-player gaming platform, unveiling exclusive games only available on the Snapchat app. Signaling their investment in the lucrative mobile gaming industry, the social media app is hoping to bring more users back to their platform, particularly after the launch of Instagram Stories seemingly threatening the vitality of their initial business model.
"Last year, mobile gaming was a $77 billion industry," Will Wu, Snapchat's Director of Product, explained. "It’s hard to get everybody to install the same game, then find friends to play with, and it’s hard to chat. There’s way too much friction."
The platform's debut was announced at the company's first ever Snap Partner Summit in Los Angeles on Thursday, following similar efforts displayed by Google and Apple to profit off of the multi-billion dollar industry.
Instead of launching a separate app, Snap Games will be available within Snapchat, allowing users to talk to their friends as they engage in virtual competitions. Snap and several gaming developers—Game Closure, PikPok, Spry Fox, Zeptolab, and Zynga—created the six games that will be initially available, including Bitmoji Party.
The move is likely a follow-up to Snap's 2017 acquisition of PrettyGreat, the studio that built the widely-used game Fruit Ninja. Similar to Candy Crush's profiting strategy, Snap Games will require users to watch advertisements in order to acquire more lives and in-game boosts. The company will then share the ad revenue with their fellow game developers, however they did not specify whether they would be adding in-game purchases to the platform.
Snapchat took to Twitter on Thursday to share a preview of Bitmoji Party, which will allow up to eight Snapchat users to compete in a series of mini games, similar to Mario Party.
In addition to Snapchat's game, the multiplayer platform will include Alphabear Hustle, a word puzzle competition; C.A.T.S. (Crash Arena Turbo Stars), a racing contest; Snake Squad, a reimagined version of the classic game snake; Tiny Royale, which TechCrunch describes as a "Game Boy version of Fortnite;" and Zombie Rescue Squad, which as you might imagine deals with the zombie apocalypse.
Snap Games is available on the Snapchat app as of Thursday, April 4.