[Tech] Snapchat launches Mario Party-style multiplayer games platform
Snap is unlocking a new revenue stream while giving you something to do in between chats and Stories. Today Snapchat debuts its Snap Games platform that lets you play real-time, multiplayer games while texting and talking with your friends. The platform is based off Snap’s secret late-2017 acquisition of PrettyGreat, an Australian game studio with talent from Halfbrick which built Fruit Ninja. That team built Bitmoji Party, a Mario Party-style mini-game fest, to show off the platform that includes five games from developers like Zynga and ZeptoLab. The games are rolling out worldwide on iOS and Android starting today,
To monetize the platform, Snapchat will let users opt in to watching six-second unskippable commercials that reward them with a power up or bonus in-game currency. Snapchat will share revenue from the ads with developers, though it refused to specify the split. It could be a little weird watching ads to more easily beat your friends. But down the line it’s easy to imagine Snapchat selling cosmetic upgrades via in-app purchases akin to Fortnite.
Snap announced the new Snap Games platform at its first-ever press event, the Snap Partner Summit in Los Angeles where it also announced an augmented reality utility platform called Scan, an ads network, and a way to put its Stories in otther apps.
Snap Games could be considered a real-time spin on Facbook Messenger’s Instant Games platform, which has focused on porting well-known games like Pac-Man and other arcade titles to HTML5. Similarly, Snap Games don’t have to be downloaded separately as they’re piped in from the web. Users can browse available games by tapping a new rocket ship button in the chat bar.
With Bitmoji Party, your avatar competes with up to 7 friends simultaneously in a series of mini games where you have to stay balanced on a giant record as a DJ scratches it, or avoid getting knocked in the pool. You can also have another 24 friends spectate and rotate in. Winners earn coins they can use to buy dances to stunt on their competition. And with an ever-present chat bar, users can use text or voice to talk trash.
Rather than port in known IP, Snap recruited developers to build games exclusively for its vertical, real-time multiplayer format. Those include:
- Alphabear Hustle from SpryFox – a fast-paced word puzzler
- C.A.T.S. (Crash Arena Turbo Stars) Drift Race from ZeptoLab – a cutesy racing game
- Snake Squad from Game Closure – a reimagining of the classic Snake game set in outer space
- Tiny Royale from Zynga – a top-down battle royale shooter game that feels like a Game Boy version of Fortnite top-down battle royale game
- Zombie Rescue Squad from PikPok – A zombie shooter