Elina Arponen is the Head of Chat Games Publishing, at Palringo.
We know that gamers are a social bunch.
We know that games with a social aspect tend to be more engaging.
We all know a number of games where chat with other players is an integral feature of the game.
And we know it's commonplace now for the big players in the messaging space to offer games!
There are moments for solitary gameplay, but even then people often like to talk about those experiences with others after they've played.
Social chats are perfect places for this kind of sharing and bonding between gamers.
Multiplayer games even more naturally create this sense of belonging in a community that is one of the largest driving forces behind the games industry today.
The group thing
But what about games which are made specifically for a chat group?
We talk in groups, so why not play in groups?
When you really look at it as a concept it makes sense considering that chat and gaming are the two biggest categories of mobile engagement.
We talk in groups, so why not play in groups?Elina Arponen
It's leveraging a chat function and a globally connected community to create a unique gaming experience.
At Palringo we've quietly been creating gaming Bots for our large-scale chat groups for years, such as Hangman and Fishing Bot.
The popularity of these games have seen them grow to represent nearly 50% of our revenue proving that games in a social, chat-based context work.
Other companies have also ventured into the area, such as Tango, which now offers games that can be played on video calls.
And Facebook Messenger is embracing Bots and has dabbled in the gaming space with its 'secret' command-based chess game, which it quietly released spawning numerous articles about how to actually play it.
More recently you can also play its basketball game within a group chat.
Power of networks
So, what's the potential of developing games for this kind of chat-based platform?
Well, at a basic level it offers a different and unique distribution channel giving breathing space form the claustrophobic app stores.
The social aspect also pushes players into a post-game 'discovery' phase.
While you are playing you are also interacting with other players in the network, and therefore instantly exploring more of what's on offer.
A new user might initially be attracted by a specific game, but it's the community that keeps them engaged post game play and provides the connectivity to other games, content and people.
Chat apps are fast becoming dominant service platforms offering users more than just chat.Elina Arponen
All of these elements make for a true multiplayer gaming platform and help to grow the community, which is how we envisage the genre of Chat Games evolving.
Best games for chat
Connecting people around the world based on a common interest, in this case gaming, rather than people who already know each other, offers another dimension of chat-based engagement and allows people to interact differently than they would with their friends.
Not a disparate group of players in different games, but a cohesive community focused on games offering new possibilities for the types of games you can create.
All platforms tend to navigate towards certain type of genres more than others.
For example, chat is the perfect environment to stage massively multiplayer games where people play together or perhaps chat groups compete against each other.
This can also mean narrative games with storylines where players play through and build the stories together.
People online often like to experiment with different personas and avatars and through role-play we can offer them this playfulness inside a game experience.
When this game happens in their natural chat environment it can be seen almost as an augmented reality game adding aspects to their online reality of the community of gamers.
The first challenge to making this Chat Game concept a truly accepted new form of mobile gaming is an effective user experience.
With the rise of today's Swipe Generation, there needs to be an intuitive experience for players, while integrating a seamless switch between chat and gaming.
This provides the potential for more complex and graphically rich games where player-to-player interactions are at the core. It creates a platform where the communications and the play are tightly integrated.
We recently launched a GamePad feature for our chat platform which presents a touch capability interface with visual gameplay options which not only makes for a smoother gameplay experience for existing users, but it also makes it easy to understand and pick up for new users.
Chat apps are fast becoming dominant service platforms offering users more than just chat and we firmly believe that chat games are the next generation of mobile gaming.