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WeChat gets its game on

by Zaid Kriel (Zaid)  Posted Friday, March 14, 2014 7:38:00 AM

 

Chinese powerhouse messaging app, WeChat, is taking steps to expand its market and one of its key moves is the promotion and integration of games within its list of features. In other words, WeChat is going gaming.

gunz dash.jpeg

Recently the company rolled out its game portal, The WeChat Game Centre, into South Africa bringing with it three games that can be accessed via the App Store/Google Play  and that integrates with the messaging apps social features.

The Game Center can be found under the ‘Discover’ tab of the messaging service and clicking on it will reveal three titles: Craz3 Match, Gunz Dash and 2Day’s Match. When clicking the ‘download’ button for each game listed in WeChat, the app will take the user to the App Store/Google Play where the game can be downloaded.

Gaming on the go

With mobile gaming as popular as it is, using WeChat as a tool to promote and facilitate gaming is a smart move by parent company Tencent. The hope is that the social integration that the games have with WeChat will cause players to adopt it as their messaging app of choice. Players will be able to compare their progress against their WeChat friends and even enter challenges.

The games in question are:
  • 2Day's Match - As the name implies, 2Day's Match is one of those games where you need to link two identical tiles to eliminate them from the board. The catch in this case is that you need to race against a clock to do it.
  • Craz3 Match - Same deal as above, but this time it's three matches. It's basically a Candy Crush clone with cute animals instead of sweets.
  • GunZ Dash - A 2D endless runner masquerading as an adventure set in a fantasy universe. It's a simple game, that's oddly addictive and that gives players the chance to rub their success in their friends faces.


Been there, done that

The problem here, is the games on offer aren't particular compelling. Craz3 Match and 2Day’s Match are fun distractions, but they're really just simple clones of games that people are likely already playing. There's particularly special about them. GunZ Dash could be the exception, with its anime-cool style and frenetic pace, but even it's based on an idea that's been done before.

If what WeChat is going for here is app adoption, then its going to have to try harder. This crop of games, while clearly polished, isn't going to do. But there is an opportunity for WeChat to become major gaming platform. WeChat has a massive user base, numbering 600 million. That's a large and captive audience to sell to.

What WeChat needs to do is leverage the expertise of two of it's parent company Tencent's other subsidiaries, Riot Games and Epic Games. Riot Games, producers of the uber-popular League of Legends, is one of the few developers that's praised for their implementation of microtransactions. Epic Games, while better know for the Unreal and Gears of War franchise, are also behind the mobile game Infinity Blade.

If WeChat is able to take advantage of these to powerhouses in gaming, have them create or consult on future offerings, then there's every chance they could be dominating force in gaming. Imagine for a moment a League of Legends style game that integrates with WeChat and allowing for matching making, team formation and stat comparisons. That's not only beneficial to WeChat, but also a useful feature for the players.

Similar integration could be done with Infinity Blade, a game series that has yet to appear on Android devices.

If the games offered by WeChat meet the quality standards of League of Legends and Infinity Blade, then suddenly you have some very compelling reasons to make WeChat your message app of choice. 

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Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not MWEB Connect (Pty) Ltd
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