Comment & Opinion

Mobile gaming: There's a messaging app for that

Elina Arponen on a new genre

Mobile gaming: There's a messaging app for that

Elina Arponen is Head of Chat Games at Palringo.

For the past 20 years, the internet has been mainly consumed through a web browser, but messaging apps are now shaping the future for online content consumption.

You can already find shopping, car-sharing, financial services and all other kinds of offerings inside chat applications, as well as the ability to access regular webpages through them.

Another current, and growing trend, is the move of messaging apps into the lucrative gaming market. Many messaging apps now offer games, but the connection is still evolving.

Making contact

At a basic level, the easiest way to connect a game and a messaging service is to make a 2-way link. The messaging app lists games to be discovered and the games have a back-link to the application.

There is already a value for the player in that they don't have to leave the social application to find games from the daunting variety in the app stores, and there is value to the developer as they have a ready and waiting audience to whom to distribute their game.

The connection between the game and the messaging app can also be made stronger by integrating features such as Achievements that are accessible in both apps, keeping players around for longer in both platforms.

Get integrated

Another emerging route to combining messaging and gaming is to create games that are played completely inside the messaging service. The messaging app is therefore functioning as the sole platform for the game rather than the game being made for and played on iOS, Android or other mobile platforms.

Chat apps are all about conversations, so games taking advantage of that are a good fit.
Elina Arponen

Tango is already experimenting with games that can be played during video calls, while Palringo creates games that are played within group chats.

Games inside the chat app should be applicable for the platform.

Chat apps are all about conversations, so games taking advantage of that are a good fit; from the obvious text based games such as Hangman or Scrabble, to more content rich games which rely on roleplay, dialogue and interactions with other players to determine the outcome.

That being said there are many types of games that can work well inside a chat application. There can be single player games to pass time, multiplayer games to engage with others or group vs. group games for competition.

The types of genres available are still evolving.

An inherent attribute of the platform is that people are not just socialising around games, they are foremost there to be social. The social dynamic enhances the game experience and the game dynamic enhances the social experience.

The platform can be a one-stop discovery shop where uses can find games to play and the right kind of people to play with.

What's next?

Combining messaging and games effectively is an area that still has lots of room to grow.

It is an ideal place for multiplayer games that can tap into people's existing networks and has plenty of potential for brands to reach and connect with their fans.

With the growing power of messaging platforms, developers could do well to think about their strategy in this respect.

PocketGamer.biz regularly posts content from a variety of guest writers across the games industry. These encompass a wide range of topics and people from different backgrounds and diversities, sharing their opinion on the hottest trending topics, undiscovered gems and what the future of the business holds.

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Kyle Eberle
Great article - and btw, THE ONLY ARTICLE I could find on the subject. I'm wondering if and when 3rd-party mini-games will emerge in force in messaging apps. Also, will bot markets start to proliferate soon and will Facebook launch one at F8 this year?