16 minutes News

16 Minutes on the News #33: Snapchat & Bitmoji — Mobile, Social, Cloud Gaming, and Identity

Jonathan Lai, Andrew Green, and Sonal Chokshi

Posted June 21, 2020

At last week’s Snap Partner Summit, a number of announcements — including a navigation redesign and Bitmoji for Games — have broader implications for the gaming industry and beyond. Especially when such messaging games, built on HTML5 and “mini programs” or apps-within-apps (as discussed by Connie Chan in context of WeChat and more), merge the key trends of mobile, social, and cloud gaming; in fact, they:

  • could be a serious contender in the “cloud gaming” wars, but coming at it from the low end of the market (as in classic disruption theory);
  • have inherent multiplayer virality, thanks to the original social network/ social graph of one’s phone book;
  • are not only built social-first (e.g., not as an afterthought to gameplay), but can incorporate personal expression through avatars and identity across games; and
  • could layer on maps as social networks and AR filters (and marketplaces) as other ways to extend gaming and monetization.

We break it all down in this week’s episode of 16 Minutes on the News with a16z consumer partners on gaming Jonathan Lai (formerly head of BD for Tencent North America and former product manager at Riot Games) and Andrew Green (who worked at Take-Two Interactive, Atari, Electronic Arts, and TinyCo) in conversation with host Sonal Chokshi… what do such announcements-as-news tell us about where we are and where we’re going on the long arc of innovation?

This week, we have two separate episodes of 16 Minutes, both about gaming — but based on very different news  — be sure to also check out the other episode, on the first videogame approved by the FDA as a prescription medicine for ADHD. 

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