March 15, 2019
Snap Inc. plans to announce its long-rumored gaming platform for developers next month, Cheddar has learned.
The mobile game platform, internally codenamed “Project Cognac,” will feature a handful of games from outside developers designed to work specifically in the Snapchat app, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The new games initiative will be unveiled at Snap’s first-ever summit for content and developer partners in Los Angeles on April 4, the person said, adding that video initiatives like more original shows will also be announced. An invitation to the event that was seen by Cheddar includes the tagline, “Less talk. More play.” — a nod to the gaming platform.
To help bolster its forthcoming push into games, Snap last year acquired a small Australian gaming studio called Prettygreat for $8.6 million, according to financial documents filed publicly with the Australian government that were obtained by Cheddar. One of the employees of Prettygreat was behind the hit mobile games “Fruit Ninja” and “Jetpack Joyride.”
CNET earlier reported that Snap had invested an undisclosed amount in Prettygreat, and Business Insider reported a year ago that Snap had acquired a web-based game engine startup called PlayCanvas. The Information first reported that Snap was working on a gaming platform in mid-2018.
A Snap spokesperson declined to comment on the record for this story.
Snap has already shown its interest in gaming by launching a handful of its own lightweight, augmented reality games in the Snapchat app in early 2018. A year prior, the Chinese tech giant Tencent acquired roughly 10 percent of Snap’s publicly traded shares.
Tencent, which makes hugely popular games like “King of Glory” and “League of Legends,” said at the time that it hoped to collaborate with Snap on mobile games. It’s unclear if any of Tencent’s properties, including the game publisher Riot Games, will be involved in the launch of Snap’s gaming platform.
Games could provide a new source of revenue for Snap, either through in-app purchases or advertising. Snap’s stock has surged in recent days on positive sentiment around its most recent earnings. User growth was flat, but revenue grew 36 percent to a record $390 million. Snap has begun slowly rolling out the all-new redesign of its Android app, which the company has said should revive growth.