Early in April of 2019, Snapchat announced its new games platform at the periodic Developer Summit, and it has followed up on that announcement with another revelation in the same vein. The social media giant now has related that users will have the capability to add their own Bitmoji avatars which can be used in games just like any other characters would be. These avatars would be available for use within Snap Games, as well as for other PC-based games, console games, and even on other mobile devices owned by the user.
The new game system
The new gaming system unveiled recently by Snapchat is called Snap Games, and it’s a platform which will allow easy access to a whole library of games that can easily be started up and enjoyed within the platform, since Snap Games is incorporated right into the structure of Snapchat itself. Any Snapchat user will have complete access to all games included in Snap Games, and can instantly start playing just by signing on to the main app.
The main goal of this new game system is to provide a very viable alternative to the kind of classic multi-player format that other home game systems could offer to gamers, or to duplicate the kind of experience you might get from going to an arcade and participating in a socialized game play session. Any of the games included within Snap Games can be simply launched from the main Chat menu, with no additional downloads necessary before play can begin.
All of the games featured in Snap Games make use of Snapchat’s existing voice-based and text-based chat features, and players who participate will be able to see other players who are already involved and can invite other friends to play as well. Right from the main chat menu, you’ll have the option to invite a friend to come challenge you in a gaming contest of your choice, and then wait for his/her response, to be followed by the actual contest itself.
To start with, Snapchat has already gone live with the first six Snap Games, including one called Bitmoji Party, which it has high hopes for in terms of its eventual popularity. Bitmoji Party was developed as a joint effort by Snapchat’s own internal developers and experts, in tandem with the new head of Snap Games, Luke Muscat. The other five games being debuted are Zynga for Tiny Royale, Game Closure for Snake Squad, Zepto Lab for C.A.T.S. Drift Race, PikPok for Zombie Rescue Squad, and Spry Fox for the collaborative game called Alphabear Hustle.
Intent of the Bitmoji rollout
Initially this personalization option will only be made available to specific games’ developers and will imbue an added sense of personalization for the experience with gaming for any user, which is expected to attract more players and more users to the platform. Snapchat is already quite popular with the younger set, but by adding this increased functionality to its gaming capabilities, it is thought to be more likely that the number of users active on the platform will undergo at least a modest increase.
Snap intends to work with a number of developers on the (currently being tested) Bitmoji for Games SDK, which will offer several new options for gamers, helping them to establish better connections with other users, and providing them with a much greater range of game offerings. It is not exactly known how successful this new offering will become, even though Bitmoji itself is known to have been downloaded more than 300 million times already. In truth, it has been possible to build such gaming avatars on consoles for a number of years already, with Microsoft offering characters which could be customized in the main profile setup of the XBOX 360, as far back as 2008.
Those first customized characters were undoubtedly as simplistic as could be, but they have evolved a great deal since that initial rollout. Bitmoji avatars of today definitely provide a brand new experience and perspective to gaming, but since the customized characters were usable in at least some games a decade ago, it cannot be truthfully said that the present catalog of Bitmoji characters offers an entirely unique and different experience in gaming.
However, for those who appreciate 3D, the new Bitmoji characters are a welcome new capability, and since Bitmoji itself is tremendously popular, there’s no doubt that the overall gaming experience is upgraded for everyone. When used in Snap Games, the option is totally worthwhile and the characters really do look terrific but using the same characters outside of Snap Games may be somewhat less appealing.
Expectations from the new games platform
Snap has very high expectations for this new game platform and for the increased popularity it expects to result from the increased personalization capabilities. Not only does it hope to attract a number of new users and gamers to the platform, but it also hopes to achieve significant increases in revenue from these new features. While it’s likely that the jury will be out for some time on these added features, it does seem as though there’s at least a decent chance of achieving the kind of success anticipated by Snap executives.
Many of those hopes rest on the potential for the novelty of the personalized avatars and for the games platform itself, but there’s also reason to expect that such immersive and engaging experiences as Bitmoji Party will find broad appeal among the youthful users of the platform, as well as newcomers to Snapchat.
It could be that the personalized characters catch on and become so popular that users will want to port their favorite characters to other games as well, and continue the experience outside of Snap, but this is something that remains to be seen. If that does happen, it would certainly be a boon for Snapchat, because it would mean that its young users are finding ways to incorporate Snap processes into other aspects of their lives, which of course is a highly desirable development, from the standpoint of Snap executives.