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Snap unveils new gaming platform, original video content, expanded partnerships


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Snap unveils new gaming platform, original video content, expanded partnerships

Snap Inc. on April 4 unveiled a slew of new products for its core Snapchat service, including a social gaming platform, original video content and an expansion of its core products into partner apps.

At its first-ever partner summit in Los Angeles, Snap debuted a gaming platform that allows Snapchat messaging users to launch original and third-party multiplayer games directly from chat. Participating game developers include Game Closure, Zynga Inc. and Spry Fox LLC. One of the first games available on the platform is "Bitmoji Party," a Snap-developed game that allows users to compete with friends in various fast-paced mini-games.

"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," said Will Wu, director of product at Snap, during the company's April 4 partner summit.

Snap also revealed its new slate of original mobile programming. The 10 new shows announced April 4 cover a range of genres, including character-driven docuseries, unscripted social commentary, serialized scripted dramas and comedies. The first shows set for release this spring include "Two Sides," a story about a young couple's breakup told from two different points of view, and a currently untitled BuzzFeed daily show, which features celebrity, entertainment and pop culture news. The rest of the slate is set to launch through the summer and fall.

Each Snap Originals episode averages five minutes in length and will be available on Snap's Discover page to Snapchat users globally.

Snap also launched a new Snap Kit to enable partner apps to incorporate some of Snapchat's features, including App Stories, or customized versions of Snapchat's Stories. Early partners include dating company Tinder Inc., a mobile dating app, whose users will soon be able to update their dating profiles with pictures and videos taken on the Snapchat app. Snap is also partnering with Fitbit Inc. and Venmo LLC to expand Snap's popular Bitmoji feature, which allows users to create personalized cartoon avatars. Users' Bitmojis can now be displayed on Fitbit smartwatch clock faces and will soon be able to personalize Venmo transactions.

Snap also launched new augmented reality filters that overlay video, including templates of landmarks such as Buckingham Palace in London, the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., and the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Snap stock was trading up just over 1% as the April 4 event came to a close.