Confrming previous reports, Snap is launching its own gaming platform with the release of six social games rolling out worldwide on Thursday.
The company also announced a new slate of Snap Originals programming and talked about the future of lenses.
Snap made the announcement at its first-ever Partner Summit in Los Angeles.
"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, "Snap said.
Snap Games launches with six games, five of which are from third-party developers. Bitmoji Party, the company’s first-party entry, comes from Prettygreat, the Australia-based Snap subsidiary founded by Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride alum, Phil Larsen and Luke Muscat. It features the eponymous avatars in four minigames each of which can host up to eight players.
Others include Spry Fox’s word game Alphabear Hustle, ZeptoLab’s racing game C.A.T.S.: Drift Race, Game Closure’s Snake-inspired battle royale game Snake Squad, PikPok’s cooperative zombie game Zombie Rescue Squad and Zynga’s battle royale shooter Tiny Royale.
With everything housed on the app, friends can quickly jump into a game and chat over voice and text. Developers are able to create games that accommodate at least 32 friends.
The Snapchat app's curated gaming library offers developers a revenue share. For now, monetization takes the form of the controversial six-second video adverts introduced last year. Users can opt-in to watch ads and potentially receive in-game bonuses for doing so. Snap made it clear this is not a replacement for in-app purchases, the lifeblood of mobile game experiences, but such options will be explored later down the road.
Snap Games begin rolling out to today.
New Snap Originals
Snap also announced new Snap Originals programming. These Shows span docuseries and scripted, comedies, and teen dramas.
"They’re personal, intimate, and made for the way you use your phone today," Snap said.
- In Two Sides from New Form, a young couple navigates a breakup — told from both characters’ points of view at the same time.
- Can’t Talk Now from New Form is a teen soap that takes place inside the phones of a few high school freshman BFFs.
- In Sneakerheads from Indigo, you’ll follow the misadventures of three college freshmen as they navigate the crazy, shady, and mercurial world of Los Angeles sneaker culture.
- In Commanders from Dakota Pictures, two high school outcasts discover a retro computer with a mysterious code that can alter real life.
- Denton’s Death Date from Insurrection Media centers on Denton Little: a high school junior whose death date is only a week away.
- While Black from Indigo is a docuseries that explores racially charged social issues through disarmingly candid conversations led by author, filmmaker, recording artist, and educator MK Asante.
- BuzzFeed’s upcoming daily afternoon show will bring viewers the latest celebrity, entertainment, and sheer OMG moments blowing up the internet.
- In Dead of Night from Bazelevs, a teenage girl must escape a quarantined city full of zombies armed with only her phone.
- Compton Dreams from October Films is a docuseries following the highs and lows of three up-and-coming artists from Compton.
- In Stranded with Sam and Colby from Bunim/Murray, two paranormal investigators go off the grid into a cursed Pennsylvania town.
These new series and more are coming in the coming months.
Over the last year, the time Snapchatters spent watching Shows has nearly tripled, according to the company. Endless Summer was a hit, reaching over 28 Million unique viewers during its first season. And with The Dead Girls Detective Agency, over 40% of the viewers that completed the first episode went on to watch the entire first season. Both of these Snap Originals, and also Deep Creek, have been renewed and will be back this summer.
The Future of Lenses
Snap also launched new augmented reality “lenses,” or filters that overlay video, including templates of landmarks like the Buckingham Palace in London, the Capitol Building in Washington D.C., and the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Introduced almost four years ago, Lenses offered a new way to see your selfie. The first Lenses were for self expression. Next came World Lenses: 3D stickers, Bitmoji, and dancing hot dogs overlaid on the world around you. Most recently, Snap launched Snappables — games you can play with your face.
In over a year, more than 400,000 Lenses have been created by the Snap community, and people have played with those Lenses over 15 billion times, according to Snap.
Snap today introduced Creator Profiles to help Lens Creators showcase their work and learn more about their audience. The company calls them Lenses because they don’t just filter your world. "They allow you to immerse yourself in something new. We believe that someday in the future, these kinds of experiences will be layered on the world around you with new ways to talk, create, learn, and play," Snapsaid.
Snap is making it easier to find the right Lenses at the right time. Just press and hold on your camera screen to Scan the world around you. You can scan a math problem to get the answer, or a product to see results on Amazon. You can also scan your dog to give her goofy glasses, or a song to see who sings it.
Today’s Lens Studio update now includes even more templates for augmented reality creators — including Landmarkers, which empower creators to build Lenses that can transform the world's most iconic landmarks in real-time. There are also new templates for hand-tracking, body-tracking, and more, which you can use to create Lenses that could appear when Snapchatters use Scan.
Plug in to Snap Kit
To date, more than 200 apps have integrated with Snap Kit, powering all sorts of experiences that bring some of Snapchat’s most popular features to partner applications, and allow Snapchatters to create Snaps using tools built by Snap's partners.
The company announced new Snap Kit experiences:
Introducing App Stories
As part of Snap’s push to expose more of its content outside of the platform, the company also launched “App Stories” with partners like Tinder which would allow users to update their dating profiles with Snapchat Stories. App Stories allow Snapchatters to share content right from the Snapchat camera to a Story inside another app.
- Share a Snap of your hidden talent to a Story on your Tinder profile.
- Share a Snap of your day to a Story on Houseparty.
- Share a Snap of your latest trip on AdventureAide to inspire customers to join you next time.
Soon, you’ll be able to share custom stickers from your favorite services right on a Snap.
- Use Netflix to share the show you’re watching.
- Use Breaker or Anchor to share the podcast you’re listening to.
- Use Anghami (in the Middle East) or JioSavvn (in India) to share a song you love.
- Use GoFundMe to share a meaningful cause.
- Use VSCO to share a beautiful photo with your friends on Snapchat.
With many of these integrations, friends can simply swipe up to watch, listen, or donate on their own.
Bitmoji Kit helps Snap community bring their Bitmoji with them to even more places.
- Use Bitmoji to add context to your payments on Venmo.
- Watch your Bitmoji react, right on your wrist, as you move with Fitbit.
Introducing Ad Kit
Ad Kit allows developers to access the new Snap Audience Network and bring Snap's mobile ad format, Snap Ads, to their apps.
Snap is accepting applications for Ad Kit and App Stories (part of Story Kit) at SnapKit.com beginning today.
The number of daily active users on Snapchat has held steady or fallen for the past several quarters, but the app is still wildly popular among young users.
Snap faces competition for users and advertisers from bigger and far better-financed rivals like Facebook, whose namesake platform and Instagram photo-sharing app have successfully copied popular Snapchat features like Stories - a personal feed of photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours.
In its fourth quarter earnings report, Snap reported flat active user growth at 186 million, while revenue per user increased 37% to $2.09. Its 2018 revenue of $1.2 billion was a 43% jump year-over-year, but profitability still eludes the company.