Snap Inc. just announced a Bitmoji
SDK that will let select partners integrate 3D Bitmoji as a replacement for character skins. That means players will soon be able to scan an in-game code and play as their Bitmoji in certain video games.
The SDK supports Unity, Unreal, and Play Canvas, the engine behind Snap Inc.'s new Bitmoji party game within Snapchat
. This should make it easy for developers to accommodate life-like avatars into various titles for different platforms.
"We're adding an identity layer to gaming that has the potential to have a transformational effect on the industry," said Ba Blackstock, Bitmoji cofounder, as TechCrunch reports
Bitmoji Avatars In Video Games
Snap Inc. is making the SDK free for developers the company has selected for the platform, which should expedite the process further. It's not clear when users will start seeing this implementation come to play, though. In any case, it gives Snap Inc. an opportunity to streamline the avatar-making process by making it no-frills, intuitive, and instant.
As TechCrunch notes, Snap Inc. can better colonize the web and the games ecosystem with Bitmoji instead of waiting for developers to create clones. Bitmoji is also Snapchat's most popular feature, which means a lot of users are already familiar with it so there will be little, if no learning curve at all.
Of course, the idea of one Avatar to be used across games has been explored before. Nintendo introduced Miis
with the release of the Wii back in 2006, which would go on to appear in games across the Wii, DS, Wii U, 3DS, and now, Switch. Miis are one of Nintendo's most enduring gameplay elements, and that's partly because every system since the Wii supported it off the bat.
It's not clear if Snap Inc. wants a similar trajectory to that of Miis. The company plans to integrate Bitmoji across games on PC, consoles, and mobile, though, so this will be pretty far-reaching. Whether they'll be popular remains to be seen, of course. But the idea of a universal Avatar platform seems primed to be successful. Users will be able to design their Bitmoji in the Bitmoji or Snapchat app, though there may be in-game customization elements options down the line, as well.
Snap Inc. acquired
Bitmoji's parent company Bitstrips in 2016 for $64 million. Developers can integrate Bitmoji characters and convert them into stickers or 2D profile pictures. Bitmoji will also come to Venmo, Fitbit, and others soon.
Thoughts on Bitmoji as video game avatars? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!