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Snapchat launches own multi-player gaming platform

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Messaging app Snapchat, which is widely popular among younger users but has struggled to turn a profit since its creation in 2011, on Thursday announced the launch of its own multiplayer gaming platform.

[LOS ANGELES] Messaging app Snapchat, which is widely popular among younger users but has struggled to turn a profit since its creation in 2011, on Thursday announced the launch of its own multiplayer gaming platform.

"Friendship is more than just the things you chat about," said Will Wu, the director of product at Snapchat as he unveiled Snap Games at a "summit" in Los Angeles. "Friendship is also about experience you have together."

The six made-for-Snapchat games, including "Bitmoji Party," "Alphabear Hustle" and "Zombie Rescue Squad," will be part of a global gaming industry that saw US$77 billion in revenue last year, Mr Wu said.

"We wanted to build something that makes us feel like we're playing a board game with family over a long holiday weekend, something that makes us feel like we're sitting with friends, controllers in hand," he said. "Unfortunately, these games are hard to find on mobile (...) it's hard to get everybody to install the same game, and it's hard to chat."

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The six games are directly accessible from Snapchat's popular messaging feature Chat, offering users the possibility to play while at the same time exchanging messages.

"Bitmoji Party", developed by Snap and inspired by Nintendo's "Wii Party", for example features players, brought to life with 3D Bitmojis, as they compete across four fast-paced mini-games.

"You can launch Bitmoji Party right from the chat bar, allowing you and your friends to instantly play together, no install required," Mr Wu said.

"Alphabear Hustle" was described as a fast-paced word game in which players work together to spell words, collect cute bears and build their own personal bear village.

"Zombie Rescue Squad" deals with a zombie apocalypse that calls on players to "rescue survivors from the hungry hordes and gather as many supplies as you can.

"But if you miss the helicopter to safety, you'll be left behind!"

Outside developer partners of these games will be financed through video advertising.

Snapchat has nearly 190 million daily active users.

In the United States, Snapchat reaches nearly 75 per cent of people between the ages of 13 and 34, and 90 per cent of those between the ages of 13 and 24, said Evan Spiegel, the head of Snapchat.

"In fact, we reach more 13-24 year-olds than Facebook or Instagram in the United States, the UK, France, Canada and Australia," he added.

AFP