Bitmoji in video games may soon be a thing thanks to none other than Snapchat. That’s right, today the company announced its “Bitmoji for Games” software development kit. Essentially, this is a technology that helps developers overlay a Bitmoji skin on top of their in-game avatar skin. Also, the kit supports Unreal, Unity, and the Play Canvas engine.
“Using Bitmoji for Games, developers can let millions of players everywhere instantly connect their favorite 3D avatar, putting them and their friends right into the action,” reads the official announcement. The goal here is to build stronger connections with players, as they’ll see themselves represented in the avatar.
The co-founder of Bitmoji, Ba Blackstock, spoke on the integration:
“It’s kind of a no-brainer to bring Bitmoji into games. Games can be so much more engaging with you…in the game. We’re adding an identity layer to gaming that has the potential to have a transformational effect on the industry.”
Games with this feature will include a QR code that the player will scan to bring in their Bitmoji. Of course, this feature is entirely optional, and gamers could play with the traditional avatar should they so choose. While we don’t know how it will work in practice, this seems like a fantastic way to integrate players in the gameplay experience.
Also, the company notes that access to this development kit will be limited. Snapchat wants to protect its branding, of course. “You can look at what we’re doing with Bitmoji Kit where we have guidelines of best practices of how to use Bitmoji and not use Bitmoji,” says Blackstock. “We’ll apply the same kinds of guidelines to gaming.”
We can assume he means no overly violent games. It would be a bit uncomfortable to see zombies ripping apart a digital version of yourself, for instance. That said, racing games like Mario Kart or the Lego Star Wars titles would be a good fit here. This would also incentivize users to buy Bitmoji microtransactions to deck out their characters, so it’s not hard to see why the company is on board. As of now, Bitmoji for Games is free for “top developers” chosen by the company. Platforms in testing include Xbox, PlayStation, the Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, PC, and Mac.
“There will be some modification on our end to make sure this works within their engine so we can make this process as seamless as possible for these developers,” says John Imah, head of gaming partnerships at Snap Inc. When speaking on microtransactions, Imah concludes, “it’s something we’ll explore later down the road.”