Snapchat boasts nearly 200 million daily users. While that seems like a staggering number, the social media app has actually struggled to acquire new users. In fact, it posted two straight quarters of losing users, mostly attributed to increased competition from Instagram. But Snap, its parent company, plans to flip things around with the launch of Snap Games. Snapchat appears set to enter the ever-growing world of social gaming, but is it already a little too late?
Snap Games is a gaming platform in which users can play original games through the app’s group chats. It’s clear that the focus is on peer involvement, encouraging users to stay on the app for as long as possible by offering a selection of games that can be readily played with other users. This is the company’s attempt to get users to spend more time than ever on their platform.
As of the moment, Snap Games offers six multi-player games, one of which comes from Snap itself. Zynga, PikPok, Game Closure, Spry Fox, and Zeptolab are the other game developers to launch games on the new platform. These games differ drastically from the app’s earlier experiments with social games called Snappables, which mostly involved using the phone camera for interaction.
Social media has revolutionized the gaming industry in many ways. While it seems like a crowded market, the social gaming industry is set to get bigger in the coming years. It all started with the rise in popularity of free-to-play games, from free racing games for PC to the likes of DoTA and LoL allowing users to enjoy their games without spending a penny. But social media takes things up a notch by providing a platform in which users can easily find other people to play with without leaving their preferred application.
Snap is the latest company to enter the gaming market, and they hope that their different approach will set them apart from the competition. Aside from trying to generate more users, Snap Games is also a way to make money off of their existing audience. According to Will Wu, Director of Snap Games, people are more accepting of ads when playing games. They’re eager to see how well the social gaming ads compare to ads placed into private chats, which are often seen as an annoyance.
The challenge for Snap, however, is in maintaining a fresh selection of games. With online users having small attention spans, it’s difficult to keep them engaged if they only have a handful of games to choose from.
Additionally, other tech giants are making huge strides in the gaming industry. Apple recently announced the Apple Arcade, their new game subscription service that promises zero in-app purchases and ads. Google also recently launched Stadia, a streaming service dedicated to video games that will work on any computer running Chrome, TV with Chromecast, and Pixel devices.
While the competition will only get tougher moving forward, Wu believes that Snapchat has the right ingredients to break down the common barriers social gamers deal with. Snap Games makes it easy to connect with friends to play fun games and chat at the same time, enabling them to feel as if they’re really hanging out instead of merely playing on their own.