Snap is presently working on finalizing its upcoming mobile gaming platform meant to be launched later this year as part of its popular Snapchat app, The Information reports, citing people familiar with the project. While the ecosystem won't be entirely open at launch, the idea is to eventually provide all third-party developers with the ability to create Snapchat games. At least one publisher is already on board with the initiative and will be introducing a Snapchat game in the coming months, as per the same report.
The experiences in question are understood to be more akin to full-featured mobile games than Snappables, interactive lenses launched by the company two months back. It's still unclear whether Snapchat will eventually offer third-party Snappables, though the upcoming gaming platform is reportedly meant to be made with openness in mind from the ground up. The project has been in active development for no less than a year, one insider claims. British startup PlayCanvas specializing in mobile game development software was said to have been acquired by Snap last year but the deal was never confirmed.
Mobile games could help improve Snapchat's engagement rates, though that likely isn't their main goal given how Snap already boasts some of the most loyal users in the social media industry. Instead, such experiences may help the firm better monetize its existing users and possibly attract a smaller subset of new ones, thus helping address its two biggest issues - growth and profitability. China's entertainment giant Tencent previously did something similar with WeChat and possibly advised Snap to follow suit after taking significant stakes in the Venice, Los Angeles-based firm on two occasions. Tencent already said it's seeking to work with Snap on mobile games late last year but no related projects have been announced by either company to date. A Snapchat-powered gaming platform would directly compete with Facebook's Messenger games, as well as full-fledged mobile apps.