Snapchat might soon have a platform for games.
Snapchat might soon have a platform for games.

Image: brittany herbert/mashable

Snapchat is starting to look increasingly more like old Facebook.

In a bizarre twist of events, it looks like Snap is now embracing a strategy that’s not unlike Facebook’s playbook circa 2010.

The latest sign of it comes from a new report in The Information, which says Snap has plans to launch a gaming platform inside of its app. Details are scarce on how it would work, but the main idea is that Snap would allow developers to create games that users could play inside of Snapchat. The platform could launch by the fall, according to the report.

A spokesperson for Snap declined to comment, but a gaming platform would seem to fit with other updates the company recently made. The company introduced playable lenses, called Snappables, which let you play mini games with your face. And just two weeks ago, Snapchat officially opened its app to third-party developers.

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But what’s most striking is that all of this bears a lot of similarities to Facebook’s strategy almost a decade ago. The social network launched Facebook Platform in 2007, which lets developers bring their apps straight into Facebook. Later, gaming took off with developers like Zynga reaping the benefits as viral hits like Farmville became synonymous with Facebook.

The company later moved away from this strategy as all those game notifications began to feel spammy after awhile. But the popularity of those games undoubtedly fueled a lot of growth and engagement for Facebook at a critical moment for the company.

Likewise, if Snap can get developers to create similarly sticky games for Snapchat, it could also give the company a much-needed boost. 

Of course, Snap has gone out of its way to make a point that it’s not like Facebook. CEO Evan Spiegel has publicly dunked on Facebook for its privacy practices, and Snap has promised its developer platform isn’t at risk of inadvertently leaking user data to third-parties.

Still, it’s difficult not to draw comparisons between the two companies’ strategies. For all its faults, gaming was a boon for Facebook once upon a time, and it could be the same for Snap as well. Wall Street even seemed cautiously optimistic about the move, as Snap’s stock ticked up slightly following the report from the Information.

It’s not just about Facebook, either. There are other reasons why leaning into gaming may be a smart move for Snap. Besides boosting engagement with current users, who would have an excuse to spend more time in Snapchat, it could be extremely profitable.

Casual mobile games bring in a whole lot of money. And if Snap can incentivize publishers to make either exclusive games or Snapchat-ready spinoffs of popular titles, it could be a big hit with Snapchat’s users.

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